Visas and Immigration

Learn how you can work remotely in Barbados as a digital nomad.

Barbados is one of the most popular destinations in the Caribbean for digital nomads because of easy flight connections from the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. There is a reason Barbados enjoys one of the highest visitor return rates in the world. When you experience Barbados for the first time, you'll see why.

A visitor visa is a great option for digital nomads that only want to stay in Barbados for a few months. However, precisely how long you can stay in Barbados as a visitor is dependent on your nationality.

Citizens of countries within the Caribbean Community can stay in Barbados as a visitor for up to six months in aggregate within a one year period.

Citizens of countries within the Commonwealth of Nations can stay in Barbados as a visitor for up to six months in aggregate within a one year period.

Citizens of countries within the European Union can stay in Barbados as a visitor for up to three months in aggregate within a six month period.

Citizens of the French Republic, Republic of Ireland or the United States of America can stay in Barbados as a visitor for up to six months in aggregate within a one year period.

It is important to know that even if you are allowed to stay in Barbados for up to six months a year, that does not mean you will be granted an entry period of six months when you arrive. Most foreign nationals are granted an initial period of three months on entry.

If you want to extend your stay, you will need to apply for an Extension of Stay with the Immigration Department at Bridgetown before your current entry period expires. A non-refundable application fee of BDS $100 applies.

You may see 'advice' online suggesting you can leave Barbados and return a few months later. This is called a 'visa run' which you should never do. It is an offence to overstay the maximum aggregate entry period.

How to apply for a visitor visa

You don't need to apply for a visitor visa; all travellers are assessed on entry.

However, you will need an entry visa (which is different to a visitor visa) before travelling to Barbados if you are a citizen of any of the countries or regions listed here.

In July 2020, the Barbados government introduced a special type of work visa for digital nomads, known as the Welcome Stamp. It grants eligible applicants the right to live and remotely work in Barbados for an entire year. The cost of the visa is BDS $4,000 for an individual or BDS $6,000 for a family.

The requirements of the Welcome Stamp visa are simple. You must:

  • Earn at least BDS $100,000 a year
  • Only work for entities based outside Barbados
  • Have adequate health insurance that covers your period of stay in Barbados

The Welcome Stamp visa was introduced to help the severely damaged tourism industry during the COVID pandemic. Paradoxically, the Barbados government had been increasingly voicing its concerns over the country's reliance on the tourism industry and the declining rate of the working-age population.

Like most tourism-dependent economies, Barbados is vulnerable to external shocks. During the COVID pandemic, the unemployment rate went as high as 17%. It was a painful reminder that Barbados needs to diversify its economy.

When the visa programme was announced, the Barbados government didn’t think too far ahead. They were frantically trying to save the country’s economy. They anticipated visitor numbers may not return to pre-pandemic levels for at least another year. The Welcome Stamp was only intended to be temporary.

It only became apparent afterwards that the Barbados government had just successfully imported thousands of people with diverse skills to live and work in Barbados; some of which in highly specialised professional fields that can bring cross-fertilisation of skillsets that don’t yet fully exist in the domestic economy.

In June 2021, the Prime Minister announced that the Welcome Stamp visa programme will be continued indefinitely. This opened a pathway for persons to apply for a renewal of their visa if they wanted to stay for another year.

There are many great benefits to the Welcome Stamp visa:

  • You are exempt from paying Income Tax in Barbados [1]
  • You can open and hold an External Bank Account or Foreign Currency Account in Barbados [2]
  • You can apply for a Barbados ID, which might help you get ‘staycation’ rates during the low season

How to apply for the Welcome Stamp visa

To apply for the visa, visit the official website.

Visitor Visa

How do I apply for a visitor visa?

You don't need to apply for a visitor visa before arriving; all travellers are assessed on entry.

However, you will need an entry visa (which is different to a visitor visa) before travelling to Barbados if you are a citizen of any of the countries or regions listed here.

Will I need a return ticket when I arrive in Barbados as a visitor?

Yes, you can be denied entry if you do not furnish a valid return ticket on arrival in Barbados.

How do I find out what my entry period is?

You can email the Immigration Department after you arrive: Immigration.Department@barbados.gov.bb.

Welcome Stamp

I am only in Barbados for a few months. Do I neeed this visa?

You do not need to apply for the Welcome Stamp visa if you are only in Barbados for a few months during the year.

Will I need to be overseas when I apply for this visa?

No, you can apply for the Welcome Stamp visa while you are in Barbados. This gives you the opportunity to visit the Island first to make sure it’s right for you.

Remember, having a vacation in a country is not the same as living in a country. Moving to a new country is a big decision – take your time.

Will I need a return ticket when I arrive in Barbados on the Welcome Stamp?

Persons on the Welcome Stamp are not required to furnish a return ticket on arrival in Barbados.

Is the Welcome Stamp visa only available to certain passport holders?

Any person meeting the standard requirements can apply for the visa regardless of their nationality.

Will I need to continue paying taxes in my home country?

It is possible you may still be required to pay taxes on your income even if you are, or will become, non-resident in your home country for tax purposes. Seek legal advice from a chartered accountant or qualified tax advisor.

Will I really not need to pay any Income Tax in Barbados?

Persons residing in Barbados on the Welcome Stamp visa are treated as non-resident for the purposes of Section 85(5) of the Income Tax Act, Cap. 73, as provided by Section 4 of the Remote Employment Act, 2020.

However, that does not necessarily mean you no longer owe Income Tax in any country, even if you reside in Barbados for an entire year. You may still be liable to Income Tax in your home country. Seek legal advice from a chartered accountant or qualified tax advisor.

I can't find adequate health insurance in my home country. Is it strictly required?

Persons residing in Barbados on the Welcome Stamp are required to have adequate health insurance pursuant to Section 3(c) of the Remote Employment Act, 2020.

If you are unable to find appropriate health insurance in your home country, you can enter Barbados on the Welcome Stamp but you will be required to aquire local health insurance as soon as possible after your arrival.

Is there a pathway to citizenship from this visa?

If you are a citizen of a country within the British Commonwealth, or a citizen of the Republic of Ireland, there is a pathway to citizenship under Section 4(3) of the Barbados Citizenship Act, Cap. 186 if you have been 'ordinarily resident' in Barbados for at least seven (7) years and, within that period, have resided therein for at least five (5) years.

However, acceptance of such applications are at the sole discretion of the Minister responsible for Immigration.

For U.S. citizens, there are no statutory pathways to citizenship except by descent or marriage.

Can I register a company in Barbados on this visa?

You do not need a Welcome Stamp visa to incorporate a company in Barbados. However, a foreign national who is not registered as an immigrant or permanent resident cannot work for any company in Barbados – even if its their own – without a work permit.

If you want to work for your own Barbados-registered company, the Welcome Stamp visa is not relevant, even if your company trades with, or offers services exclusively to, persons overseas. Please contact Invest Barbados for advice.

Will I need to provide evidence of my income when I apply?

Pursuant to Section 3(b)(i), Remote Employment Act, 2020, all persons on the Welcome Stamp visa must earn at least BDS $100,000 a year, in equivalent foreign currency.

Applicants are not usually asked to provide evidence as it relates to income. However, applicants must certify on their application that they expect to earn at least USD $50,000 a year and/or have the means to support themselves and their accompanying partner and dependants during their stay in Barbados.

I am in a same-sex marriage or civil partnership. Can I apply with my partner under a single application?

Same-sex marriage and civil partnerships are not recognised under Barbados law, but the Minister responsible for Immigration will recognise same-sex relationships for the purposes of identifying a spouse or partner accompanying an applicant under the Welcome Stamp visa programme.

Will I be able to renew my Welcome Stamp visa?

Yes, you can apply to renew your Welcome Stamp visa before it expires. If your application is approved, you are eligible for a reduced visa fee of BDS $3,000 for an individual or BDS $4,500 for a family. [1]

To renew your Welcome Stamp visa, visit the official website.

[1] Section 7A(3), Remote Employment Act, 2020, as inserted by the Remote Employment (Amendment) Act, 2021.

Travel FAQs

What clothing and footwear should I bring to Barbados?

It is always warm in Barbados even during the winter months, so you should bring a good variety of summer garments with you (i.e. clothing which is light and airy). Also consider bringing trainer socks, as you may find them more comfortable than normal socks if you will primarily be wearing shoes or trainers on the Island, given the climate.

Barbados has a blend of Western and African culture. The chances are high that any garment deemed acceptable in most western countries will be acceptable in Barbados.

However, English customs are somewhat noticeable when conducting official business. For example, you will not be allowed to enter most government buildings if you are wearing sandals, shorts or sleeveless t-shirts. This custom used to be common in the UK until the mid to late 20th century, so it can be a culture shock even to British visitors.

You should bring trousers (long pants) and sleeved t-shirts if you think you'll need to enter a government building (e.g. Immigration Department), as a dress code often applies. Some high-end restaurants and night clubs also enforce a similar dress code.

There is one item of clothing you must never bring to, or wear in, Barbados – and that is camoflauge clothing. It is a criminal offence to have possession of, or to wear any, garments bearing text, colours, patterns or designs associated with the military. [1]

[1] Section 188(1), Defence Act, Cap. 159.

Can I bring my dog or cat to Barbados?

You must obtain an Import Permit from the Veterinary Services Department.

Your dog or cat must be permanently identified with a microchip, and be vaccinated against rabies after the microchip has been implanted. If your dog or cat was vaccinated before being fitted with a microchip, it must be vaccinated again. Your dog or cat must be vaccinated against rabies for at least thirty five (35) days before being eligible to enter Barbados.

Within thirty (30) days prior to travel, your dog must be tested for heartworm disease, unless your dog is less than six (6) months old.

Within seven (7) days prior to travel, your dog or cat must be treated against ticks and tapeworms, and undergo a veterinary examination and be issued with an Official Export Health Certificate endorsed and stamped by an official government veterinarian of the country of origin.

Please do not take the foregoing information as a complete description of the requirements to import dogs or cats. The Barbados government strictly enforce rules on the importation of pets; failure to comply is a serious offence.

You should read this guidance from the Barbados Government Information Service.

If you are importing a pet from the UK, please also read this guidance.

If you are importing a pet from Canada, please also read this guidance.

If you are importing a pet from the USA, please also read this guidance.

Does Barbados frequently experience hurricanes?

Barbados often experiences tropical depressions [1] during the hurricane season, but is rarely impacted by a hurricane-strength tropical cyclone because the island is outside the principle hurricane belt.

The most recent tropical cyclones to impact Barbados at hurricane-strength was Hurricane Janet in 1955 and Hurricane Elsa in 2021.

[1] A tropical depression is a 'tropical cyclone' that has maximum sustained surface winds (one-minute average) of 38 mph or less.

When is it the best time to visit Barbados?

Generally speaking, it is always a good time to visit the Island.

There are two distinct seasons in Barbados – a dry season and a wet season. You will struggle to find a day where it is not sunny, even after heavy downpours or during the odd day when it is overcast.

While it still rains during the dry season, it usually does not rain nearly as much, or as often, as it does during the wet season. The weather is generally more predictable during the dry season.

The temperature varies only slightly throughout the year, but you will still feel a substantial difference between the two seasons because it is less humid during the dry season.

If you are a budget-conscious traveller, you may find the best rates during the wet season – also known as the hurricane season – which runs from July to October.

You may struggle to find affordable short-term rentals between December and April, which are often the busiest months for tourism in Barbados.

I am in a same-sex relationship. How tolerant are people in Barbados?

Unlike Canada or the United Kingdom, people in Barbados are not as tolerant towards homosexuality. You may wish to avoid showing public displays of affection as it may attract unwanted attention.

However, attitudes are changing and there are a growing number of businesses in Barbados that welcome same-sex couples.

Is it still legally necessary to wear face masks in Barbados?

Effective September 23rd, 2022, you are only required to wear a face mask at a hospital or healthcare facility, a doctor's office, a dental surgery, a school or university, a nursery or day care facility, a prison, and on a public transport vehicle. For more information, please read our blog post.

Do I need to be fully vaccinated to enter Barbados?

No, all remaining travel protocols were discontinued on September 23rd, 2022.

Is the tap water safe to drink in Barbados?

Yes, the water supply is safe and refreshing to drink.

Barbados is a limestone island. Most of the water supply is pumped from wells within natural coral aquifers, which is then treated with chlorine to comply with World Health Organisation standards.