Immigration Rule 1: Tourists

Bermuda beach

We welcome tourists, for 21 days, maybe longer

Someone asked me whether it was possible to come to Bermuda on a tourist visa and look for work while here. Er, no way Jose! As a tourist you can stay for three weeks (with the possibility of extensions as detailed below), but you absolutely can’t look for work regardless of whether you are skilled, non-skilled or desperately needed.

Tourists get 21 days

To visit, you need a return or onward ticket and a machine-readable passport – see Bermuda Tourism website for more details. You don’t need a visa if you’re coming from the UK, U.S. or Canada but quite a few countries do – this list was updated on May 10th 2010 and apparently has more countries in it than previously.

Extending your stay

The immigration website states that you can stay as a visitor for a maximum of 6 months although it also says that extensions are normally given for no more than a total stay of 8 weeks.  In very exceptional circumstances, extensions may be given for up to 5 months. I think that means 5 months continuous stay and 6 months if you keep coming back.

To extend your tourist visa while you are on the island, you have to make an appointment with an Immigration Inspector at the immigration department, which is on the 2nd floor of the Government Administration Building on Parliament Street in Hamilton. Sounds scary!

The site also states: There is no fee for extensions of a stay of up to three months in total.  For stays beyond three months there is a fee ($25.00 in 2002: fees are revised from time-to-time) for each extension. Warning! This information could be 8 years old and might have changed!

I have never heard of anyone applying for it, it sounds complicated! I have read that getting it approved is the exception rather than the rule. And as they haven’t updated the information since 2002, then it would probably be wise to phone ahead if you’re thinking about holidaying here for longer than 21 days!

Pretty complicated, and we haven’t started on work permits, key workers, term limits and good corporate citizens yet…

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