Of all the things 2020 taught us, it taught us that digital nomadism is not going anywhere. In fact, it is quickly becoming a new way of life. With technological advances enabling people to work remotely, how remote is remote? Another country or anywhere in the world. How did Bermuda get on this bandwagon? Out of necessity. During the summer of 2020, as countries began re-opening their borders, some (especially islands) dependent on tourism began to consider their options to keep their economies going. After having their borders shut for months, reopening their borders and their economy was necessary. One of the ways reopening travel was approached, was to offer travellers who could work or study remotely the opportunity to work and live in their country for an extended period of time without being subject to the normal immigration rules. For these travellers, otherwise known as digital nomads, this was good news! Many countries that began offering this type of travel as an option are located in tropical climates and already popular tourist hubs. This couldn't' have been a more ideal opportunity for digital nomads. Barbados was the first country to open up to digital nomads. Other countries quickly followed. On 1 August 2020, Bermuda began offering the Work from Bermuda Certificate.
Why this was so ingenious…
Why was this so ingenious? Digital Nomadism was already a growing trend. Heck, I even thought about going "nomad"! For example, in 2019, there were already over 10 million American digital nomads. At present, there are 17 million more people who are planning to become digital nomads in the future. What was once impossible has become a way of life. With increasing technological advances, people will have more opportunities to do their jobs from any location in the world.
For people who couldn't resist the travel bug, these long-term travel programs were ideal. This type of travel became by far, the safest way to travel during the pandemic.
Long-term travel also became popular for sustainable travel advocates for obvious reasons. As sustainable travel rests on the idea that travel should minimize any negative impacts on the environment and maximise any positive impacts for local economies and communities, long-term travel hits this sweet spot. Such as in the case of travelling for longer periods, this is always better for the environment and stimulating economies as digital nomads would need accommodation and other amenities. It also fosters slower travel so travellers can have a more immersive experience. Impact Travel Alliance hosted a panel conversation (including yours truly) on long term travel in the pandemic. If you'd like to know more about sustainable travel and the pandemic watch the replay panel discussion here. Although travellers are relocating to work or study, this type of travel is still a type of tourism. It allows them the opportunity to more intimately know the destination, its culture and its people which is essentially the goal of tourism when done right. I hope you can see now how this type of travel could easily check the box for sustainable travel in countries whose economies were dependent on tourism.
At the time of writing this, there are just under 250 digital nomads in Bermuda. If you're thinking about following in their footsteps, after reading this, you'll know what it takes to become a digital nomad in Bermuda. After all, this is a BIG decision and it should be as seamless as possible.
The Work From Bermuda Certificate
First thing's first. Before you decide to make the jump, take a look at the application requirements for the Work from Bermuda Certificate. The website for the Certificate has a list of FAQs and other useful information about the application. The application fee is an unbelievably reasonable cost of $263.00. As the fee is very palatable, it can be tempting to stop here, but make sure you read the rest of the application requirements and the rest of this blog before you decide. Find the Work from Bermuda Certificate Application here. Don't forget to check out the FAQs.
Pre-Autorisation Travel Form
Now you know how to make the application, once you've been approved you should know about the procedure on how to fly to Bermuda. Both visitors and residents must apply for a Bermuda COVID-19 Travel Authorisation 1 to 3 days before their departure and cannot travel to Bermuda without an approved Travel Authorisation. Find the pre-authorisation travel form here.
Your approval for the Work from Bermuda Certificate will classify you as a resident instead of a visitor. Although residents are not required to get a Covid test before flying to the island, you will be tested on arrival. In the scheme of things, it's still a good idea to get a pre-departure test so you can know your Covid status before flying to another country for your safety and the safety of others. Unsure as to how or where to get tested? To make pre-departure testing easy for Bermuda bound travellers, Bermuda has partnered with a couple of organizations in the U.S. for travellers to get a Covid test. The self-administered Covid test can be purchased from Costco locations across the US and in New York, COVID-19 pre-departure tests are available through OpenClear's Midtown Manhattan testing site Tuesdays and Thursdays (9 am to 3 pm, by appointment only.
Unable to get a pre-departure test? When you arrive, your quarantine time on island will be substantially longer than if you had been tested prior to arriving and you will incur the amount of $300 for a quarantine bracelet for not having a pre-departure test. Effective 8th December 2020 all residents and visitors to Bermuda are required to wear a Traveller Wristband for the first 14 days of their stay. The Wristbands will remind travellers to be careful of their movements. See the travellers guide for your first 14 days. Just get tested before you arrive already.
The initial stages to become a digital nomad in Bermuda involves the most logistics, but it's a small hurdle to get over. Start packing your things and plan for your relocation to Bermuda.
Unlike travel insurance which insures you against things like canceled flights, you will need some form of health insurance. One option is to bring your own health insurance with you or to obtain insurance with one of the local service providers on the island. There are a few local options to choose from.
Travel medical insurance by Safety Wing has also been highly recommended by digital nomads.
You will find that there are a few comfortable and safe options to lay your head down at night. To begin with, Airbnbs are plentiful in Bermuda and finding an Airbnb owner who is open to negotiate a long-term lease can be fairly easy. Vacation rentals are also pretty easy to come across. Make sure you make arrangements for accommodation prior to coming to the island. If you don't, the worst that can happen is needing to book a hotel room which can be costly while finding longer-term accommodation. See information on Airbnbs and vacation rentals here. Grotto Bay Beach Resort and Spa is also offering accommodation to digital nomads.
Want a real-life perspective about what it's like to work remotely from Bermuda? Watch the video below on How to Work Remotely From a Tropical Island During the Pandemic.
Disclosure: This post is not a sponsored blog. These are just some of my personal recommendations to help you make a smooth and easy transition to becoming a digital nomad in Bermuda.