Thursday, December 23, 2010

Destination Profile: Bermuda

Country profiles are simply overviews of how to get into a country and some obstacles you'll face. They are not intended to be in-depth discussions of the country.

BBC, Wikipedia and CIA World Factbook articles on Bermuda.


View Larger Map

If you know who I am, you might very, very briefly see me in the movie Goth Cruise, a documentary about a bunch of goths¹ taking a cruise to Bermuda. Having previously been homeless in Hawaii (back in 1987), I can't say that I find tropical islands particularly appealing, but Bermuda was lovely and the Bermudians handled the shock of meeting a bunch of Goths fairly well. Reflexively I looked into what it took to move there, despite having no particular desire to do so myself.

The short answer: good luck. Bermuda is happy to welcome you ... for a short stay. Though they're still a colony of the United Kingdom, they exhibit a lot of local autonomy and are happy to keep others at arms length.

Languages

Official: English
Other: Portuguese

Work permits

You can get work permits in Bermuda, but it's not easy. The government is extremely careful about letting people in and most of the resources I've followed all detail a laborious process. You need specialized skills to get sponsored, but if you work for an international company with offices in Bermuda, you can get transferred there with a work permit. Unlike many other countries, Bermuda doesn't particularly like people with work permits switching jobs and apparently only allows it once. Further, the renewal is not guaranteed.

Residency

Photobucket
Lovely, but you're
not wanted here
If you're not a Bermudian and you're not rich, forget it. Foreigners are only allowed to buy houses from other foreigners and these tend to run for more than a million dollars. Of course, you have to get permission from the government to buy it, first. Long-term residency is generally only granted if you marry a Bermuda citizen — and they don't recognize gay marriage.

Citizenship

The only route to citizenship is to marry a Bermudan native and live with him/her for at least ten years, eight of which must be spent in Bermuda, including the two years prior to the application for citizenship. There was briefly an exception to this, but it primarily applied to those who had entered Bermuda prior to 1989 and had resided there for twenty years. In short: this is one of the few places where marriage is really your only option.

Retirement


Again, you can pretty much forget it. Bermuda is small and they only have so much room. As a result, it is generally illegal for a non-Bermudian to purchase property there. If an exception is made, <a href="http://fredbernstein.com/articles/display.asp?id=161">house prices often start at $3 million</a>. Acquiring residency is virtually impossible, so unless you have a special connection of some sort, Bermuda is not an option.

Further immigration information is available at the official Bermuda government Web site. It's incredibly slow and poorly organized, so be patient.

1. I'm not particularly goth, but I love the music and many of my best friends are goth/industrial types.
Paperblog Web Analytics