Digital nomads are always on the hunt for amazing places to work while traveling, soaking up the local culture while also being able to be productive.
Nobody knows exactly how many digital nomads there are in the world but suffice to say the number over the last decade has gone from just a handful of people to upwards of millions—with many more new nomads joining the movement after COVID-19, as they can now work remote (or in other words, work from anywhere).
Governments are starting to take notice—like Bermuda—and have created digital nomad visas and incentives for remote workers who travel while working.
A British territory, Bermuda is a cluster of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, about 650 miles due East of the North Carolina coast. Bermuda was first discovered by Spanish and Portuguese explorers in the early 1500’s. The island had no indegenous people and was most often used as a replenishment stop for ships sailing between Europe and the Americas. In the 1600’s, England sent ships westward to settle modern day Virginia. A shipwreck forced these colonists to take refuge on Bermuda and the island’s first settlement was born.
Bermuda is well-known for its idyllic pink sand beaches, historic architecture, and clear Caribbean waters. Bermuda is the second island nation to offer a remote work program after Bermuda. Bermuda boasts the fastest wifi amongst the Caribbean nations with up to 500mbps speeds.
Bermuda’s capital city is Hamilton. St. George is also a highly visited town known for its rich history as the site of the original British settlement. The main island is divided into nine “parishes.” Each parish has its own unique feel and style, with distinct nature parks, beaches, shopping, and dining.
Bermuda boasts beautiful beaches, architecture, and nature formations. But more than just beaches, the island also features limestone caves, rocky coves, rolling farmland, and miles of bike trails. Bermuda’s colonial architecture is a reflection of the 17th century British settlement, though the country is a diverse mixture of foreign cultures and expats.
Many of Bermuda’s historic forts and military settlements are deemed UNESCO world heritage sites. Today, the island’s hallmark image is defined by the pastel painted cottages that dot the landscape.
Bermuda’s culture incorporates aspects of British, Irish, Scottish, Spanish-Caribbean, Afro-Caribbean, and Native American culture. With no indegenous people, the island’s culture is defined by the settlers that made it home from the 1600’s onward. In the 20th century, the island saw an influx of immigration from the West Indies which continues to flavor the island culture.
The official language on the island is English, though Portuguese is a common second language.
Calypso music and reggae music are well-loved on the island. Gombey dancers perform a style of dance developed from African, Caribbean, Native American, and British traditions. These Gombey dancers perform on Bermuda’s Front Street at the Harbor Nights festival, a weekly Summer celebration. Bermuda artwork can be found at the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art. Various mediums celebrating Bermuda’s beauty live in this beautiful building located amongst lavish botanical gardens.
Traditional Bermuda food is also a mix of the island’s multi-cultural roots. Expect dishes to revolve around fresh seafood, like spiny lobster, seafood chowder, and fish sandwiches. Sample the local loquat, a tart but delicious wild-growing fruit found all over the island. Find the loquat showcased in Bermuda cocktails and desserts.
Bermuda’s beautiful beaches and excellent weather are its best selling point. There’s never a bad day to be outdoors in Bermuda. Some of the island’s most loved outdoor activities include snorkeling, surfing, horseback riding, golfing, paddleboarding, whale-watching, biking, and rock-climbing, just to name a few.
Experience the most historic section of Bermuda in the parish of St. George, where Fort St. Catherine juts out into the teal waters. Over twenty colonial forts and military monuments dot the island. Try exploring them all by moped.
Bermuda’s climate is described as “tropical rainforest.” The Winter months see temperatures in the 60’s F, and the Summer months rarely climb above 90F. Though Bermuda is prone to hurricane weather, hurricanes tend to lose strength as they approach the island due to the coral reef. Bermuda residents obtain fresh water from rainfall collected by the special rooftops.
Bermuda’s landscape is defined by its natural beaches and rocky coastlines. Coral reefs and underwater caves are sites to behold. Underwater and overwater recreation are a popular way to experience the best natural landscapes the island has to offer.
Bermuda boasts the fastest “true,” fibre wifi of any Caribbean nation, according to the Bermuda Visitors Bureau. Subsea cables connect the island with “all over coverage,” and up to 500mbps speeds. Remote works and students will have no problem connecting, uploading, and downloading. However, expect the cost of internet connection to be high.
Bermuda opened applications for its “work from Bermuda,” residential certificate program August 1, 2020. Once approved, the certificate holder may work and live in Bermuda for a year.
Most long-term visas require local employment. This has been a problem for digital nomads, who have a remote job and simply want to live in a location like Bermuda for a span of time.
The idea behind a digital nomad visa is the sound reasoning that it shouldn’t matter where you are, as long as you can support yourself. It’s a government recognizing what digital nomads have known for years.
In other words, the digital nomad visa legitimizes the lifestyle by saying you can live in a country legally for a period of time and you can work from your laptop there.
Bermuda defines this program not as a digital nomad visa, but as a “residential certificate.” The certificate allows the employee to live and work from Bermuda, but not derive income from employment on the island itself.
Bermuda’s program is unique because remote workers earning consistent income from a company outside of Bermuda are encouraged to apply. The application is also geared toward remote students attending online schooling for undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral degrees.
Bermuda’s certificate is a direct result of COVID-19. The country aims to capitalize on the large segment of society now working remotely full-time, like Twitter employees for example. Unlike other digital nomad visa programs, the Bermuda certificate program is aimed at more than just self-employed freelancers.
The Bermuda Resident Certificate allows remote workers to live and work from Bermuda for up to a year from application approval. Participants in this certificate program need not pay Bermuda taxes because, according to the Bermuda government website, “remote workers and students are not employed in Bermuda, so you will not pay income tax.”
After the one-year residential certificate is up, participants can apply to stay longer with a standard residential certificate.
If traveling to Bermuda with a partner, family members, or domestic staff, residence seekers must submit separate certificate applications for each extra party member on the same day as the primary seeker’s application.
Children of certificate holder’s may attend Bermuda’s public or private schools on the island. Pets may also travel with applicants by following the government’s rules for importing animals.
Finally, Bermuda’s “Work From Bermuda,” certificate program is the cheapest of the Caribbean islands at just $263 per applicant. The Bermuda government website boasts a 5 business day turnaround for application approval, immediately upon which the one year time period begins. The application is completed entirely online and certificate holders arrive in Bermuda as a “permanent resident.”
There are a few eligibility requirements that you need to meet in order to qualify for Bermuda’s “Work from Bermuda,” residential certificate.
Applicants must be at least 18 years old, pay the application fee, and have no history of crime in any country. Applicants must also prove they have valid health insurance and are actively employed or obtaining income from outside Bermuda. Approved participants in this certificate are not allowed to seek employment in Bermuda.
Students looking to apply for the certificate must provide evidence of enrollment in remote-based schooling outside of Bermuda.
The application does not define a specific income requirement, it merely says to have “substantial means and/or have a continuous source of annual income.”
Applying for Bermuda’s “Work From Bermuda,” certificate is incredibly simple. The application and correspondence is done entirely online. Once determining you meet the eligibility requirements, applicant seekers can fill out the application online here.
If the applicant has all information at hand, the form may take no more than 15 minutes to complete.
Once the form is submitted, and the Bermuda government has received application payment, the approval process takes 5 business days.
The application for the “Work From Bermuda,” program is incredibly affordable at just $263 per application. However, living on the island of Bermuda is expensive. The cost of living on this isolated island can be quite pricey, due in part to the large amount of imported essential products like gasoline and food.
Apartment and home rentals are also on the higher end – most rentals can run at least $2,500 a month for rent and don’t be shocked to see rental prices spike up to $5,000 for some homes. Tack on another $1,000 for electricity, internet, and food expenses. In order to get around the island, expect to buy or rent a moped, another added cost. Cars are available to buy too, but each household is limited to one car.
For remote workers with a plush income, Bermuda can be a very comfortable and luxurious place to live.