You might be able to move to Barbados and work remotely for a year

Jul 23, 2020

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information. The original was published on July 13, 2020.

Craving a change of scenery? Join the club.

Though you can’t exactly press control, alt and delete to start the year over again, there are other ways to recharge and reset. Governments are already trying to lure travelers back with free flights, discounted hotels and other travel perks — and there’s another emerging trend to keep on your radar: Packing up your stuff, moving across the globe and working remotely.

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Heading abroad with a digital job (think: destination coworking) isn’t exactly news. But during a pandemic filled with travel restrictions and border regulations, long-term stints like this are taking on an entirely new level of prominence.

There’s even a new program that hopes to encourage people to move to the Caribbean.

Called the “12-month Barbados Welcome Stamp,” the new incentive would allow travelers to move to the island nation for a year and work remotely. Of course, that likely means a home on the beach where you can sit back, dig your toes in the sand and enjoy the view.

The program just released application process details July 23, which are as follows:

  • Completed C-5 application form including basic contact, emergency and identifying information; brief description of employment and employer details; income declaration; passport information and details of any dependents who would travel with the applicant
  • Passport sized photograph for each applicant and associated family members over the age of 18, if applicable
  • Bio data page of passport for applicant and associated dependents
  • Copy of birth certificate for each applicant and dependent
  • Proof of relationship between applicant and all other members of the family group such as birth certificate or adoption documents or marriage certificate

If the application is approved, individuals must pay a nonrefundable fee of $2,000 or a flat fee of $3,000 for all members of a family group.

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley said in a statement that short-term travel has become increasingly difficult during the pandemic due to testing obstacles, such as how rapid testing is not reliably available. She said the government is committed to working with potential visitors, and looking forward to “making [the island] as hospitable as ever for all of us.”

Barbados reopened to tourists this week, and unlike Europe, Americans will be welcome. That said, the government is “strongly encouraging” travelers from high-risk countries to take a COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of departure. High-risk countries are defined as those with more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases in the last week, as well as significant community transmission, such as the United States.

Related: Dreaming of a sandy beach? A country-by-country guide to Caribbean reopenings

Travelers from low-risk countries, on the other hand, will have one week prior to their departure to take a COVID-19 test. In low-risk countries, there are fewer than 100 new cases in the past week, and no community transmission.

Though the Barbados Welcome Stamp program has flooded headlines, the concept of long-term travel (for work or otherwise) clearly has staying power this year. After all, many destinations are requiring travelers to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. And though a negative coronavirus test taken within 72 hours of departure may exempt travelers from the quarantine requirement, getting valid test results within this time frame may be simply out of the question for many travelers.

Related: Getting a coronavirus test for travel sounds great — but in many places, it’s nearly impossible

So, if you’re dreaming of an international getaway, now might be the time to seriously consider if you should head abroad for weeks, months or more. After all, many of us are working from home anyway, and a two-week quarantine is a drop in the bucket if you plan on staying put for a long stretch of time. It stands to reason other countries may make it easier for travelers to stay for an extended period of time, since tourism has been so severely affected by the global health crisis.

No matter where and when you’re traveling right now, we recommend talking to your doctor, following the guidance of officials and researching local travel restrictions. You’ll also want to be mindful of both hotel and airline cancellation and rebooking policies. Many airlines have shifted to temporarily allow travelers to book new flights now and cancel for a refund or travel credit later, often with the ability to make changes within the next year and even into 2021. You should also consider protecting your trip with a travel insurance policy that allows you to cancel for any reason.

Featured image by Roberto Moiola/Sysaworld/Getty Images.

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