Business Traveller Visa Waivers

December 9, 2011

[Updated] Effective immediately, business travellers to the island from visa-controlled nations will no longer require separate Bermuda entry visas, National Security Minister Wayne Perinchief said this morning [Dec.9].

The Minister said the requirement was being waived because the businessmen effected would already have US, UK or Canadian multi-entry visa. Bermuda requires nationals of approximately 100 countries [full list here - PDF] to apply for Bermuda entry visas before entry.

The Minister speaks briefly on the new visa rules:

Speaking in the House of Assembly, Minister Perinchief said, “This in no way compromises the critical mission of border control.

“The vetting procedure conducted by those countries is strict enough to satisfy the grant of the visa in the ordinary course and therefore we can be confident in offering the visa waiver in similar circumstances.”

The Minister said the “time consuming process” is not conducive to the business traveler and either discourages travel to Bermuda or creates challenges at the airport on arrival.

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Mr. Speaker, Bermuda is an important player on the world’s business stage. Our success as a jurisdiction has been founded in our ability to adapt to trends in industry and to set the pace for new approaches to encouraging investment. This Government continues to recognize the global nature of business and the changing fortunes of investment capital.

Mr. Speaker, on any given day, men and women of many nationalities consider Bermuda for meetings, conferences, investment and general business. Modern companies have increased their global reach and are staffed by persons of various origins. Skill and talent know no passport and as a jurisdiction we must ensure that we are welcoming to those people who wish to do business on our shores.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to advise this Honourable House that with immediate effect, the requirement for a Bermuda Entry Visa for visa controlled nationals on business to Bermuda will be waived. The sole condition for this waiver Mr. Speaker, is that the business visitor must have a US, UK or Canadian multi-entry visa.

Mr. Speaker, this in no way compromises the critical mission of border control. The vetting procedure conducted by those countries is strict enough to satisfy the grant of the visa in the ordinary course and therefore we can be confident in offering the visa waiver in similar circumstances.

Mr. Speaker, I can advise Honourable Members that the Bermuda Entry Visa is issued to visa controlled nationals upon application to the British Embassy or High Commission in their home country. The Bermuda Department of Immigration consents to the grant of the Bermuda Entry Visa where the applicant possesses a multi-entry visa for one of those countries previously mentioned. This process can be time consuming and involves the surrender of an applicant’s passport.

Mr. Speaker, this is not conducive to the business traveler and either discourages travel to Bermuda or creates challenges at the airport on arrival.

Mr. Speaker, the waiver of this requirement will apply to every category of business visitor including those on periodic, representative and salesman’s permits. The Department of Immigration is prepared to administer these changes in policy and I can also advise Honourable Members that key stakeholders in industry have been made aware of this change.

Mr. Speaker, this is joined-up Government at its best. My colleague the Honourable Member who speaks for Business Development and Tourism informed me of this recommendation from industry at a meeting on November 23rd. Technical Officers considered and advised on the proposed policy change such that Cabinet considered and approved the matter on 6th December.

Today, three days after that approval, Mr. Speaker, the change has been communicated to stakeholders, this Honourable House advised and the Department poised for implementation.

Mr. Speaker, this Government is making good on its promise of less red tape and more red carpet.

Thank you Mr. Speaker.

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Comments (11)

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  1. Bewildered says:

    Wow, after spending so much time on useless and counterproductive issues to drive business away from the Island the PLP have woken up to do something right! Wonders will never cease. Shame the Minister is on borrowed time and only in this position until the next election. He is one of the few who has the intelligence to the right thing.

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  2. what a surprise says:

    You seem to finally wake up. My family and friends used to come to Bermuda every year from South Africa, South America etc, and just decided not to be bothered with Bermuda anymore because of this ridiculous VISA requirements. They already need a VISA for the US & UK and that cost MONEY and TIME. We have friends that were visiting US recently and wanted to come to Bermuda at the last minute but could not - lost tourism!!. This is an island that need tourists so please take a step further and waive all VISAS if they already have a UK or US VISA. Bermuda need the tourism and we would love to have our family and friends visit more frequently.

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    • Huh??? says:

      Ummmm - Bermudians need a VISA to enter South Africa, BTW

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      • what a surprise says:

        what a stupid comment. So you are saying because Bermudians need a VISA for SA, Bda needs South Africans to have VISA's. Great thinking. I think we need to run out and tell the world, because every expat that lives in Bermuda need to redo their driving licenses, we want all Bermudians that travel and want to hire a cat, need to redo a car license first - that is exactly what you saying. South Africa does not need tourism as much as Bermuda needs it and what I am implying is that since South African's etc need to apply via the UK Immigration system for a Bermuda VISA (yes not through Bermuda Immigration ), they are already on the system, so why do they need a Bermuda VISA when they Travel through the UK for example. You must be a PLP supporter

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  3. Sunshine says:

    This is for Buisiness Travellers only ...or did I miss something?

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  4. JD says:

    "This is joined up government at its best" - Wayne Perenchief

    No this is government taking 19 months to realise they made a colossal mistake when Colonel Burch enacted the ridiculous Bermuda visa program in the first place.

    Honestly how dumb does the PLP think we are? This is the same government who wanted to crow about how great they were for cutting payroll tax - when they were the ones who raised it in the first place, just a year before! Make sure you don't hurt your arm patting yourself on the back for fixing your own mistake.

    I wouldn't be surprised if this government stole my bike one night, and then returned it the next day with a big smile and expected me to congratulate them for providing me with a means of transportation.

    Back to the topic at hand - why is this waiver just limited to business travellers? I thought we were in the tourism business. If a Chinese tourist has a US visa and wants to visit Bermuda on his way home do we still really need to make him jump through all the hoops to get a Bermuda Visa? Really?

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    • smh says:

      Whether it took 19 months or not, keep in mind that Minister Perinchief has only been in power since January. Give credit where credit is due.

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  5. Family Man says:

    Another flip flop.

    Paula's going to need a new pair of flip flops for Christmas at the rate she's wearing out her current ones.

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  6. 32n64w says:

    This flip flop reminds me of when the Premier said she was going to shave $150 million dollars from the most recent budget but a large chunk of the cited savings ended up being nothing more than a decision not to spend money on a future project which is the same thing as saying I decided not to buy a $5 million dollar house so I just saved us $5 million bucks!!

    If the money hadn't been spent in the prior year how is that now considered a reduction? Zero minus zero is still zero.

    PLP - Zero based budgeting really means $6 billion dollars in debt.

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  7. HA? says:

    for business travelers only?????? what about tourists? they still need bermy visa????

    thanks

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  8. navin johnson says:

    only correcting another flawed bit of PLP legislation as they should have never required the visa for a business traveler and only added it a few years ago as one more impediment....how about the non-bermudian housing license for spouses....the minister has been talking about getting rid of the ridiculous legislation so when are you going to act.?

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