Whether moving to live, work or play, Barbados is an increasingly popular choice for British expats looking to relocate to the warm, sunny tropics. Blessed with perennial good weather, a stable society, and excellent modern infrastructure, Barbados represents a lifestyle desirable to many.

However, what makes Barbados particularly attractive to the British is its long relationship which results in numerous similarities, including language, road laws (Barbadians still drive on the left, a holdover from British rule) and high respect for order and stability. These factors all suggest a reasonably easy transition.

Nevertheless, moving from the United Kingdom to Barbados may seem daunting. It does require flying 4,000+ miles across the Atlantic Ocean, after all. As well as an adjustment to a different (arguably, better) climate.

In addition, the question of how exactly a UK citizen becomes a resident of Barbados is an essential factor that must be considered carefully.

Luckily, our team at Residence Barbados is here to help with information on methods of relocation that can make your adjustment to the fabulous Barbados lifestyle even more manageable.

Move from the UK to Barbados and live in Bathsheba

The view of Bathsheba, Barbados

How to Move from the UK to Barbados

In addition to the traditional method of permanent relocation, moving to Barbados can be achieved in various ways. One popular method is using the Special Entry Permit (SEP) which may particularly appeal to high net worth individuals (HNWI) and retired property owners.

The Special Entry Permit requires that persons must either be property owners with property worth above US$2 million or high net worth individuals with assets above US$5 million.

The SEP also requires proof of documents, including:

  • Two passport-sized photographs
  • A copy of the bio-data page of the passport
  • Birth certificate
  • Evidence of your financial situation
  • A police certificate of character/enhanced disclosure
  • Health insurance
  • Title deeds
  • Marriage certificate (if married) and
  • An application fee ranging from USD$3,500-5,000.

While this may seem tedious, the rewards are well worth it, as the SEP allows successful applicants to reside on the island for as long as they desire, without the hassle of scheduling appointments with the local immigration department to extend their stay in paradise.

The SEP provides persons with indefinite leave to live in Barbados. They can then purchase an annual or a permanent work permit with full employment rights. The applicant’s spouse and dependents will enjoy the same rights.

Move from the UK to Barbados and enjoy a beaches at sunset

Sunset on the West Coast, Barbados

Barbados Welcome Stamp

Another method for individuals ready for an extended stay is the Welcome Stamp Programme which allows visitors to live for up to a year on the island. This can be renewed after such time to prolong your stay.

The Welcome Stamp is an ideal option for individuals considering Barbados but who want a trial run before committing to permanent residency. Children of Welcome Stamp visitors can also attend local private or state schools without a separate Student Visa.

The Welcome Stamp Programme has proved to be very popular with remote workers. They are rightfully taking advantage of the fact that they can work from anywhere, including a beach lounger in paradise, rum in hand! And without having to worry about paying local income taxes or double taxation.

To qualify for this programme, one must have a yearly income of no less than US$50,000 over the year on the island. The application fee for individuals is US$2,000, while the Family Bundle is US$3,000.

In addition, passport size photographs, biodata page of passports, and in the case of families, the proof of relationship to the principal applicant must also be shown.

The final condition is adequate international health insurance for everyone applying.

And if you then decide to start a business in Barbados, the country has a very competitive corporate tax rate of between 1 – 5.5 percent.

Fortunately, the Welcome Stamp application process is straightforward and submitted online. Applicants have reported being successfully approved in as little as a week, meaning that your Barbados lifestyle may be closer than you think!

Move from UK to Barbados and enjoy the North Point

North Point, St Lucy, Barbados

Retiring in Barbados

The process is relatively straightforward for those who want to retire in Barbados.

If you are over 60 with sufficient funds, you can apply for immigrant status. You must also have at least USD$500,000 worth of health insurance coverage and a piece of Barbados real estate worth $150,000 plus.

There is an application fee of $300 and an approval fee of $1,200.

FAQs about moving to Barbados

The Residence Barbados team receives lots of queries about moving from the UK to Barbados. So we’ve put together answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. Of course, we’re on hand if you have any other questions – just complete the contact form or email us at contact@residencebarbados.com

How fast is the internet?

Barbados boasts the fastest fibre internet and mobile services in the Caribbean.

Are there any good supermarkets?

The cost of living in Barbados is higher than in the UK, with nearly everything imported. Many supermarkets stock own-brand items from the UK supermarkets like Waitrose (Massy) and Tesco (A1) and well-known names.

Residence Barbados top tip: Never convert the prices back into pounds when shopping. You will leave with empty shopping bags and go hungry! Instead, find an alternative product, change supermarket (try Popular or Solo), or choose something from a local supplier.

Do I need a car?

While public transport is excellent with plenty of options, car ownership is expensive (even for second-hand vehicles), but it will allow you to enjoy all the island has to offer. Petrol is the same price across the island.

Is there much crime in Barbados?

Barbados has one of the lowest crime rates in the Caribbean.

Is there any clothing I should bring or avoid?

Please bring lots of light cotton clothing with you as it is expensive to purchase in Barbados and with only a limited choice. Camouflage clothing is illegal.

Can I bring my electrical items?

Your UK electrical items like hairdryers and straighteners won’t work well on the island. You will need to bring US adaptors for computers and printers (bring a stock of UK ink with you). We have found it more convenient to purchase US cables for these items. And remember that if you buy printer paper, it will be US sized A4.

What about a mobile phone?

You can buy a pay-as-you-go SIM for your phone from either Flow or Digicel and add phone calls and data as required. It is expensive but more convenient than relying on WiFi when you are out and about.

Bringing your pet to Barbados?

If you can’t stand the thought of leaving your furry friend behind in the UK, then you can bring your pets with you. An import permit must be obtained from Veterinary Services before importing animals, reptiles, and birds. And an officer must examine the animal before it leaves the customs area.

For further information, several agencies like Pets Abroad will be able to assist you further. Or contact the Barbados Veterinary Services on +1 246 535 0221.

Moving from the UK to Barbados has never been easier, and with the island’s sensational golden beaches, rich culture, modern conveniences, and active ex-pat community, you will find the island’s nickname “gem of the Caribbean” is well deserved.

Ready to relocate to Barbados and in need of assistance with your future island home or simply looking for property investment options? Please fill out our online form or contact us via telephone or WhatsApp at (+1 246) 230-4982, and one of our team members will reach out to you.

Content Disclaimer

The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this blog post are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this post. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this post. Residence Barbados disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this newsletter.