FAQs for Visitors to Barbados
To come to Barbados you need to have a valid passport for the duration of your stay and a return or onward ticket. If you’re from the Caribbean Community, the United States, the UK or Canada (and others) you don’t need a visa to enter Barbados as a visitor. Citizens of some countries will need a visa – click here to view the list. When you arrive, you’ll be granted entry for a fixed period. If you’d like to extend your trip, you can apply to the Barbados Immigration Department.
Aside from the usual entry requirements listed above, Barbados has separate protocols in place because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. For full details on the entry requirements, see the Covid-19 travel guidelines published by Visit Barbados.
Barbados’ Grantley Adams International Airport is well-connected with direct international flights from the United States, UK, Canada, Europe and across the Caribbean. These include American Airlines and JetBlue from the United States, Air Canada and WestJet from Canada, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic from the UK, KLM, Aer Lingus and Condor (winter only) from Europe, COPA Airlines from Latin America and several regional airlines that serve the Caribbean.
For cruise travellers, the Bridgetown Cruise Terminal is a point of disembarkation for thousands of passengers every year. Some of the cruise lines that travel to Barbados include Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, Fred Olsen and Co. and the Norwegian Cruise Line.
Once you’re here, you can rent a car, use private taxis or our excellent network of public transport. The roads are well signposted, with maps and digital satellite maps (e.g. Google Maps) available. In Barbados we drive on the left, and you’ll need a valid foreign driver’s licence and to apply online for a visitor’s driving permit if not going through a car rental company.
The Barbados dollar is pegged to the US dollar at an exchange rate of US $1 = BDS $1.98. US dollars are accepted island-wide, at a rate of approximately of 2:1, and most stores and restaurants accept major credit cards and travellers cheques.
Visitors who bring their mobile phones with them and want to use data and send and receive calls, must remember to ensure the roaming feature is activated prior to arriving on the island. Local service is provided by FLOW and Digicel. Both offer prepaid SIM cards, and Wi-Fi is widely available throughout Barbados.
115/230 volts, 50 cycles. Standard plug types in Barbados are two flat blades or flat blades with round grounding pin. Most hotels provide converters and adapters for European or Asian appliances. North American appliances do not need converters.
The Barbados Water Authority, a government statutory corporation, is the sole provider of water services. The water service in Barbados is reliable and the water supply is safe and refreshing to drink.
Hotels on the island include a range of resorts from five-star luxury chains to options for smaller budgets. We also have a wide selection of self-catered accommodation, from small guest houses and apartments to sprawling luxury villas. For more information, see www.visitbarbados.org or www.bhta.org.
FAQs for Business Operations in Barbados
You can carry out business in Barbados as a sole trader, partnership, company or society with restricted liability. A company can be public or private. If it’s private, it can be incorporated with at least one director. For more information, see www.caipo.gov.bb.
To set up a business, you need to:
- register with the Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office
- register with the National Insurance Service
- register with the Barbados Revenue Authority
Further registrations and permissions are necessary depending on the sector your business is in. Read more about starting a business in Barbados.
Some qualifying CARICOM nationals can work in Barbados without a work permit. All other non-nationals need a work permit. There is an application fee of US$150. Find out more from the Barbados Immigration Department.
You may need a tax clearance certificate to renew your work permit. This is processed by the Barbados Revenue Authority.
If you need the services of specially qualified individuals for your company or society to operate effectively from within Barbados, and you’re unable to acquire those services in Barbados, or retain them from outside Barbados without special tax concessions, the Minister of Finance may grant a tax concession. This allows for 35 percent exemption from income tax on salaries up to Bds $150,000, 50 percent exemption on salaries over Bds $150,000 but less than Bds $500,000, and 60 percent exemption on salaries over Bds $500,000.
To import any raw materials or equipment for your business, you need to:
- check if you need an import licence from the Price Control Division of the Ministry of Commerce.
- check if you need to pay import duties with the Customs and Excise Department. To claim duty concessions, manufacturers must be registered with the Approved Undertakings Division.
- register with Customs’ Computer Department for an import number before you start the importation process. If you don’t have this ready, it could cause delays.
All goods imported into Barbados – by air freight, sea freight, courier or post – must be cleared through the Customs and Excise Department. You need to submit a goods declaration and include all commercial invoices.
Import duties and taxes payable or covered by acceptable surety typically range from zero to 20 percent of the cost, insurance and freight (CIF) value. There are some exceptions to these rates, including agricultural products, jewellery and vehicles. Most goods are subject to 17.5 percent value added tax (VAT), with some commodities having individual rates.
Barbados uses the Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System (HS), the International System for Classifying Goods, as well as the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Valuation Code. More information can be found from the Barbados Customs and Excise Department.
You can legally import goods on your own, but a licensed customs broker is recommended. You can find a list of brokers in the Barbados Yellow Pages.
If you invest in Barbados’ approved tourism projects, there are attractive incentives provided under the Tourism Development Act 2002 and Special Development Areas Act.
Find out more on our incentives page.
Land in Barbados is zoned for specific usage and before building, or if you want to change the usage, you need to apply for permission from the Town and Country Planning Department.
There are no restrictions on non-citizens purchasing property, but if you’re non-resident you need to pay for the purchase of property from external sources. Non-residents also need to get permission from the Exchange Control Authority to buy or sell real estate in Barbados.
You need to apply to the Planning and Development Department for the relevant permission if you plan to erect a structure, or intend to change the structure or usage of existing property. With the application form, you need to submit location, elevation, floor and site plans.
The Barbados minimum wage is BDS$340 (US$170) per week. The work week is 40 hours.
Barbados has a stable, harmonious and collaborative industrial relations climate. The majority of unionised companies here have cordial relationships with their respective unions. The government of Barbados supports the free enterprise system and upholds the rights of individuals and companies to join recognised workers’ or employers’ organisations.
Labour related issues are usually settled through a process of collaboration and negotiation. Successive Barbados governments have reinforced this approach by establishing a social partnership – a tripartite body that recognises and participates in various consultations in the interest of the national good.
The Barbados Workers’ Union represents the interests of employees in the private sector.
Barbados’ intellectual property rights system is administered by the Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office.
Barbados is a party to international treaties and conventions which recognise different kinds of intellectual property rights, and which guarantee protection and legal recourse to rights holders in line with internationally accepted standards.
At the domestic level, Barbados has enacted the following legislation to safeguard intellectual property rights: