Moving to Bermuda? Here’s a Quick Guide to Helping You Settle In
A hub for international business in the heart of the Atlantic Ocean, Bermuda has proven itself to be an ideal place for professionals to work and thrive. But what is there to do outside of the office environment and how will you set yourself up to succeed personally, as well as socially and financially, after moving to this 21-square-mile paradise?
This guide aims to provide newcomers with necessary information and steps to navigate the moving process more smoothly. That way you can get on with the more exciting part of your adventure—truly living and enjoying all Bermuda has to offer.
There are many benefits to working in Bermuda including a shorter commute, higher earnings and a more attractive work-life balance. In order to take advantage of such perks, as a foreigner you will need to obtain a work permit. Your employer must make an application for your work permit, which if approved, will then be issued by Bermuda’s Department of Immigration. There is no longer a maximum term limit for work permit holders, which means that as long as your company chooses to retain you, you are welcome to live in Bermuda.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Bermuda Government launched a special Work From Bermuda One-Year Residential Certificate, which allows workers who are currently working from home the opportunity to live and work remotely from Bermuda.
One of the distinct advantages of living and working in Bermuda is the low taxation rates. While individuals in Bermuda do not pay personal income tax, the Government of Bermuda does levy a Payroll Tax to employers. Depending on the company you work for and its benefits, you may be responsible for a specific portion of the payroll tax payment based on your quarterly/ annual remuneration.
Stores and restaurants in Bermuda accept both U.S. Dollar (USD) and Bermuda Dollar (BMD)—the official currency of the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda. One interesting fact is the Bermudian Dollar has long been pegged to the United States dollar (since 1972) at a one-to-one ratio, with both currencies circulating in Bermuda on an equal basis.
For everyday spending, credit cards are widely accepted across the island, however, some small mom and pop stores, local markets and public transport facilities still require cash.
Banking in Bermuda
One of the first crucial steps to getting established in Bermuda is setting up a local bank account. Bermuda is known for having a well-developed and reputable financial, regulatory and supervisory framework in banking, and it remains fairly easy for expats and Non-Bermudians to open a bank account on the Island.
Steps to Getting Set Up with A Local Bank:
- Research and choose your preferred bank
Start by researching the available banks on the Island and their offerings. Consider factors such as services provided, fees, online banking options, and customer reviews. Once you’ve identified a suitable bank, visit their website or contact them directly for more information.
While some banks on the Island will require you to come in person to set up your first bank account, only Clarien Bank offers cutting-edge technology that makes onboarding new clients simpler and easier than ever before. With our award-winning Digital Account Opening Solution, you can open a bank account 100% online in just 15 minutes, from the comfort of your home or privacy of your office—no matter where you are in the world and at any time of day or night. This means it’s possible to start the account opening process even before arriving on Bermuda’s shores.
- Gather required documentation
To open a bank account using Clarien’s digital onboarding solution, you’ll need a passport and “selfies” for verification, as well as your Work Permit or Employer Letter confirming your role, salary and temporary address. Once we have received all necessary documents, your account will be opened within 3-5 business days.
- Book an appointment
Once you’ve chosen the right bank, it’s highly recommended that you schedule an appointment with a local bank representative. This will give you a chance to ask any questions and learn about products and services offered that can support you in achieving your financial goals and objectives. At Clarien, we invite you to visit our head office at Point House, located on Front Street, next to the stunning Hamilton Harbour. We are located in a cutting edge and modern building, which boasts a digital lounge with iPads and WiFi for client use, as well as interactive meeting spaces and digital concierges. With our reputation for providing the best customer service in Bermuda, along with our reimagined digital first tools and software, we can confidently offer a banking experience suited to your needs.
We understand that you may also have unique or more complex needs when it comes to your finances. For private banking, wealth and asset management, trust, and estate planning, we strongly encourage you to meet with one of the knowledgeable and passionate members of our Wealth Management team.
- Explore the range of banking solutions
Becoming a new client at any bank, you’ll need to take time to familiarise yourself with the various banking products and services available to you. Clarien offers world-class solutions designed to make your total banking experience as simple and seamless as possible:
- iBANK: Clarien’s online and mobile banking app allows you to conveniently manage your finances from anywhere in the world, facilitating transactions, bill payments, and balance inquiries 24/7.
- iATM: Clarien’s ATM network spans 9 prime locations Island-wide, including U.S. Dollar dispensing machines located at Point House and the U.S. Departure Lounge at L.F. Wade International Airport.
- VISA MY REWARDS PROGRAMME: Earn points every time you use your Clarien VISA Card and use your points to shop or book flights using Apple Pay or Google Pay.
- iINVEST: Bermuda’s first and only robo-advisor investment solution. Using industry leading technology and the expertise of our dedicated advisory team, we are able to create a customised portfolio based on your ideal investment and savings strategy.
- Make the most of your banking experience
If you want more out of your banking, Clarien+ offers preferred CD and mortgage rates, tailored solutions and exclusive experiences that are aligned with your values and lifestyle. Clarien+ clients also enjoy access to Concierge Banking Services as well as the Clarien+ Digital Lounge.
Finding your Bermuda Home
Traditionally, overseas buyers looking to purchase real estate in Bermuda must first obtain a license from the Bermuda Government. Renting tends to be a faster and far more accessible option, especially for those still getting used to the Island and deciding on the best location to reside.
Bermuda’s Rental Market
In recent years, the demand for luxury properties on the Island has increased with many prospective overseas buyers seeing the Island as an appealing and desirable place to live. On average, you can expect to pay between $2,000 – $3,000 per month for a simple one- or two-bedroom rental, however, luxury rentals and those closer to the city centre or in close proximity to beaches and golf courses can cost considerably more.
Real Estate Agencies
There are a number of knowledgeable and reputable real estate agents on the Island who can help you to navigate the home-buying or rental process from start to finish. A quick web search will also lead you to extensive online listings to assist in your hunt for your ideal home in Bermuda.
Education in Bermuda is compulsory for those aged between 5 to 19. While the Island offers public school for children, many expats decide to send their children to one of the eight reputable private schools. The Island also boasts several alternative schools for children, including some for those with learning differences.
Bermuda has two primary options for public transportation: buses and ferries (water boat). Though these run fairly regularly, usually every 30-60 minutes depending on the time of day, day the week, and popularity of the route, many residents prefer the comfort and flexibility of having their own transportation.
Scooters are popular means of transportation on the Island and are less expensive than cars, with free parking options throughout the Island. Cars are an ideal choice for couples and families, and come in particularly handy during wet days and colder winter months.
Clarien offers a range of Lending Solutions that can help you with purchasing a new motorcycle, car, or boat—any mode of transportation that you need to explore the Island in style.
Other Activities to Try
A fantastic way to start your day is with a round of golf. Thanks to Bermuda’s mild temperatures and stunning ocean and clifftop views, many newcomers find the Island to be the perfect place to work on their swing. With eight golf courses to choose from—Bermuda has the highest concentration of courses in the world for a country of its size. Many of the local golf courses are award-winning, with the Island even earning the chance to host the PGA Grand Slam of Golf several times.
Whether you’re looking for a unique spa experience inside a sparkling cave or a relaxing spa treatment inspired by Bermuda’s rich and unique culture, there is no shortage of spas to choose from. Many of the local hotels and resorts have their own spas and amenities (such as saunas, pools, or fitness rooms), while a few smaller day spas are also available throughout Hamilton and other high traffic locations on the Island.
Between April and October, it’s common to find expats and locals alike enjoying their favourite pastimes on the water. From boating with friends and family to indulging in water sports like jet skiing, paddle boarding, snorkeling, and diving, one of the best aspects of living in Bermuda is getting to enjoy life in and around the azure waters.
A great way to mix and mingle during the warmer months, Happy Hour events are a popular choice for professionals after a long week at the office. On Friday nights, you can attend a number of local Happy Hours featuring music from some of the Island’s hottest DJs and enjoying cocktails from Bermuda’s best mixologists and bartenders.
A meal fit for a king—that’s one way to describe the Island’s Sunday brunch offerings. Each with their own unique twist—from sushi buffets and American breakfast classics to Caribbean inspired menus, aim to arrive hungry and you can leave truly happy.