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On Arrival to Barbados

The final decision has been made and you are finally on your way to living on a piece of paradise, Barbados.


Totally Barbados has an entire section dedicated to all that you will need to know upon your initial arrival on the island.

Whether you are here for retirement, a job posting, furthering your education or learning a new language, you will need of course to first get the appropriate immigration documentation in order.

Non-nationals of Barbados who would like to gain employment on the island, either short or long term, are required to have a Work Permit issued by the Barbados Immigration Department prior to commencing work.

This should be done before you arrive at the airport and in accordance with the Barbados Immigration act. Each member of your family will also be required to have their appropriate documentation in order before they arrive. Once you have your permit approved, your passport will be endorsed for the period of the work permit.

If you have children that will be entering schools in Barbados, you will also need to have your work permit in order for them to gain admission to the school.

If you are entering the island as a visitor there are also requirements that need to be considered, including holding a valid passport, a return ticket and a visa (for citizens of certain countries).

Immigration requirements are fully outlined in the Immigration section of this site.

Barbados customs regulations will also need to be taken into consideration. Currently you are allowed to import personal/house-hold effects on a duty-free basis when you arrive and within the first three months of being here.

You can refer to our section on 'What To Pack' which will help you decide what items you should consider bringing on the plane with you, which ones to pack and ship and which ones are better off bought locally.

You should consider insuring your household items while they are being shipped and also once they are unpacked and in your home.

Arriving at Grantley Adams International Airport

Your first port of entry into Barbados will most likely by air, into the Grantley Adams International Airport. It has been recently upgraded providing a brand new arrivals hall with an increased Immigration processing area, a baggage claim area almost twice its original size.

There are porters who are eager to take you bags from the baggage claim area to your car or taxi and charge around US$1.50 per bag.

After collecting your bags you will need to clear customs. If your have nothing to declare, just proceed through the green line. The airport is approximately 20 minutes from the capital Bridgetown.

Most likely you will be in temporary accommodation at this point, certainly until you have got your bearings and are ready to tackle the beginning of your new adventure head on.

Please visit our section on settling at home, where we have pages of information that you will find useful for getting you and your family settled into the Barbadian way of life.

Culture Shock

Another really good and informative guide is the Living in Barbados section on 'Culture Shock'.

This is a term used to describe the personal anxiety and disorientation one experiences both physically and emotionally, while living in another country or a place different from the place of origin.

The way people live in the host country can be very different from your own, for example, speaking a different language, driving a car and the rules of the road, using the bank machines to name a few.

This can affect many people at different times.

There is an expanded definition of the term and also some really useful information on the various phases you might expect to experience. These phases or stages usually occur at the beginning of your stay but can happen at any time and can be ongoing or appear only at certain times.

Warning signs of culture shock can be both physical and emotional and the exertion and stress created can include a range of symptoms - the cues and signs are also laid out within this guide.

Overcoming and coping with culture shock can take time, but if you follow the steps outlined on this website, your recovery can be done with much ease and little stress.

Recent research claims that culture shock can have many positive effects on those people who have intercultural experiences. These include improving self-motivation, develop a better understanding of oneself and stimulate personal creativity.

Recognise the specialness of both your home and host cultures as well as their weaknesses. Most importantly know that the sacrifices you have made will forever enrich you by having had this experience.

Job Hunting

Looking for a job can be a daunting and disheartening experience at times. The best place to start is by looking in the local newspapers for listing of vacancies and opportunities. There are a wide variety of industries in Barbados so the possibilities in terms of job opportunities are vast.

So now that you have arrived or it's imminent and you have done much of your initial ground work, you should be looking forward to finally settling in your new host country. It's a long journey but with a wealth of personal rewards.

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