On Arrival to Barbados

If you’ve taken the plunge and decided to make a move to beautiful Barbados, rest assured we have an entire section devoted to all you need to know about your initial arrival. Let us help to ease you into a happy and stress-free entry into the jewel of the Caribbean.

Preliminary Documentation – The Essentials

Whatever the reason for bringing you to live in Barbados – retirement, job posting, furthering your education, or learning a new language -your first step is to get your Immigration documentation to ensure a smooth transition into your new island life.

If you’re arriving as a visitor, there are specific Barbados Immigration requirements to fulfill to be permitted to enter the island. These include holding:

— a valid passport
— a valid return ticket and work permit paperwork
— an entry visa (for citizens of certain countries).

We go into all the specific details on our Immigration Requirements page.

Barbados’ Customs regulations also need to be considered and adhered to at all times. These are subject to change, so we recommend you always confirm the Barbadian laws before setting off on your journey and ultimately arriving on the island.

Non-nationals of Barbados seeking employment must possess a valid work permit issued by the Barbados Immigration Department before commencing any work on the island. How on earth does one organize a work permit, you might ask? Never fear; you will find all the information at your fingertips on our Acquiring a Barbados Work Permit page.

All the above paperwork should be in order before arriving at the Barbados airport. Family members, including children, must also have their documentation in order before they come on the island, especially if you want to enroll them in the Barbadian school system.

Arriving at GAIA – What You Need To Know

Your arrival will most likely be by air at Grantley Adams International Airport.

Once you have touched down in Barbados, you must walk a short distance to the tarmac and the Immigration hall. If you or someone you are traveling with have special needs, please ensure you make appropriate arrangements to cater to your needs upon arrival before setting off on your travels. The plus side to this is that you immediately get to step straight out into this beautiful island paradise, so your adventure begins!

Once processed through Immigration, you will walk towards the baggage claim. Some porters are eager to assist you in taking your bags from the baggage claim area to your awaiting transportation.

View photos of airplanes, arrivals, and departure terminals at the Barbados Airport.

NOTE: The airport is approximately a 20-minute drive from Bridgetown, and you can expect to pay between $40 – $50 BDS in a taxi to ‘town.’

The baggage claim area also has a tiny shop for duty-free shopping for those essential last-minute island purchases.

After collecting your bags and purchases, you then need to clear Customs. You can proceed to the awaiting ‘Arrivals‘ area if you have nothing to declare. Otherwise, you will need to report your items to our Customs officials before leaving the airport.

Likely, you have arranged at least some temporary accommodation before your arrival until you have gotten your bearings and are ready to tackle the beginning of your new adventure head-on. We at Totally Barbados want you to feel as comfortable as possible in your new home right from day one, so we’ve created a section devoted to Settling in at Home in Barbados. We have loads of helpful advice to help get you and your family settled into the Barbadian way of life as soon as possible.

Culture Shock – It’s Normal!

And it’s real.

The term describes the personal anxiety and disorientation experienced physically and emotionally while living in another country or a place different from your origin.

The lifestyle in your new host country can be very different from what you are used to at home. Things like speaking a foreign language or dialect, new driving and road rules, and dress code, to name a few.

Culture shock can affect people at different times and in different ways.

You might also experience various phases or stages of culture shock. These phases tend to occur at the beginning of your arrival but can happen at any time, be ongoing, or appear in isolation, particularly during times of stress.

Overcoming and coping with culture shock can take time. But it is essential to recognize the uniqueness of the home and host cultures and, most importantly, take comfort that some sense of culture shock is a normal part of adjusting to a new and different way of life.

Research suggests culture shock can have many positive effects, including improving self-esteem, developing a better understanding of oneself, and stimulating personal creativity and growth.

For more information, including symptoms and warning signs of Culture Shock, read more within our comprehensive guide on this breathtaking view towards acclimatizing to a new culture.

Job Hunting – Seek And You Shall Find

The best place to start job searching is by checking the local newspapers for vacancy listings and employment opportunities. There is a wealth of different industries in Barbados, so you’ll find a wide variety of options to put your professional skills to use. It is worthwhile to read our Finding a Job in Barbados page for all the tips and tricks for finding that perfect job in the ideal island paradise that is Barbados!

If you are a non-national to Barbados, read our Acquiring a Barbados Work Permit page. It will teach you what you need to know about ensuring you fulfill our Immigration requirements about working before commencing any employment here on the island.

Additional Considerations – Totally, Barbados leaves no stone unturned!

Our section on ‘Final Preparations‘ can help ensure that you have everything you may need to make your first few days on our island as stress-free and enjoyable as possible.

You might also consider insuring your items while they are being shipped and even once they are unpacked and in your new home.

The Final Steps

Now that you’ve arrived, or you are almost on your way, you can start to look forward to settling into the infamous Caribbean way of life. It can be a challenging ride, but the personal rewards are priceless, and it’s important to embrace your journey with positivity and joy.

About Totally Barbados (Edit profile)

Brett Callaghan is the founder and managing director of Totally Barbados. I specialize in writing content for the tourism industry for my island home of Barbados. I help companies build strategies to grow online businesses with SMART marketing, advertising, and social media goals.