Bermuda implemented a digital nomad program on 1 August 2020 which offers a one-year residency certificate for those who want to work or study remotely (One-Year Certificate). This initiative capitalised on the rise of remote working, which has been accelerated by Covid-19. Hundreds of people have taken advantage of the program. Applicants for the One-Year Certificate must have the means to support themselves while working remotely, and cannot seek work in Bermuda.
1. Filings – updated
Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA)
All correspondence and application requests can be submitted to the BMA electronically.
Registrar of Companies (RoC) – UPDATED
The RoC has been accepting applications via email since 18 March 2020. All payments to the RoC should be made via wire transfer. As most staff continue to work remotely, the preferred method of contact is by email.
The RoC is currently moving to an online registry system that will facilitate all corporate filings and fee collections. Migration of data to the new system took place from 8 December 2020 until 15 December 2020.
The RoC has begun preparations for testing and rolling out the new registry system and will be offering training webinars before going live.
The Registry General is now accepting filings that require original documents for registration, such as the registration of partnership charges.
Documents requiring an apostille can be processed and certificates will continue to be issued digitally. Requests should be submitted via email.
2. Can searches be conducted?
Physical Company Searches of hard copy files are available by appointment, but the RoC is encouraging search requests to continue to be submitted electronically using a RoC company extract form.
Searches of the Cause Books are permitted by appointment only. Searches are limited to one hour per search request and strict COVID-19 protocols are in place.
Registry General Searches
The Registry General will be able to conduct searches that are submitted via email but please expect delays. Appointments can also be made for up to two hours for in person searches at the Registry General.
3. Certificates of good standing – if and how these are being conducted
Requests for certificates of compliance should be submitted to the RoC electronically. If the entity is in compliance the RoC will issue an electronic certificate via email.
4. Court sessions and position (including filings and hearings)
The Registrar for the Courts of Bermuda released a Practice Direction on 30 June 2020 updating the protocols for the transition to enable the Courts to re-open to provide full services. Members of the public are required to call the Court with any inquiries rather than attending Court offices.
The following services are suspended until further notice: swearing of affidavits and certifying copies.
There is an unavoidable lag in listing new matters for hearing in Magistrates’ Court due to strict social distance requirements which limit the number of matters that can be heard at any one time. Where a matter is listed, parties may be required to attend Court, although attendance can be requested to be via telephone or video conference.
The Cashiers Desk is open on Mondays to Fridays from 9:30am until 4:30pm. However, persons are encouraged to make payments via online banking or by credit or debit cards via the telephone where possible.
The Supreme Court is prioritising the listing and hearing of urgent matters. Where a matter is listed for directions or a hearing, parties may be required to attend Court, although attendance can be requested to be via telephone or video conference.
The Supreme Court Registries are open to general filings on Mondays to Fridays from 9:30am until 12:30pm.
Court of Appeal
The latest session of the Court of Appeal concluded on 19 November 2020.
The Department of Immigration communicates with customers via email and telephone as the office is not open to the public. In person meetings are possible by appointment only. A drop box has been placed outside of the office for applications. Documents are no longer available for pick-up from the Collections Desk and will be sent via mail instead. The Department of Immigration is only accepting online payments.
In order to stimulate its economy, Bermuda implemented a one-year residency permit for digital nomads who want to work or study remotely from Bermuda. A successful applicant must, among other things, possess valid health insurance coverage and be able to demonstrate employment with a legitimate company, or their own company, registered and operating outside of Bermuda, or have substantial means or a continuous source of annual income. There is a fee of BMD263 per applicant.
6. Any travel restrictions – Updated
The Bermuda airport is open for commercial flights. Travellers (includes visitors and Bermuda residents) to Bermuda must comply with stringent COVID-19 protocols which include completing the Bermuda travel authorisation process online prior to departure. Visitors must take a certified PCR COVID-19 test within 5 days (ideally 72 hours) of flying to Bermuda and any visitor who does not provide proof of a negative test result, will be refused entry to Bermuda. Bermuda residents are not required to get a test before travelling to Bermuda, but residents without proof of a negative test will be required to quarantine until they receive results from a subsequent test on the eighth day from their return date. Upon arrival all travellers will be tested for COVID-19 at the airport and are required to quarantine until their results are ready. Tests are also required on day 4, day 8 and day 14 after arrival. All travellers (residents and visitors) are required to wear a Traveller Wristband for the first 14 days of their stay in Bermuda.
All travellers who are arriving from the United Kingdom or who have visited the United Kingdom in the 14 days before their arrival are required to quarantine in their accommodation for four days, until they have received a negative result from the day 4 test.
The Minister of Health has advised that, even if persons test negative upon arrival or day 4 of arrival (as applicable) or later, they should conduct themselves with the “utmost care.” Persons who test positive for COVID-19 will be subject to contact tracing.
If a traveller receives a COVID-19 positive test result or is in close contact of a positive person, he or she will be subject to public-health (COVID-19) regulations and must quarantine for 14 days.
7. Implications for economic substance compliance and residency
The RoC has advised that it will take circumstances surrounding COVID-19 into account when assessing compliance with the economic substance requirements pursuant to the Economic Substance Act 2018, and the principles set out in the applicable Guidance Notes. The RoC may therefore take into account situations where meetings or other similar compliance measures are not possible due to necessary travel or quarantine restrictions. Entities should keep careful records of all such circumstances, and should continue in good faith to ensure their ongoing compliance with the economic substance requirements.