Getting Barbados Citizenship: Neither Easy Nor Quick

Getting Barbados Citizenship: Neither Easy Nor Quick

Despite being married to a Barbadian citizen, I am not allowed to spend more time in Barbados than a tourist: 30 days. The immigration officials at the Barbados airport check their computer screen each time I enter. They can see how often I visit Barbados (their term; I call it living here) and whether I’ve applied for residency or citizenship.

So far my to-ing and fro-ing hasn’t been a problem because I travel frequently. And of course, if I wish to stay longer than 30 days, I could zip down to the immigration office, stand in line, leave my passport, pay a fee, probably beg a bit … But after procrastinating a year and five months since Greg and I got married, I figured, Why not just make myself legal?

The Brooklyn Bridge in New York

I am a U.S. citizen and was in New York last week. From a cab I took this photo of the Brooklyn Bridge with Old Glory waving.

I hope I’m not jinxing things by saying this, but so far the process of getting citizenship here in Barbados has gone smoothly — only two trips to the Immigration Office were necessary to accomplish the first and perhaps most difficult step: turning in my forms filled out correctly. In fact, in the case of both visits I needn’t have taken the long-winded New Yorker; the wait was just Pleople-long.

I wasn’t sure which would be a faster process, citizenship or residency, so I filled forms for both. I went with all required items: the original and a copy of my birth certificate, divorce decree, and marriage certificate; medical forms filled out by my US doc; passport photos signed by a justice of the peace; passport, affidavits of good character, clean police record from the States; and Greg’s birth certificate and divorce decree; and $100.

The forms I filled out asked me if I’m blind, intend to overthrow the government, or have anal fissures. I’m not, I won’t, and I don’t think so … ahh, smooth sailing so far.

Sunset in St Lawrence Gap, Barbados

Home sweet home in Barbados; I took this photo the evening I returned from New York from the jetty behind our home that juts into the gorgeous Caribbean Sea.

Reading up on the process of citizenship in Barbados makes me think this could take a long time. The woman at Immigration said that I’d be called in for interviews “at some point” and the process overall could take one to three years (at which point I’ll have dual citizenship with the U.S.); Barbados Free Press indicates it could take pretty much forever … well, 12 years.

But at least the immigration folks with the rubber stamps (and the power) at the airport will perhaps look at their computer screen next time I come in … they’ll smile upon me and my good efforts.

Okay, right. That’s a bit much to hope for. But at least I’m on my way.

72 Responses to “Getting Barbados Citizenship: Neither Easy Nor Quick”

  1. Patricia says:

    Hello, I was born in Barbados by Guyanese parents and have been living in Guyana for almost my entire life. I’m a holder of a Barbados birth certificate and passport which has been expired for about 20 yrs, however when trying to apply for a passport in Guyana I was told I’m not a citizen of Guyana and cannot be granted such. Now I am trying to renew my old Barbados passport but I don’t have a Barbados ID card so I would like to know if I will still be considered a citizen and if my passport can be renewed before proceeding to the consulate in Guyana.

  2. Patricia, I must defer to the experts. Visit this site …. … and find phone numbers and start calling to ask the questions you ask here. Ask how you can get a Barbados ID, to begin with.

    Good luck to you!! I hope all of this is sorted out; I can imagine it’s very stressful for you.


  3. Cameron harrison says:

    How do I go about applying (if elegible) for a Barbadian passport.i was born in England, ’71, half English mother, half Barbadian father parents.
    Adopted in 1972, rediscovered my roots approx 15 years ago. My paternal grandmother until recently was my last direct relative living in Barbados. I cannot trace my father. Married in 2011 in Barbados
    Do I actually have any substance in applying for Barbadian citizenship through my father / grandparents heritage?

  4. Christine flavius says:

    Hello my name is Christine am a Barbadian and I live in St Lucia am getting married to a St Lucian an I want to make him permant residents to live in Barbados the fist step is getting his residencies before his citizenship what documents are required for both.

  5. Kristal says:

    Does anyone know how I can replace my Citizenship by Decent certificate?

  6. John says:

    If a woman wasn’t born in Barbados but moved to Barbados from a young age and was raised in Barbados, married in Barbados.. received citizenship in Barbados then moved to the states. Had a child with a non bajan father is it possible for the child to apply for citizenship by descent through the mother even though she wasn’t born there but her whole life is bajan?
    Thanks in advanced!

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  10. Rscoe says:

    Barbados Citizenship by descent forms require photos signed by notary….sign over the image or on the back?

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