||Central Bank Of Barbados
Planning to go overseas on vacation this summer? Whether it’s a quick trip to Miami or a longer visit to see family and friends in New York, Toronto, or London, you’re undoubtedly going to be spending money while you’re there, so here are three things you should bear in mind as you prepare for your trip.
Nb. All dollar figures are quoted in Barbados dollars.
Your Foreign Currency Allowance
Barbadians travelling on holiday are allowed to purchase up to the equivalent of $7,500 in the foreign currency of their choice each year. This $7,500 can be spread across multiple trips throughout the year or used all at once if you won’t be travelling again, however when it comes to buying cash, you can only get the equivalent of $1,000.00 per trip. That means that if you want to take more than $1,000 with you, you will have to transfer the additional amount to a Visa Debit Card of a Visa Travel Money Card.
As long as the money you want to take with you does not go over your annual allowance, you don’t need to apply for permission from the Central Bank of Barbados; your commercial bank has the authority to approve your application.
However, if for some reason you need to take more than you are allowed – more than $7,500 in total or more than $1,000 in cash for a single trip abroad – then you will need to apply to the Central Bank for permission to do so. These types of requests are generally processed on the same day.
But whether your commercial bank is approving your application or you have to come to the Central Bank, you will need to show your passport and your itinerary/ticket to the officer at your bank to confirm that you are indeed travelling. The commercial bank will mark the amount of foreign currency that you have purchased in your passport.
Generally, if you stay within your annual holiday travel allowance, you will not need to get a Central Bank Clearance Certificate from the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA), but if you exceed that limit, you may need to apply for one.
The Foreign Exchange Limit on Your Credit Card
You might decide not to take any foreign currency with you and to use your credit card instead, or you might want to use your credit card to cover part of your expenses. In either instance, be mindful of the foreign currency limit on your credit card. If you have already exceeded that limit, or think that you might go over it while on your trip overseas, you can request to have the limit temporarily increased.
To get a temporary increase on your foreign currency limit, you will need to apply through your commercial bank, explaining the reason you need the increase and providing any supporting documentation. Your bank will then submit the application to the Central Bank on your behalf.
The Foreign Exchange Fee
Finally, remember that whether you are buying foreign cash, loading up your Visa Debit or Visa Travel Money card, or relying on your credit card, you will have to pay the 2% Foreign Exchange Fee (FXF). For credit card purchases, the fee is applied when the transaction is processed by your credit card company, and in all instances – whether cash, debit or credit card – the fee is charged on the Barbados equivalent of the foreign amount.
So, as you plan your vacation, be mindful of those three things: your foreign currency allowance, your credit card’s foreign currency limit, and the Foreign Exchange Fee, and remember to factor in enough time to have all your applications approved. After that… have a great vacation.
Understanding Exchange Controls - Holiday Travel.pdf