Moving to the Bahamas is a great idea, A tropical paradise known for its pristine blue oceans, abundant marine life, and golden sandy beaches, the Bahamas, officially recognized as the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, stands as one of the most enchanting destinations worldwide. This high-income developed country is a favored choice for expatriates seeking a more relaxed way of life.
Due to its enticing combination of tax benefits, year-round favorable climate, and exceptional educational and healthcare offerings, the Bahamas has witnessed a surge in the number of foreigners opting for permanent relocation.
Do I Need a Visa for Moving to The Bahamas?
For stays exceeding three months, securing a long-stay visa is mandatory.
Long-stay visas encompass various categories tailored to your specific purpose of travel (be it work, study, family reunion, etc.) and remain valid for one year.
How Do I Relocate to The Bahamas?
Individuals from overseas looking to establish long-term residency in The Bahamas must obtain a long-stay visa. Long-stay visas are granted for the following purposes:
- Moving to The Bahamas for employment: Non-Bahamian nationals seeking employment in The Bahamas must apply for a work visa and permit. A crucial prerequisite for obtaining a work permit is the Labour Certificate (LC) from the Department of Labour, which necessitates your prospective employer to advertise the job vacancy and submit an application for Director of Labour’s consideration. If approved, the Labour Certificate (LC) is granted, enabling you to proceed with your work visa application, which involves submitting the application form and supporting documents to the Department of Immigration.
- Moving to The Bahamas for investment: Affluent individuals aiming to establish long-term residency can attain residency permits by investing in The Bahamas. International investors and property owners with properties valued at BS$500,000 (approximately €454,000) or more are eligible for investment-based residency. Applicants must also demonstrate a substantial net worth and adequate means of financial support for themselves and their dependents (spouse, children), negating the need for employment in the country. Homeowners in The Bahamas can obtain a homeowner’s card, expediting immigration procedures at all ports of entry and granting them and their family members (spouse and minor children) the right to reside in The Bahamas throughout the card’s duration.
- Moving to The Bahamas for study: If your aspiration is to pursue studies and legally reside in The Bahamas, you must apply for and obtain a student visa. This visa permits you to live and work in The Bahamas while completing your studies. However, prior to applying for a student visa, you must secure admission to an educational institution in The Bahamas and provide a letter of acceptance as evidence of your enrollment in a full-time course of study. Adequate financial resources to support yourself during your stay in the Bahamian territory are also required.
- Moving to The Bahamas for family reunification: Foreign nationals married to Bahamian citizens seeking to reunite with their spouses in The Bahamas can apply for a resident spouse permit (Family Visa). Eligibility criteria include a marriage of less than 5 years to a Bahamian citizen and proof of cohabitation as husband and wife. To initiate the process, a letter of request must be sent to the Director of Immigration, duly signed by your Bahamian spouse. Subsequently, you can submit your application along with supporting documents to the Department of Immigration, ultimately granting you the legal right to reside and work in The Bahamas. If the marriage has exceeded 5 years, citizenship application is also an option.
What Is the Citizenship Eligibility Period in The Bahamas? To qualify for Bahamian citizenship, a minimum residency of 6 years in The Bahamas is required, alongside a status as a legal permanent resident for 10 years. Upon meeting these prerequisites, you become eligible to apply for citizenship through naturalization.
Other pathways to obtain Bahamian citizenship include:
- Citizenship by birth.
- Citizenship by adoption.
- Citizenship by registration.
Is Dual Citizenship Permitted in The Bahamas? The Bahamas does not recognize dual citizenship. Consequently, individuals seeking Bahamian citizenship must renounce their other citizenship.
Moreover, individuals holding dual citizenship as minors are obliged to choose one citizenship upon reaching 21 years of age.
How Can I Import My Personal Belongings into The Bahamas? For importing personal belongings into The Bahamas, complete and submit the “Home Consumption Entry Form,” available on the official Customs Department website.
To import your belongings, collect the necessary documentation from your shipping or airline agent and fill out the relevant importation form. Subsequently, present the completed importation form, along with the required documents, to Customs Entry Checking, and pay the applicable import duties. You can transport your belongings via sea, air, or postal services.
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Notably, certain items are restricted or prohibited from entering The Bahamas, including but not limited to:
- Food unfit for human consumption.
- Indecent prints, paintings, photographs, books, cards, lithographs, or other indecent articles.
- Underwater guns.
- Articles imitating currency or coins in use in The Bahamas or elsewhere.
- Certain chemicals (e.g., Acetone, Ammonium, Benzyl Chloride, Chloroform, Ethyl alcohol, Hydrochloric acid, Methylene Chloride, Potassium carbonate, Sodium carbonate, etc.).
- Firearms and fireworks.
- Sodium fluoroacetate.
- Trailers intended for living quarters, offices, workshops, or similar purposes, unless authorized by the Minister.
- Mechanical games and devices wholly or partially coin-operated.
- Other restricted items.
How Can I Relocate to The Bahamas with Pets?
Importing your pets (cats and dogs) to The Bahamas necessitates a valid import permit, obtainable from the Ministry/Department of Agriculture & Marine Resources. The application fee for cat or dog import permits amounts to €10.00 plus 12% VAT, totaling €11.20.
To bring your pets (cats or dogs) into The Bahamas, adhere to these requirements:
- Pets must be at least 6 months old.
- Pets must be accompanied by a valid Veterinary Health Certificate.
- Pets must be vaccinated against rabies.
- Dogs must receive vaccinations against distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, leptospirosis, adenovirus, and coronavirus.
- Cats must be vaccinated against feline leukemia, feline rhinotracheitis, feline calicivirus, feline panleukopenia, and feline pneumonitis.
- Pets must undergo treatment for external and internal parasites.
- Pets must be microchipped (Avid, Trovan, HomeAgain, etc.).
Under Bahamian law, the following pure breeds of dogs and cats are prohibited from entry into The Bahamas:
- Presa Canario.
- Cane Corso.
- American Bully.
- Staffordshire Terrier.
- Dogo Argentino.
- Savannah Cat.
- Bengal Cat.
Notably, animals that fail to meet these requirements will be denied entry into The Bahamas, subject to penalties in accordance with Bahamian legislation.