WORKING IN THE BAHAMAS
- How do I obtain a work permit?Work permits must be applied for and obtained from the Department of Immigration Nassau, Hawkins Hill, PO Box N-831, Nassau, The Bahamas, Tel: 1 242 322 7531 Fax: 1 242 326 0977
- Can I apply for a work permit while I am in The Bahamas?No; work permit applications from persons already in The Bahamas would not be entertained. Applications must be made while you are outside The Bahamas.
- What are the criteria for a non-Bahamian person to obtain employment in The Bahamas?The Bahamas is a small developing country and Government regulations ensure that employment may be only offered to non – Bahamians in posts for which there are no suitably qualified Bahamians. In order to obtain employment as a non – Bahamian, the following criteria must be met:
An employer who has a vacant post is required to advertise the post locally. If he is unsuccessful in filling the post locally, he may apply to the Immigration Board for permission to recruit outside the country. He must also obtain a certificate from the Department of Labour indicating that a Bahamian is not available to fill the position.
When the prospective expatriate employee has been contacted, the employer must apply for a permit which is issued by the Immigration Board. An application will not be entertained if the prospective employee was already in The Bahamas, having entered as a visitor. Permits are issued for specific posts and the renewal of a permit is not automatic. Each application would be considered on its merits.
Employers may apply for permits for longer periods than one year in respect of certain key personnel on contract. Such contracts should indicate that their renewal would be subject to obtaining the applicant’s replacement within a stipulated period.
Fees of varying amounts up to $15,000 (for senior managerial and professional people) are charged if a permit is granted. The same amount is payable upon renewal of the permit annually. If approval is granted the employer will be asked to enter into a bond equivalent to the cost of repatriating the employee.
- I have specialist skills. Which Ministry or Department should I contact to inquire about the availability of jobs in The Bahamas?Qualified persons interested in employment with the Government of The Bahamas should write to respective Ministry / Department as follows:
Nurses, Doctors and Kindred Services – Ministry of Health,
P.O. Box N-3730, Nassau, The Bahamas Tel: 242 322 7425
Teachers, Professors – Ministry of Education,
P.O. Box N-3913, Nassau, The Bahamas Tel: 242 322 8140 Fax: 242 322 8491
Legal and Judicial Services – The Legal Department,
P.O. Box N-3007, Nassau, The Bahamas Tel: 242 322 1141
Public Works (Water Supplies) – Ministry of Public Works,
P.O. Box N-8156, Nassau, The Bahamas, Tel: 242 322 – 4831
Radio and Telephone Technicians – Bahamas Telecommunications Corporation,
P.O. Box N-3048, Nassau The Bahamas Tel: 242 323 4911
Administrative, Clerical and Financial – Department of Labour,
P.O. Box N-3915, Nassau, The Bahamas Tel: 242 325 – 6511
- How do I apply for a Police Character Certificate?Please visit the Government of The Bahamas’ website at: https://forms.bahamas.gov.bs/dp_form.asp?fid=299
- What is the exchange rate of the Bahamian dollar?The American dollar and the Bahamian dollar operate a system of parity where $1(USD) = $1(BSD)
- What currency can I use in The Bahamas?The Bahamian dollar is the legal tender in The Bahamas; the American dollar is the most accessible currency to obtain from a bank or a bureau de change outside of The Bahamas and is widely accepted throughout The Bahamas Islands as both the Bahamian dollar and American dollar are used interchangeably.
- Can I leave The Bahamas with Bahamian money?The currency of The Bahamas is restricted; therefore it is illegal to depart the country with more than $200 Bahamian dollars in your possession.
- Can I use traveler’s cheques in The Bahamas?Internationally known traveler’s cheques in dollar denominations may be cashed almost anywhere.
- What hours can I do my banking?Banks in New Providence and Grand Bahama are open from 09:30a.m to 3:00p.m Monday to Thursday and on Fridays until 5:00 p.m; however, on the Family Islands service is often very limited.
- Can I use credit and debit cards in The Bahamas?Yes; major credit cards and most debit cards are acceptable for payment throughout the Islands. In addition, most ATMs on the Islands will offer cash advances from your cards subject to a small fee.
GENERAL IMMIGRATION AND ENTRY QUESTIONS
- I know that I do not require a visa to enter The Bahamas – what documentation should I have in my possession to enter?
- A valid passport with six months validity from the date of departure from The Bahamas
- A return or onward ticket if flying by commercial carrier
- A letter and further documentation if flying by private aircraft
- If travelling by private vessel, documentation from the Captain giving entry and exit details of the vessel;
- Passengers travelling by commercial cruise ships must have their travel vouchers or passbooks
- Visa or entry permit for the country that you would be visiting upon leaving The Bahamas
- Sufficient funds to finance the visit (approx. $200USD per day)
- A letter of invitation if residing at a private address if applicable
- A confirmed hotel booking if applicable
|1b.||Must I have a biometric or machine readable passport to enter The Bahamas?
Machine readable or biometric passports are not required at this point in time for entry to The Bahamas.
- If I am a permanent resident of the US (a green card Holder), what documents do I need to travel to The Bahamas?Green card holders do not require visas to visit The Bahamas. They should have a valid green card, a passport that is valid for six months from the date of departure from The Bahamas; sufficient funds to finance their trip; onward or return tickets to leave The Bahamas and proof of accommodation.
- Can a non-Bahamian travel to The Bahamas on an expired Passport?No; passports must have a minimum of six months validity from the date of departure from The Bahamas. In addition, airlines would not let passengers board with expired travel documents.
|3b.||If I only have four months left on my passport, can I still travel to the Bahamas?
Only British and American passport holders may travel to The Bahamas with less than six months left on their passports.
- Is it acceptable for a child to be on the mother’s or Father’s passport to gain entry into the Bahamas?Yes, this is acceptable. Minors up to the age of sixteen years old may travel to the Bahamas on their parent’s passports.
- What happens if my name appears differently on the passport as it appears on the ticket?If the name change were due to Marriage, you would need your original/certified copy of the marriage certificate with other proof of citizenship (birth certificate, voter’s card, etc.) If the name change is due to adoption or legal name change (deed poll) you would need a certified copy of the legal document showing the name change with other proof of citizenship. If you do not have a legal document, you would need a parent or other relative that knew of the name change to have an affidavit sworn to that fact.
- At what age can children travel unaccompanied to The Bahamas and what documentation should they have to gain entry?An authorization letter from their parents stating consent has been given for children of sixteen years and under.
- I am traveling with a child who is not my own. Do I need a letter of permission from the child’s parent?While this is not a requirement for The Bahamas it is advisable to have written consent from the child’s parent (s). If the non-custodial parent is travelling with children it is also suggested that a letter of authorization for the children to travel be obtained.
- Are pets allowed to travel to The Bahamas without a period of quarantine?A valid import permit ($10) is required to import any animal into The Bahamas. Unless otherwise indicated, a permit can only be used once and only during the period specified on the permit. Dogs and cats imported from countries with rabies must be six months and older. To apply for an import permit, please telephone 1 242 325 7502 in The Bahamas or 1 242 325 7503. You may also write to the Director of Agriculture at P O Box N – 3028, Nassau. State your name and address, the type, age and number of animals you wish to import, the country of export and origin, the purpose for importing the animal(s), as well as anticipated date of arrival and destination in The Bahamas.
- Can I travel to The Bahamas with prescription drugs used as medication for an existing illness?It is suggested that a letter from the doctor stating that the medication is needed for your health be obtained and presented to Bahamas Customs if questioned.
- Are there any fees I have to pay to leave the country?Departure tax is incorporated in your ticket or holiday package and would not be a separate charge.
- Can I travel to The Bahamas with a criminal record?Persons with criminal records or persons, who are on parole, should write to the Director of Immigration at the following address seeking advice and clarification:
Director of Immigration
P.O. Box N – 831
Nassau the Bahamas
Tel: 1 242 322 7530
Fax:1 242 326 0977
The letter should include the following information:
- Date of entry and exit to and from The Bahamas
- Anticipated length of visit
- Details of accommodation (private address or hotel / villa)
- Details of conviction – i.e. sentence, time served and current status
- Documentary proof of termination of sentence or pardon
If the intended traveler is on parole, the parole Officer should provide a letter on letterhead stating that there is no objection to letting the intended traveler leave the jurisdiction of parole; the letter should also include the full name, date of birth and place of birth, the nationality, passport number and place of passport issuance. The Bahamas Immigration Department would respond to the initial letter sent directly from the Parole Officer.
- What can I bring into The Bahamas as far as food items?
You may take any item up to a value of $100USD Duty free. However, no fresh fruit or vegetables allowed. Chicken and beef are taxable. One quart of alcohol including beer and wine and 200 cigarettes and 50 cigars are allowed for persons over 21. Additional information may be obtained from The Comptroller of Customs, Customs House, Thompson Blvd, PO Box N-155, Nassau, The Bahamas. (Tel: 1.242 .326.4401)
VACCINATION AND INOCULATIONS
- Are there any vaccinations required?Most visitors to The Bahamas do not need special vaccinations before entering the country. However, travelers over one year of age must provide a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate if they are coming from the following countries: Angola, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Colombia, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, French Guiana, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Peru and Sudan. Travelers are required to be vaccinated 10 days prior to entering The Bahamas.
- What if my doctor recommends that I have certain inoculations?You are always welcome to seek the advice of a doctor; any decisions to proceed with vaccinations or inoculations would be a personal decision that you have made on the advice of your doctor.
- I have an American passport. Do I need to apply for a visa?American passport holders do not require visas to enter The Bahamas for a maximum duration stay of up to eight (8) months.
- How do I obtain a visa application form?Visa forms may be obtained by downloading them from our website at www.bahconga.com, telephoning the visa section on 404-214-0492 to request an application form, by collecting the applications with guidelines in person from The Bahamas Consulate General, Park Central Building, 2970 Clairmont Rd, N.E. Suite 290, Atlanta, GA 30329 or by email request using the address: email@example.com
- What documents do I need to produce for the visa?
You will require the following:
- Valid Passport (Passports must not expire within the next six months)
- Valid United States multiple entry visa or proper documentation to enter a third country.
- Two (2) Passport photos (of frontal view) taken within the last six months (colored).
- $160.00 visa fee (cash money order or travelers check only!!) Multiple visas $250.00 (Please inquire about special instructions for Multiple Entry Visa). If paying in cash- please have exact amount. Otherwise – make Money Order payable to “the Bahamas Consulate General” do not send personal checks. $100.00 dollar bills are not accepted.
- Completed Application form (must be signed by applicant).
- Proof of travel plans (original and copy) i.e. return ticket, cruise voucher or travel itinerary.
If applying by mail
Payment for return-postage by Post Office Next Day Express mail service or Federal Express must be submitted.
Envelopes must have a tracking number or delivery confirmation tag.
*PLEASE DO NOT SEND CASH, MONEY ORDERS MUST BE SUBMITTED FOR MAIL-IN APPLICATIONS.
H. Applicants holding “F”, “J” or “H” status must submit the following in addition to Items A-F:
- Valid I-20 form signed by International Foreign Student Advisor.
- Valid 1ap-66 form signed by International Foreign Student Advisor.
- Valid Approval Petition for Immigration and Naturalization Services.
Applicants are reminded that each application for a visa is examined individually and according to Bahamas government regulations. The Consulate reserves the right to refuse any visa, or to request any additional documentation where required. Missing documentation may lead to unsuccessful applications and denial of granting the tourist visa for the Bahamas.
- Do I still need to produce all of the documents listed above even though I have applied for a Bahamas visa before?Yes, even though you may have made an application for a Bahamas visa in the past, you would still need to produce the documents that are outlined above at the time of your new application.
- What is the processing time? How long does it take to apply for the visa?The minimum processing time is 48 hours (two full working days) once we are in receipt of the completed application. This excludes Bahamian and American holidays. Some applications may take longer to process; therefore it is advisable to apply well in advance of the travel date. Once your visa application has been lodged, you would be informed of the collection date. The maximum time it would take to process a visa is 5 business days.
- How far in advance can I apply for the visa?Bahamian visas are only valid for a period of three months from the date of issue. Therefore, you should ideally lodge your application in the two weeks before you intend to travel to the Bahamas. E.g. If you intend to travel to the Bahamas in January, your application should be lodged in December. You cannot lodge the application before November, as the visa would expire before you even depart for the Bahamas.
- How much is the visa fee?$55 cash or postal order for a three-month single entry
$65 cash or postal order for a six month multiple entry
Postal orders are to be made payable to: BAHAMAS CONSULATE GENERAL
Please note that we do not accept charge cards, debit or credit cards or personal cheques.
- I want a multiple entry visa. How do I obtain one?Multiple entry visas are issued to the following persons for periods of three (3) months to one (1) year:
- The spouse of a person legally working in The Bahamas
- Persons who maintain houses in The Bahamas
- Persons who maintain bank accounts in The Bahamas
- Persons conducting business in The Bahamas
- Crewmen on cruise ships (documentation from cruise line must be presented)
- Frequent travelers to The Bahamas
- For what period is a visa issued?Single entry visas are issued for three (3) months only.
Multiple entry visas can be issued for three (3), six (6) or twelve (12) months duration
- What size photographs are acceptable for the application form?Original and passport photos sized 2in x 2in are acceptable (normal US passport sized photos); the photos must be in color, but they must not be taken in a photo booth. Applicants should not wear any glasses or hats; ears must be visible in the photo. Photos must NOT be taken at an angle or in profile; the applicant must face forward. Photos should ideally be taken on the day of the application or at least recently taken within three weeks.
- If I am a permanent resident of the United States do I still require a visa to enter The Bahamas?Green card holders do not require visas to visit The Bahamas. They should have both a valid green card and national passport that is valid for six months from the date of departure from The Bahamas.
- Which nationals require visas to visit The Bahamas?Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Belarus, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, China (Peoples Rep. Of), Comoros, Congo (Dem. Pop. Rep.), Congo (Rep. Of.), Cote D’ivoire, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Rep.), Iraq, Jordan, DPR (North) Korea, Kazakhstan, Krygyztan, Laos, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Macau (Chinese Ppt.), Madagascar, Mauritania, Micronesia, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palau, Palestine, Philippines, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen, Zaire.
|12b.||Which nationals do not require visas to visit The Bahamas?
American Samoa, Andorra, Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Azores, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bermuda, Bolivia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Canada, Cape Verde, Cayman Islands, Chile, Colombia, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Croatia, Curacao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Falkland Islands, Fiji, Finland, France, French Guiana, French Polynesia, Gambia, Galapagos Islands, Georgia, Germany, Gibraltor, Greece, Greenland, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guam, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hong Kong (Hksar Or Hk Cof I), Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kiribati, Korea-South, Kuwait, Latvia, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Martinique, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Montserrat, Namibia, Nauru, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norfolk Islands, Norway, Northern Mariana Islands, Oman, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Pitcairn, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Reunion, Romania, Russia, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Helena, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Saint Vincent & The Grenadines, Saint Marten, Saint Pierre & Miquelon, San Marino, Sao Tome & Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Tahiti, Tanzania, Tokelau, Trinidad & Tobago, Tonga, Turkey, Turks &Caicos, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States Of America, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Vatican City, Venezuela, Virgin Islands (US & UK), Western Samoa, Zambia And Zimbabwe.
- I am a journalist or camera person; would I need a visa or any entry clearance?If persons were travelling on one of the passports listed above, a visa would be needed. For those persons travelling with passports where visas are not needed, entry clearance would need to be obtained from the Ministry of Tourism in The Bahamas.
- How long can an American national stay in The Bahamas without a visa and what can they do to extend their stay?An American national may stay for a maximum period of eight months without a visa in The Bahamas. Should they wish to extend their stay, application must be made to the Immigration Department for an extension of stay. The applicant must contact the Immigration Dept. (Tel: 242 322 7531) directly to enquire as to the documents needed for the extension.
- I do not have a United States passport and I do not need a visa. How long can I stay in The Bahamas?Those passport holders who do not require visas to enter the Bahamas would be granted leave to stay for any period of up to four weeks. Should you wish to stay beyond the time of leave granted, you would need to apply for an extension of stay for up to a maximum time frame of eight months. The visitor would need to apply at the Immigration Department, PO Box N-831, Nassau The Bahamas Tel:1 242 322 7531 Fax: 1 242 326 0977.
- Can a visa application be accepted if it is a fax copy?Yes, this is acceptable, but only if the application is legible. If the processing visa officer at the time of submission of the application deems the forms to be illegible, the applicant would be required to fill in a new form, which may be downloaded from our website: www.bahconga.com
- Can I make application for a visa on behalf of family members or friends outside of the United States of America?No. All applicants must be physically in the United States at the time of application
- Can I be issued a visa on spot or within a day?Emergency situations do occur and the Bahamas Consulate General attempts to make every effort to respond to these emergencies. Please call to enquire whether your application may be entertained under your extenuating circumstance.
- Are appointments needed for the visa?Appointments are not necessary.
- Can a Bahamas visa be issued at the airport on arrival?Visas are not issued at the airport or the harbour dock; therefore they must be obtained before arrival in The Bahamas.
- If I am travelling with an adopted child and they do not have a birth certificate or any other documentation what can I do?The adoption papers with photo identification should be in their possession. If those documents are not available, then a sworn affidavit from a notary public, along with photo identification, would suffice.
- I want to apply for a visa but there are no blank pages left in the passport what can I do?One full blank page must be in the passport in order to issue The Bahamas visa. You must therefore renew your passport at the nearest Consulate or Embassy in order to obtain a visa.
- What are other acceptable forms of photo ID besides a passport or driver’s license?None.
- What documentation is needed for children to gain entry to The Bahamas who are travelling with persons not their legal guardians or parents?A valid passport (and visa if applicable). It is also advisable to have written consent from the child’s parent (s).
- How should an individual obtain a visa if they are not resident in the United States?They should contact the nearest British Consulate or Embassy in their country of residence to obtain The Bahamas visa. They may also transit a country where The Bahamas has a Consular Office. Bahamas Consular Offices are located in London, England; Port au Prince, Haiti; Havana, Cuba; Beijing, China and Ottawa, Canada.
Visas cannot be obtained for applicants who are not physically present in the United States.
- Is there any possibility of obtaining a Bahamian visa if the passport holder has no visa for the other country for which they are ticketed?If the applicant is transiting or travelling to any other country before the visit to The Bahamas, they must obtain visas for that country first (if applicable).
- Can a courier service or third party be used to lodge an application for a visa?Yes, provided that the applicant is physically in the United States of America.
- If someone travels to the Bahamas on a single ticket, intending to leave the country by other means (private yacht, plane etc.) will they be allowed entry and what sort of proof should they have that they intend to leave the country?You should have in your possession proof that you intend to leave the country by other means; i.e. a letter from the captain of the yacht with docking permission for The Bahamas, or a letter from the captain of the private plane with flight permission, etc.
- If an airline takes a passenger to The Bahamas who holds an expired passport, will The Bahamas government levy a fine on the airline?This is ordinarily what happens in this situation. However, security checks are very stringent at the airport nowadays and it is very unlikely that an airline would carry a passenger with an expired passport.
- Are transit visas required even if the national does not leave the airport?Yes, visas are issued based on the passport one holds in their possession and not duration of stay in The Bahamas.
- Are visas required for The Bahamas if I am visiting by way of cruise ship?Yes.
- I have a diplomatic or special passport. What documents should I present for my visa application?Diplomatic and official passports that require visas should be submitted with two passport photographs, travel itinerary and a Diplomatic Note from their Consulate or Embassy.
- Is there a fee charged for diplomatic or special passports?No, diplomatic and official passports are issued gratis (free) once they are accompanied by a Diplomatic Note from the relevant Embassy.
- Can I send all of the documents for my family in the same packaging?Yes you can. You should also send a pre-paid self-addressed envelope to return your documents upon completion.
- What if I hold a service passport? Do I need to pay and what documents should I present?Visas for Service passports are charged at $55 (single entry) and $65 (multiple entries); the documentation required is the same as for an ordinary passport.
- What are my options for obtaining a visa in the absence of a Bahamas Consulate or embassy in my country of residence?In the first instance, you should approach the British Consulate or Embassy in your country of residence to obtain a Bahamas visa. Nationals, who wish to visit The Bahamas and cannot obtain a visa in their country of residence, for whatever purpose, would have to travel to a Bahamas Consular Office to obtain the visa in person. These are located in Atlanta, New York, Washington, Miami, Beijing, Atlanta, Port au Prince, London and Ottawa, Canada. You should contact the Consulates in writing to ascertain the documentation required and procedure involved.
- I intend to visit The Bahamas by private aircraft or by private vessel; what documentation do I need in order to be landed in The Bahamas?Travelers to The Bahamas by private aircraft are advised to seek permission from the Civil Aviation Authority at the Nassau International Airport. The telephone contact is 1 242 377 7281. You should ensure that when you contact them you have the following details at hand for reference: details of the aircraft (make and model number), year of the aircraft, call sign of the aircraft, crew and passenger manifest, the arrival and departure details and the airport details of intended landing.
For those persons entering The Bahamas by private vessel, you are advised to have a letter of invitation from the owner of the vessel, along with documentary evidence (docking papers, registration slips etc.) that the vessel would be in The Bahamas at the time of your stay. You may also wish speak with an Immigration Official for further clarification – Tel: 1 242 322 7530.
Further information may also be obtained by writing your query to facsimile 404.214.0497 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
CONSULAR DIVISION – Visa Section
2970 CLAIRMONT ROAD, NE
TEL: 404 214 0492
FAX: 404 214 0497