Residency in The Bahamas – The Ultimate Guide
We put together this guide for property buyers considering moving to The Bahamas and wondering how to enjoy residency in this outstandingly beautiful archipelago.
Offering world-class amenities, pristine white and pink sand beaches, some of the best waters in the world for sailing, diving and fishing and luxurious real estate investment options – all just a hop, skip and a jump from the USA – The Bahamas can offer residents a very high standard of living.
Residency represents an opportunity to luxuriate in such a lifestyle on a permanent basis. However, there are various options for staying in The Bahamas and different routes to obtaining residency including buying property in The Bahamas. This guide explores your options, the requirements and the application process in detail.
How long can I stay in The Bahamas as a non-resident?
How do I become a resident in The Bahamas?
Benefits of Residency
How to Apply for Citizenship
Find Out More
Citizens of the USA, Canada, UK, Europe and many Caribbean countries do not require a visa to visit The Bahamas. You will be required to present your Passport (valid for at least the intended duration of your stay) and a return ticket upon arrival. American, Canadian and British visitors to The Bahamas are permitted to stay in The Bahamas for up to 8 months without a visa. Visitors from the EU are permitted to stay in The Bahamas for either 3 months or 8 months depending on citizenship.
So, how do I become a resident in The Bahamas?
Well, there are several routes available to acquire the right to residency in The Bahamas. Foreign nationals looking to move to The Bahamas need to apply for a Work Permit, Homeowner’s Card, Annual Residency or Rermanent Residency. Each route has different requirements and criteria.
Work Permits may be issued to foreign nationals if a job has been advertised locally and a certificate from the Labour Exchange has been issued stating that no suitably qualified Bahamian national is available to fill the post. Work Permits are specific to an individual and a particular job.
Fees for work permits range from $500 to $12,500 according to the job category.
Foreign nationals who own property in The Bahamas can apply to the Director of Immigration for an annual Home Owner’s Card. This card allows an individual to enjoy hassle-free travel to The Bahamas. The bearer of a Homeowner’s Card (plus spouse and any dependents endorsed on the main owner’s card) are entitled to stay in The Bahamas for the duration period of validity of the card without having to show a return ticket. The government fee for this is $250 per year.
An Annual Residence Permit allows non-Bahamians wishing to reside in The Bahamas to do so on an annual basis.
The option to apply for annual residency status is available to spouses or dependents of work permit holders, resident homeowners, spouses or dependents of citizens, and independent economic residents.
Applicants for annual residency status must submit various documents to the Department of Immigration including evidence demonstrating the ability to support themselves financially.
Fees for annual residency vary from a one time fee of $250 for spouses of Bahamians to reside and work in The Bahamas (no fee for dependents), through to $500 per year for an annual residence permit for a non-Bahamian second home owner.
A Permanent Residence Permit allows non-Bahamians to reside permanently in The Bahamas. This route is ideal for individuals looking to buy property, open a business or retire in The Bahamas. To qualify, applicants must fit in one of several categories, including “financially independent individuals or investors who are legitimate owners of a residence in The Bahamas.”
Foreign nationals investing at least $750,000 in real estate in The Bahamas qualify to apply for Permanent Residency in The Bahamas.
Foreign nationals investing at least $1,500,000 in real estate in the Bahamas can apply for Accelerated Consideration for Permanent Residency in The Bahamas which fast tracks the application process.
To qualify, applicants must also meet certain additional criteria as follows: Applicants must be aged over 18, be of good character, be able to demonstrate the ability to support themselves financially, and declare in writing that they wish to live in The Bahamas on a permanent basis. Spouses and dependent children aged under age 18 who are usually resident in the household may be endorsed on the certificate at the time of the original application or at a subsequent date.
There are many advantages to becoming a resident of The Bahamas.
- You can reside in The Bahamas legally, in some cases with the right to work and conduct business, without having to renew any permits.
- Permanent residents of The Bahamas enjoy the same rights as Bahamian citizens, except for the right to vote.
- You can enjoy tax benefits such as no inheritance tax, no income tax and no capital gains tax.
- Cosmopolitan destination offering a wonderful lifestyle and very high standard of living surrounded by some of the best beaches in the world and waters perfect for sailing, fishing, diving and water sports.
- Proximity to the USA – Easily accessible destination via short flights from the USA, Canada, UK and many other locations.
- Pathway to applying for Citizenship of Bahamas after meeting residency requirements.
The following categories of individuals are eligible to apply for citizenship of The Bahamas:
- An individual who has had legal permanent resident status in The Bahamas for 10 years, including the 12 months immediately prior to making the application, and who has been resident in The Bahamas for at least 6 years immediately prior to the 12 months mentioned above,
- A female spouse of a citizen of The Bahamas,
- An individual born in The Bahamas after 9th July 1973 to Non-Bahamian parents,
- A child (adopted or biological) with at least one Bahamian parent (Naturalised or otherwise),
- A child born in the Bahamas to non-Bahamian parents.
Would you like to find out more about how to get residency in The Bahamas?
To explore your options in more detail, please contact 7th Heaven Properties, the Luxury Caribbean Property Specialist.
To discover homes for sale in The Bahamas and condos for sale in The Bahamas from vibrant Nassau and Paradise Island to tranquil and serene Out Islands such as Eleuthera and the Exumas which may qualify you for permanent residency, explore real estate in The Bahamas on our website.
We look forward to helping you find your perfect property in The Bahamas.