Holiday Home Times

Establishing Residency in Bahamas

Firstly, why would you want to establish Residency in the Bahamas?

A quick summary – tax – Bahamas is one of the few places combining access to the United States with Zero income tax and Western Values and Freedoms. In addition it offers significantly mature banking infrastructure, the company of many ‘tax exiles’ and the sun, sandy, tennis – the many pleasures of the independently wealthy. A good way to visualise this is the tax advantages of Dubai while living in Florida !!

Since the enactment of the International Persons Landholding Act in 1993, foreign nationals have been encouraged to make the islands of the Bahamas their home. The Act outlines the requirements needed for non-Bahamians to purchase property in The Bahamas.

A non-Bahamian may enter The Bahamas as a visitor for an initial period of up to two months. It is during this time the visitor may apply for residency. There are three levels of residency available:

  • Annual Residence Permit;
  • Permanent Residence Permit; and
  • A Home Owner’s Card

ANNUAL RESIDENCE PERMIT

This permit is for non-Bahamians wishing to reside in The Bahamas on an annual basis. The Government Fee for this permit is B$1,000 for the head of the household and B$25 for each dependent.

Separate application forms must be submitted on behalf of the applicant’s spouse and child (children, if more than one). The application must be accompanied by a marriage certificate in the case of a spouse and a birth certificate or any other certificate evidencing the dependence of the subject of the application in the case of a dependent.

Click Here for the List of Required Documents

  • Immigration Form completed and notarized with B$10.00 Bahamian postage stamp affixed thereon;
  • Two passport-size photographs with signature on reverse of prints;
  • Police certificate covering five years residence;
  • Medical certificate dated not earlier than thirty days before this application;
  • Two testimonials of good character; Copy of lease or deed (if available);
  • Financial reference from a reputable bank verifying economic worth, i.e., citing a figure range;
  • Confirmation of whether or not the applicant owns a home or property in The Bahamas, and if yes, the address;
  • A statement of net worth stating a figure range and how it is comprised (asset classes);
  • Source of income including whether derived from employment, pension, investments, trust funds, etc.;
  • Amount of time to be spent in The Bahamas;
  • Civic or charitable affiliations;
  • Reasons for seeking residence in The Bahamas;
  • Ticket evidencing intended departure (if applicable); And
  • Processing Fee B$100
PERMANENT RESIDENCE PERMIT

Permanent Residence has become very popular and accelerated consideration of application is given to major international investors and owners of residences valued at B$500,000 or more. If the investment in The Bahamas or residence be valued at B$1.5 million or more, a response from the Immigration Department is guaranteed within twenty one days of submission of a complete application. The government fee for this is a one-time fee of B$10,000 and B$100 for an applicant’s spouse and dependent minors. Although our experience has been positive, as mentioned above, the grant of permanent residency is in the absolute discretion of the Board.

The following persons are among the category of persons who may apply for permanent residence:

  • Spouse of a Bahamian after 5 years of marriage; the marriage must be subsisting; and the couple must also be cohabiting as husband and wife
  • Persons born legitimately outside of The Bahamas to a married woman, who is a citizen of The Bahamas, and whose husband is not a citizen of The Bahamas
  • Financially independent individuals or investors who are legitimate owners of a residence in The Bahamas – please note that persons purchasing a residence for BS$1.5 million or more will get speedy consideration
  • Doctors / Medical professionals after having been employed for a minimum of 20 years
  • Persons who have held legal status (work or resident permit) for more than 20 consecutive years

Upon approval of the application, the applicant must pay an additional B$250.00 before he receives permanent residency.

A person holding a certificate of permanent residence who wishes to include his wife, or dependent child under the age of eighteen (18) and ordinarily resident in his household, may have them endorsed on the certificate at the time of his original application or at a subsequent date, subject to such conditions as might be laid down by the Board.

Click Here for the List of Required Documents

  • A copy of the bio-data page of the applicant’s passport;
  • 2 passport-sized identical color photographs of the applicant, with the applicant’s name printed on the reverse side (photographs must not be more than 6 months old);
  • An original police certificate of character (issued not more than six months prior to the submission of the application;
  • Original birth certificate (In the case of certificates that are written in languages other than English, an English translation should be submitted, sealed by the appropriate Consular Office where applicable, with a BS$10 Bahamian postage stamp affixed to it;
  • An original medical certificate dated not more than 30 days prior to the submission of the application;
  • 2 original character references, written by persons known to the applicant for at least 5 years;
  • Parents’ birth certificate;
  • Parents’ marriage certificate;
  • Marriage certificate (married persons);
  • Spouse’s death certificate (widowed persons);
  • Divorce decree (divorcees); and
  • Financial statements from applicant’s financial institution citing a figure range, and verifying economic worth
HOMEOWNER’S CARD

Non-Bahamians who own homes in The Bahamas may apply to the Director of Immigration for an annual home owner’s resident card (the “Home Owner’s Card“) that bears the holder’s picture. This card entitles the owner, spouse and any minor endorsed on the owner’s card, to enter The Bahamas and reside here for as long as the validity of the card. The government fee for this is B$250 per annum. The intended purpose is to facilitate entry into The Bahamas with minimal formalities. There is no need for a return ticket and the Home Owner’s Card entitles the holder to stay up to one year.

Although the form does not have to be completed and submitted until after the applicant’s arrival, please note that there are documents to be submitted with the application which would be appropriate to obtain or request prior to the applicant’s departure for The Bahamas.

Click Here for the List of Required Documents

  • Immigration Form duly completed and notarized with a ten dollar (B$10.00) Bahamian postage stamp affixed thereon;
  • Two (2) passport size photographs with signature on reverse of prints;
  • Police certificate covering five (5) years of residence or where these are not issued, a sworn affidavit in lieu of same;
  • Certificate from The Bahamas Investment Authority
  • Copy of valid passport
  • Proof of ownership of property and/or investment in The Bahamas in the form of copies of conveyances, deeds or contracts; and
  • Processing fee of one hundred Bahamian dollars (B$100)