Bahamas Government Passport and Visa Information
Keep in mind that the information on this page is subject to change with government fancy so check the nearest Bahamian embassy and/or your travel agent for details.
Passports are required by all persons entering the Bahamas except for (i.e. if you meet the below conditions do not need passports):
- United Kingdom (England, etc) citizens and its colonies on temporary visits not exceeding a stay of three weeks
- Canadian citizens on temporary visits not exceeding a stay of three weeks
- United States citizens entering the Bahamas as genuine tourists for a period of less then eight months and who are in possession of proof of nationality, such as a birth certificate, or voter’s registration card are not required to have a passport.
Visas are required by all persons entering the Bahamas except for (i.e. if you meet the below conditions do not need visas):
- British citizens and Canadian citizens for visits less than 30 days
- US citizens entering as tourists for a stay less than eight months
- US resident-aliens in possession of US alien registration cards may stay for visits less than 30 days
- Nationals of the following countries: Belgium, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, San Marino, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey
- Nationals of the following countries for visits less than three months: Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Republic of Ireland, South Africa and Sweden
- Nationals of the following counties not less than 14 days: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela
- Individuals who have a valid Bahamian government issued residence or work permit
Click here for a listing of Passport and VISA requirements by country and for a list of VISA offices.
- Upon your arrival to The Bahamas, you will be required to fill out an Immigration Arrival/Departure Card, which you will keep part of until your departure.
- All visitors are required to be in possession of a return ticket.
- U.S. visitors staying for eight months or less need a return ticket plus a passport (passports expired up to five years may also be used) or a certified birth certificate with an official photo identification.
- Naturalized Bahamian citizens require naturalization papers (photo identification is not required).
- Alien residents in possession of a U.S. Alien Registration Card may enter The Bahamas without a visa for visits not exceeding thirty days. Presentation of a current national passport, or one that has been expired for five years or less, facilitates processing.
- Permanent residents (green card holders) require their green card and a valid passport from their place of birth.
- Canadian visitors staying less than three weeks need the same identification as those from the U.S. and do not require a visa.
- Landed immigrants in possession of the Canadian Immigration Record Form 1000 should follow the same requirements as Alien residents.
- All others need a valid passport.
- British subjects from the United Kingdom and colonies may enter The Bahamas as visitors without passports or visas for periods not exceeding three weeks. For longer stays they must present a passport.
- A Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is required from travelers over one year of age coming from the following countries: Angola, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Colombia, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, French Guiana, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Peru and Sudan. Travelers from these countries must be vaccinated 10 days prior to entering The Bahamas and must have a valid certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever.
Bahamas Customs on Items Imported into the Bahamas for Visitors
Baggage declaration by temporary visitors is oral, but baggage is subject to Customs inspection. In case there are dutiable (“taxable”) articles, the visitor will be required to complete a Baggage Declaration Form. Each adult is allowed 50 cigars or cigarettes or one pound of tobacco and one quart of spirits free of Customs Duty, in addition to personal effects. In addition, purchases up to a value of one hundred dollars ($100.00) are permitted by all arriving passengers. Computers such as laptops are considered a part of your personal effects and therefore are duty-free. Linen and china are duty free for each arriving visit. Household effects, such as small appliances (such as blender etc.) are dutiable at 45% of the cost. (Ouch!)
How to get here: Unless you are Jesus, walking is out of the question
Your choices are by air or sea. By sea, either on a private boat or commercial cruise, or by one of the many commercial daily flights that go in and out of the Bahamas. Of course, if you’re in the mood you can always swim. Walking or driving–unless you car treads water like 007’s– is a definite impossibility.
Driving Tip: Right is Wrong, Drive on the LEFT side of the road
When renting a motor vehicle remember always to drive on the left. Though it takes some getting to used to (particularly when you are driving down deserted roads in the family islands) accidents are rare.
Also remember that a percentage of Bahamian drivers drive very badly. It seems the latest fad is to stop in the middle of the road to talk to your friend who is walking down the street, or to stop in your lane to talk to the person in the opposing lane, rather then driving onto the side of the road. Also watch out for reckless taxi and bus drivers, who are incapable of reading speed limit signs, or using signals when they cut me off. Also let us not forget: a guy who turns into the road I am driving on in all haste who then slows down once he gets in front of me. Sigh.
Tourists should exercise caution if renting motorbikes for transportation during their visit. Severe, and sometimes fatal, accidents with motorbikes have involved tourists. Travel by moped or bicycle is very hazardous, especially in the heavy traffic conditions prevalent in Nassau, and visitors should carefully consider whether such travel is worth the risk of a serious accident. Those who choose to ride a moped or bicycle should drive defensively.
Lastly, when you are about to drive across a pedestrian crossing a Bahamian (or tourist) will run to the curb to cross the street, and a few will slow down as they cross the street. I have no clue why people do this. So take your time, and be careful. You have been warned.
Look to your RIGHT (if not both ways) when crossing
Since we drive on the left in the Bahamas, be extra careful that you look right when you are crossing a road. Many a tourist has unfortunately attempted to cross roads without looking in the direction a car is coming from–their right. Even better–look both ways. Death and serious injuries have occurred when visitors have failed to adapt to unfamiliar rules of the road.
The drinking age is 18 and above. However, no one checks ID, so if you look close to 18 you can get booze. Much advantage is made of this by young Americans, particularly during the high point of the college year–spring break–where they visit in legions. To make things worse, or better (depending on your point of view), rum is usually a third of the U.S. price.
The gambling age is 18 and above. I guess if you are old enough to die in Vietnam, why can’t you be old enough to drink and gamble?
To bring an animal into the Bahamas requires an import permit obtainable from the Dept. of Agriculture, phone (242) 325-7502/9 (no e-mail as yet). If you would like to bring in a cat or dog, from the US, or Canada, you will need a vetinary health certificate issued 48 hours before embarkation, and a valid certificate of rabies vaccination for either the one year rabies vaccine (given to the animal at least one month before arrival, and not more than 10 months before arrival), or the three year rabies vaccine (given to the animal at least one month before arrival, and not more than 34 months before arrival).
The Bahamian government may not tax your income, but they will tax your departure. There is a government departure tax of $18 dollars (payable U.S. or Bahamian dollars) in Grand Bahama, and $15 in New Providence, payable at your point of disembarkment. Please make sure you have exact change when you departure as the people you have to pay this to rarely have change.
(For those who complain about the Bahamas charging this, the U.S. government charges twice this amount, but includes it in your ticket).