APPLYING FOR RESIDENCY IN THE BAHAMAS

Individuals seeking to become legal residents of The Bahamas may make application to the Department of Immigration for either permanent residence or an annual permit to reside. The application process is typically handled by a local law firm.

ECONOMIC PERMANENT RESIDENCY


Economic Permanent Residency in the Bahamas is a status issued to an individual for the duration of his/her life, and gives the individual the right to reside permanently in The Bahamas and travel freely to and from The Bahamas. This status does not confer citizenship or the right to be gainfully employed in The Bahamas and it may be revoked in rare instances pursuant to one of the very serious grounds set forth in Section 18 of the Immigration Act.

Financially independent non-Bahamian nationals are eligible to apply for Economic Permanent Residency upon a purchase of a residence in The Bahamas valued in excess of a certain amount. Currently (February 2017), the minimum purchase price is B$500,000.00. Accelerated consideration is given if the subject property is valued in excess of B$1,500,000.00.

In October 2016, it was informally announced by the Government that the minimum threshold was going to be increased to B$1,000,000.00, however no formal policy has been published and no timeframe for implementation has been provided to date. The expectation is that purchasers under contract prior to the implementation of the new policy will be grandfathered in. These criteria are not the subject of legislation but rather a matter of policy of the Government and the Department of Immigration.

The application for permanent residence is comprised of a Government form which must be notarized by a Justice of the Peace or a Notary Public and submitted to the Department of Immigration together with the following supporting documents:

  • A copy of the bio-data page of the applicant’s passport
  • Two passport-sized identical colour photographs of the applicant, with the applicant’s name printed on the reverse side (photographs must not be more than six months old)
  • An original police certificate (issued not more than six months prior to the submission of the application) together with a complete set of fingerprints. The fingerprints can be obtained in Nassau if need be. The police certificate and fingerprints are also required from spouses.
  • Certified copy of birth certificate
  • An original medical certificate dated not more than thirty days prior to the submission of the application
  • Two original character references, written by persons known to the applicant for at least five years
  • Certified copy of marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • Certified copy of spouse’s birth certificate (if applicable)
  • Certified copy of child’s birth certificate (if applicable)
  • Financial statements from applicant’s financial institution citing a figure range, and verifying economic worth

An authenticated English translation must be provided for all non-English documents.

For purchases in excess of B$1,500,000.00, the Department undertakes to provide a response within several weeks but this is not guaranteed. Approval is at the discretion of the Department of Immigration. In circumstances where the application does not fall within the category for accelerated consideration we recommend that a contemporaneous application is made for Annual Residency.

As part of the application process the Immigration Department will invite the applicant and spouse to attend the Immigration Department for an interview.

If the application is approved, the spouse of the primary applicant and children under the age of 18 can be endorsed on the Certificate.

There is a non-refundable processing fee of B$100.00 per application (primary applicant and eligible endorsees). Upon approval the Government one-time only fee for the permanent residency certificate is B$10,000.00 plus $25 for each endorsee. The legal fee for attendances to an application for permanent residency is $5,000.00 plus $250 for each endorsee plus disbursements.

ANNUAL RESIDENCE PERMIT


Another option for residency status in the Bahamas is an annual residence permit which is issued to successful non-Bahamian applicants who wish to reside in the Bahamas for any purpose other than employment. This permit to reside is an annual permit which is typically issued for one to three years in duration but may be issued for up to five years in certain circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Immigration. There is no requirement to purchase or lease a home but it is generally understood that this will facilitate the application.

The application is comprised of a Government form which must be notarized by a Justice of the Peace or a Notary Public and submitted to the Department of Immigration together with the following supporting documents:

  • A copy of the bio-data page of the applicant’s passport
  • Two passport-sized identical colour photographs of the applicant, with the applicant’s name printed on the reverse side (photographs must not be more than 6 months old)
  • A police certificate (or certificates if applicable) covering 5 years’ previous residence (issued not more than six months prior to the submission of the application)
  • A medical certificate dated not more than 30 days prior to the submission of the application
  • Two written character references
  • Marriage certificate (married persons)
  • Spouse’s death certificate (widowed persons)
  • Divorce decree (divorcees)
  • Financial statements from the applicant’s financial institution showing proof of financial support, indicating a figure range
  • $10.00 Bahamian Stamp affixed to application

For the annual residency permits there is a non-refundable processing fee of B$100.00. Upon approval the Government fee for the permit is B$1,000.00 and $25 for each dependent. The legal fee for attendances to an application for annual residency is $2,500.00 plus disbursements.

OFFICES & AFFILIATIONS

NASSAU OFFICE

St. Andrew's Court Frederick Street Steps
P.O. Box N-4805
Nassau, Bahamas
info@bahamaslaw.com
T: (242) 322-1126/323-5600
F: (242) 325-0768/328-8395

ABACO OFFICE

Stratton Drive
Marsh Harbour
P.O. Box AB-20115
Great Abaco, Bahamas
abaco@bahamaslaw.com
T: (242) 367-2010/367-2024
F: (242) 367-2394

LEX MANAGEMENT LTD.

Corner Frederick &
Shirley Streets
P.O. Box N-4805
Nassau, Bahamas
lex@bahamaslaw.com
T: (242) 325-4333/322-1126
F: (242) 325-4345/325-0768

PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS