Bahamas: Guide To Residency In The Bahamas

Last Updated: 16 October 2012
Article by Higgs & Johnson Counsel & Attorneys at Law

We regularly help clients who wish to obtain residency in The Bahamas either by means of an Annual Residence Permit, a Permanent Residence Permit, and a Home Owner's Card. The Annual Residence Permit allows non-Bahamians wishing to reside in The Bahamas to do so on an annual basis while the Permanent Residence Permit allows non-Bahamians to reside permanently in The Bahamas. A Home Owner's Card, issued on an annual basis entitles the owner of a home in The Bahamas, his or her spouse and any minor endorsed on the owner's card, to enter The Bahamas and reside here. It should be noted that residency does not confer citizenship or entitle an applicant to a Bahamian passport. Citizenship entails a more rigorous process and a fairly lengthy residence in the country.

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

Generally applicants must be of good character and at least eighteen (18) years of age. However it should be noted that the success of any application is subject to the discretion of the Board of Immigration (the "Board") and in the case of Home Owner's Cards, the Director of Immigration.


This permit is for non-Bahamians wishing to reside in The Bahamas on an annual basis. The Bahamas Government is responsive to applicants for annual residence, and although it is not a requirement for the applicant to indicate a commitment to the leasing or purchase of a "second home", it is our feeling that such a position is helpful to a successful outcome. The Government Fee for this permit is one thousand Bahamian Dollars (B$1,000. for the head of the household and twenty-five Bahamian Dollars (B$25) for each dependent. Higgs & Johnson's fee for the initial application is two thousand five-hundred Bahamian dollars (B$2,500) (minimum) subject to increase in complex or lengthy cases and payment on account of one thousand five hundred Bahamian Dollars ($1,500) should be made upon our being instructed. The following documents are required:

  • Immigration Form 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 residence;
  • Medical certificate dated not earlier than thirty (30) days before this application;
  • Two (2) 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 of one hundred Bahamian dollars (B$100)

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.


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

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and of good character and must state in the application that he or she intends to reside permanently in The Bahamas.

Permanent Residence has become very popular and accelerated consideration of application is given to major international investors and owners of residences valued at five hundred thousand Bahamian dollars (B$500,000) or more. Should the investment in The Bahamas or residence be valued at one million, five hundred thousand Bahamian dollars (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 ten thousand Bahamian dollars (B$10,000) and one hundred Bahamian dollars (B$100) for an applicant's spouse and dependent minors. Higgs & Johnson's fee for the initial application for the primary applicant is three thousand Bahamian dollars (B$3,000) (minimum) subject to increase in complex and lengthy cases and payment on account of one thousand five hundred Bahamian dollars (B$1,500) should be made upon our being instructed. Although our experience has been positive, as mentioned above, the grant of permanent residency is in the absolute discretion of the Board. In addition to paying the B$100 processing fee the following documents are required:

  • A copy of the bio-data page of the applicant's passport;
  • 2 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);
  • 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

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.

All international persons owning residences in The Bahamas are eligible to receive, upon application to the Director of Immigration, an annual "Home Owners Card". This card facilitates entry into The Bahamas and entitles the owner, his/her spouse and minor children to multiple entries to The Bahamas and the ability to remain in The Bahamas for the duration of the validity of the 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 two hundred and fifty Bahamian dollars (B$250) per annum. Higgs & Johnson's fees for the initial application is one thousand Bahamian dollars (B$1,000) minimum subject to increase in complex or lengthy cases and payment on account of five hundred Bahamian dollars (B$500) should be made upon our being instructed. 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. The following documents are required:

  • 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)

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.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions