Immigration to bahamas

Living and Working in Bahamas

Sea waves in Great Exuma of the BahamasThe Commonwealth of the Bahamas, commonly known as the Bahamas, is a country made up of several small islands located in the Lucayan Archipelago of the West Indies in the Atlantic Ocean. Bahamas is an independent country, which is also part of the United Nations and the American States Organizations and the Caribbean community. Bahamas is popular for its pristine white sand and dark blue and turquoise waters. According to the astronauts, this place is visible from space and is one of the beautiful countries. The Bahamas is one of the richest countries and a stable, developing nation. It is surrounded by the United States of America in the North, Gulf of Mexico in the west, Cuba in the south and vast North Atlantic Ocean in the west. Nassau is the capital city and is known for cruise-ship stop, hilly landscapes, beaches, offshore coral reefs, snorkeling and diving. Nassau also has pastel colored British colonial buildings. Florida is just fifty miles away from this country and can be reached by the modest sized boat. Cruising sailboats, trawlers and big yachts can be seen cruising in the Bahamas.

There are numerous reasons one may want to migrate to the Bahamas. Higher income, abundant work opportunities, weather, amazing fast food, quality education, English is spoken everywhere, multicultural environment, approachable countries nearby, friendly environment, tax benefits, etc,. Also if you marry a Bahamian resident, you can get a permanent residence of the Bahamas, unlike many other countries. It is allowed to purchase a property in Bahamas for foreigners and this is another option to get the permanent residence. Bahamian government is considerate and makes sure to give employment to its citizens first but if you have skills and ready to hustle, then surely you will get work. This country offers better lifestyle and an excellent environment for vacationing, living and working, that is why it is a tourist attraction and has visitors all year round, which generates plenty of jobs, mostly in tourism and hospitality industries. While fake politeness is spread all over the world, Bahamians are sincere. These are some reasons why Bahamas is a good choice to live.

Traveling information 

Flag of Bahamas - Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay
Flag of Bahamas

If you are planning to travel to The Bahamas, regardless of your vaccination status, you are no longer required to show the pre travel covid-19 testing reports to enter this country. Bahamas is conveniently accessible by flight and sea route, as this nation allows the arrival of commercial and charter flights, private planes, yachts, cruises, ferries, etc. Bahamas Air is the national airline operating domestic flights and Bahamas Ferries have fast air conditioned ferries operated on a regular basis. Nassau and Free Port are the popular ports, from these ports you can reach on various island in the Bahamas. While traveling a valid passport and visa is must. Persons traveling to the Bahamas on a cruise may use another Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) compliant document.

Majority of tourists can be seen in Nassau in the New Province Island and the Paradise Island. Another popular place is Grand Bahamas. As a result the public transportation are well developed in these places with various options like minibuses or Jitney, taxi, rental cars, scooters, carriages, and bicycles, etc. Rest of the islands either has less transport system or not at all. Renting a boat to roam around the islands is not quite affordable. Rather, you may try at a marina to hitch a sharing ride. 

For more information on how to travel to the Bahamas,  please visit: immigration.gov.bs

How to immigrate to Bahamas

To move to The Bahamas permanently is possible after obtaining a Visa. Entry and visa requirements are not same for all the countries and depend on your nationality and citizenship. In case where an individual’s, birth and residence countries are different (except U.S. or Canada), then the required documents are based on his birth country. 

Prior to starting your journey you will need to keep the process in mind. You need to meet certain requirements if you want to move permanently or temporarily to the Bahamas, like your application must be approved by the Bahamian Government and paying Government’s fees is mandatory. The process can be complicated and expensive, so what lies ahead is important to keep in mind. There are different types of visas available depending on the purpose of your travel to the Bahamas. Minor children also need documentation while solo traveling or traveling with the single parent. A notarized letter of permit from the parent not travelling may be requested, in case only one parent is traveling with the child. If the child is traveling alone then a notarized letter from the minor’s guardians is must.   

For more information on the Bahamas visas, click on the Government of the Bahamas, Immigration official website: immigration.gov.bs

People

The people of the Bahamas are called ‘Bahamians’. It also consists of many dual citizens, expatriates and permanent residents. Bahamas is  home to many ethnic groups. Culture of the Bahamas is distinct and a mixture of African, European and other cultures, which has evolved with generations.  Africans, Americans, Asian, Britishers and the natives of Alaska, etc. live happily and peacefully with each other in the Bahamas.

Bahamians are very friendly and they are happy to help when asked. They are easy going, hospitable and can go out of the way to make foreigners feel at home. They commonly greet each other by shaking hands. It is common in the Bahamas to give hugs to a person who is very friendly with them. They respect each other’s privacy and take appointments before meeting. Bahamians enjoy music a lot including modern music. 

Job offers in Bahamas

To work in the Bahamas for less than three months you must apply for the short term work permit and for more than three months, you have to get a valid work permit issued by the Department of Immigration. Bahamas has plenty of job opportunities for the candidates who have marked excellence and deserve. Requirements for work permit application are to submit a non refundable processing fee by cash or card, etc. Letters of request to the Director of Immigration is must, also submits the Form 1 application, complete and signed. Original medical certificate, not earlier than thirty days before submission of the application. Police certificate is must, which should not issue earlier than 30 days before submission of the application. Two passports sized recent photographs, etc.

Jobs in the Bahamas are not just for graduates, but also for appearing students. Part time work is also available for the students who want to earn while studying. Jobs highly in demand are Tourism and hospitality sector, International banking sector, HR Manager, Electrical Engineer, Product Manager, Software developer, Manager, Engineers, IT professionals, Drivers, Fitness Trainer, etc. There are different online websites which helps to find and apply for a suitable job like indeed, linkedin, Caribbeanjobsonline, etc.

How to get a job offer: 

  • Take your time and be aware of scams.
  • Verify eligibility then apply for a job.
  • Give interview Online.
  • File a petition if necessary.
  • Wait for the employer’s petition approval.
  • Apply for a temporary visa.
  • Interview with the Bahamas embassy.

For more information please visit: immigration.gov.bs

Unemployment rate

The unemployment rate in the Bahamas in the year 2021 was 13.24%, declined by 0.08% from year 2020 which was 13.32%. According to a report, it is expected that the rate will decline more in the year 2022 and the might reach at 11.01% till the end. Moreover, about the long term the jobless rate in Bahamas is predicted to go down further till 9.50% in the year 2023. Before covid-19 started, the jobless rate was 10.40% in 2018, due to the Hurricane Dorian and after the pandemic it increased by 3.10% and became 13.50% in 2019. During this time there was a halt in the economic sectors including tourism and construction, resulting a rise in the jobless claims. The unemployment rate is measured by the share of labor force that is without work and seeking for employment. 

For more information please visit: macrotrends.net

Economy of Bahamas

The Bahamian economy is majorly depended on the tourism sector, which contributes approximately fifty percent of the total GDP. Financial service sector is the second largest sector comprising from fifteen to twenty percent of the GDP. Other small scale industries are agriculture, trade, manufacturing and fishing. Bahamas is the richest country in the West Indies and is on fourteenth place in North America for nominal GDP. This is a stable and developing nation in the Lucayan Archipalego. There is a steady growth in tourism industry; as a result there is a rise in construction of new hotels, residences and resorts, which makes a solid GDP. Bahamas is the exporter of goods like mineral products and salt, animal products, rum, chemicals, fruit and vegetables. The Bahamas imports machinery and transport equipments, manufactures, chemicals, mineral fuels, food and live animals. Import partners of this nation are United States, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, China, Venezuela and Canada. 

For more information please visit: wikipedia.org

Renting and buying of real estates for foreigners

Renting:

Apartment for rent is easily available with some minimal restrictions in the whole country. Furnished apartments are available almost everywhere in the Bahamas however the owner will not allow you to make any changes regarding the furniture. Numerous accommodation options are available so that you can choose according to your lifestyle. Apartments can be searched online on different websites. These websites allow you to contact the landlord directly, give a virtual tour of the apartment and there you can submit an offer too. If you are looking to rent, you just ask around as many people knows people with homes for rent to expats as well as you will get a good deal which you may lose after consulting the real estate agent. Some points are given below which will help you to rent a good property: 

  • Ask your friends, colleagues, in the small café, etc.
  • Explore options online.
  • Set your budget first.
  • Take a look at the neighborhood.
  • Consider the parking options.
  • Read the lease carefully.

Buying:

Buying a property in the Bahamas is possible for expats, as there are no restrictions on that. However it can be a bit tricky process. Big properties are expensive in the capital city.  In the eastern part of Bahamas the crime rate is high,  therefore expats choose western part to live.  Properties are costly in Sandy port, Old Fort Bay, Lyford and Freeport but here you will get security guards, boat docks, canals, property maintenance, etc. If the foreigners  qualify than they can  apply for mortgage.  To buy a property the following documents are needed: 

  • Valid foreign Passport.
  • Driver’s License.
  • Bank Statements.
  • Financial records from your overseas Bank.
  • Proof of reserves.
  • Pay stubs.
  • Credit Score.
  • Tax return, etc.

For more information please visit: expatexchange.com

Climate

The average weather of the Bahamas is mild all year round with approx 22°C temperate with some exceptions. As a result there is no difficult time to visit Bahamas because the weather is consistent. There are variation in rainfall and daily temperatures depending on the seasons. Rain showers can be seen all year round in Bahamas.  Its mild and warm during winters while summers are wet and hot. 

Spring: Spring season starts from March and lasts till May.
Summer: Summer is from June till July. 
Autumn: Autumn is known as hurricane season and starts from August till November. 
Winter: Winter starts from mid-December till mid -April.  It is also known as the dry seasons as there is very less rain during this period.

For more information on the climate of Bahamas,  please visit: tripsavvy.com

Languages

The official and the most commonly used language in the Bahamas is English, specifically Bahamian English or spoken with Bahamian dialect, which gave birth to, many unique slang words and phrases. This is a gift of British English people with rich linguistic influences, based in the African languages of the slave business. English has been evolved over the years by diverse settlers and British colonialism. Bahamian Creole and Haitian Creole are also spoken in this country. Majorly used by the Haitian immigrants. English is spoken by 90% of the United States population. There are other languages which are spoken at home other than English, like French based Creole.

Majority of speakers of these languages are bilingual and also can speak English. Other languages like French and sign language is used in the Bahamas. If you meet someone, just say Hello with a smile and the most common way of greeting is the handshake, with direct eye contact and a smile on face. 

For more information please visit: commisceo-global.com

Traffic

Driving in Bahamas is on the left side of the road just like the United States. Traffic congestion in the capital city is tiring. Always be attentive while driving on the road as cars pulling out in front of you from side streets is common. Most of the cars have come from the U.S. and that is why you drive on the left and the car will be left hand drive car. Seat belts are mandatory for both the passenger and the driver. To drive in the Bahamas,  valid driver’s license and an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) is a must. This is a valid form of identification that is valid anywhere around the Bahamas. With an IDP you can rent a car, book a hotel, joining activities that require ID proof. This is highly beneficial for non-English speakers. Driving on the streets in Nassau and family island settlements, or in any urban area, you have to maintain a speed of 40 kmph (25 mph) or below. Driving on the rural areas roads speed should not exceed than 50-70 kmph (30-45 mph). Roads are wider, less occupied and very simple than some other country’s road networks. But there are some exemptions like Nassau city. 

For more information visit: internationaldriversassociation.com  

Currency

Bahamian Dollar ($, B$, BSD) is the official currency of the Bahamas. The dollar has been the currency of this country since the year 1966. This currency is abbreviated with the dollar sign to show the difference from other dollar nominated currencies. It is divided into 100 cents. Bahamian dollar paper currency is in eight denominations, which are $1/2, $1, $3, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 and coins as cents in 5¢, 10¢, 15¢, 25¢. Coins of 50¢ and $1, $2 are rarely used but are legal and in circulation nowadays. The bills and coins are minted by the Central Bank of The Bahamas. The Bahamian dollar is tied to the United States of America’s currency, the dollar, with the fixed exchange rate, hence the Bahamian dollar always has the same value as the US dollar (B$ 1 = $1). There is no need to exchange money if you are travelling from the United States but if coming from another country it will be good to exchange money before arrival to the Bahamas.

Payment Transaction

Payments are essential as the funds can be transferred from payer to payee after purchasing something. It can be made in this country through online, cash or cards, or by digital wallet, especially in big cities like Nassau. You can use these payment options in major stores, restaurants, hotels and hospitals. Cash is the original and the oldest payment method, used by more than 90% population, so you’ll need some dollars on hand. Skrill and Rapyd are the most used online payment methods, these days used by the locals and foreigners. Cards can be used and accepted in this country. Visa is the most common and widely accepted card; however MasterCard and American Express are less popular. And so it is suggested to take along a Visa card with you while traveling. Bank transfers are also used by most of the expats as well as locals. This nation has one of the fastest growing mobile driven e-commerce markets in the American continent. Non cash payment methods currently used in this country are cheques, debit cards, credit cards, etc. Apparently, it’s anytime you pay without physically handing over notes and coins. There are four main methods of payment transactions in the Bahamas: 

  • Cash: It is the most common way to pay for purchases. This includes bills and change (paper money and coins).
  • Cheque: Payment through the buyers account can be done by cheques. This is the typical payment method in this country.
  • Debit Card: Using the Debit Card means taking the money directly out of the customer’s account.
  • Credit Card: Another convenient option to pay for the purchases. Credit Cards do look like credit card but works differently. International credit cards are the most common mode of payments in The Bahamas.

For more information visit: shopify.com

Cost of living in Bahamas

Average living cost in the Bahamas depends upon your lifestyle or your current situation, like whether you are working or you are a student. According to a survey the cost of living in the Bahamas is most expensive compared to the Latin American countries and this is the third expensive country in the world. Cost of living varies from city to city and if you are single or with your family. The average monthly expense for a single person is approximately B$3,338. And the monthly expense will rise if you want to move along with your family of four persons, which will be B$6,650. Food is cheap and if you are staying in a city where you can go by bicycle, walking till your university or office or live in a city with a good public transport system, then your cost of living will be much lower.

Monthly rent will cost more in the urban areas or in the coastal areas than the cost of rent in rural areas. Expense will also rise if you need bigger accommodation, than the smaller one. Here are some products mentioned below, so that you will get a clear idea of the cost of living: 

Product

Quantity

Amount in Bahamian Dollar (B$)

Whole Fat Milk

1 lit

6.00

Eggs

12 (a dozen)

4.45

Tomatoes

1 Kg (2 lb.)

4.08

Chicken

500 grams (1 lb)

14.00

Dining (Lunch)

Full meal

25.00

Fast food meal

Combo

13.00

Bread

2 loaf

3.90

Internet

8 mbps

(1 month)

49.00

Cleaning help

Hourly

15.00

Gas in vehicle

1 lit

4.80

Doctor

Short visit

114.00

Movie Tickets

For 2

60.00

For more info visit: expatistan.com

Apartment Rent

Nassau is the most expensive place in the Bahamas to rent a residential property, followed by Freeport, Paradise Island, Grand Bahamas, and Great Exuma Island.  Cost of living in The Bahamas is approximately 24% more expensive than the U.S. and rent is approximately 16% lower than in U.S. Fully furnished one bedroom apartment in the city centre will cost you approx B$3,800 and similar apartment outside the city will cost approx B$1,300. A furnished studio apartment of 2 to 3 bedrooms in the city centre will cost you approx B$2,400 and outside the city its approx B$1,700. There are many properties on display on the web portals. Some of the popular websites that might help are:

You will find both unfurnished and furnished apartments online or with the help of a local friend.

Taxes 

Bahamas is considered as tax heaven as the residents do not to pay taxes on income, gifts, gains or inheritance. Revenues are generated from VAT and stamp duties by The Bahamian Government.  However, it is worth noting that while the government doesn’t impose any income taxes on its citizens, its raised import taxes which increased the cost of living.  The commonwealth of the Bahamas owes its tax haven status to its tax and business friendly laws for foreign investors because the Bahamians and resident alien pay no taxes on personal income, gains, gifts, etc. Taxes are levied on import duties, property tax, and various kinds of Fee. There are strong laws barring illicit financial activity such as money laundering. Bahamas is an international centre for banking activities that attracts foreign financial institutions because of its stability. The parliamentary democracy has governed the island continuously since three hundred years.  Bahamas is one of the wealthiest countries in the New World.

For more information please visit: investopedia.com

Health Insurance  

The Bahamas has a developed healthcare system. The government is making it better day by day as a result public hospitals are well equipped with advanced medical equipments and trained staff. There are many programs run by the government to promote immunization for all the adults in the country. Also Ministry of Health aims at reducing the diseases like hepatitis B, measles, yellow fever, influenza, mumps, rubella, and tetanus. Foreigners can also get protection of international health insurance for seeking global coverage anytime needed. Pregnant women, children, civil servants and senior citizens over sixty years can access the free healthcare. Also Public healthcare services are often free of cost. However, travelers and expats who want to reside in Bahamas can get a health insurance policy even if the public healthcare is free. Public healthcare does not give full coverage to the foreigners and since the medical treatment  is expensive here, it is suggested to opt for a suitable health insurance plan.  It is  advisable to carry health insurance to prevent the unexpected medical expense. 

For more information visit: expatfinancial.com

Important addresses

Leonard Thompson Airport:
GW7C+9P5, Marsh Harbour,
The Bahamas
Ph: +1 242 367 5500

Bahamas Fast Ferries Terminal:
Nassau, Bahamas
Ph: +1 242 323 2166

Paradise Island Ferry Terminal:
Paradise Beach Dr,
Bahamas

Albury’s Ferry Service Terminal:
Cemetery Road,
Bahamas

Embassy of Cuba:
3M88+X2G, Collins Ave,
Nassau,
Bahamas

Embassy of Brazil:
One Montague Place,
9 E Bay St, Nassau,
Bahamas
Ph: +1 242 356 7613

Embassy of Haiti:
Sweeting St, Nassau,
Bahamas
Ph: +1 242 326 0352

Embassy of the People’s Republic of China:
Shirley St, Nassau,
Bahamas
Ph: +1 242 393 1960

Summary

Situated in the Atlantic Ocean, The Bahamas is an archipelago of breathtaking beauty, encompassing numerous small islands celebrated for their pristine beaches, coral reefs, and vibrant flora and fauna. Boasting a stable and developed environment, it stands as one of the richest and most visited countries globally, making it a hotspot for immigrants, tourists, and foreigners alike.  With a wealth of job opportunities, particularly in the flourishing tourism and hotel industries, The Bahamas is an enticing destination for those seeking a vibrant professional life amid its scenic landscapes. The capital city, Nassau, not only serves as a cruise ship hub but also captivates with hilly terrains, exquisite beaches, and enticing offshore coral reefs, providing opportunities for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts.

Beyond its natural wonders, The Bahamas is renowned as a tax haven, drawing individuals looking to settle down and embrace a relaxed lifestyle. While crime and scams pose potential risks, many areas remain safe and enjoyable, especially with local guidance. The Bahamas offers a pleasant climate, making it a haven for those seeking a balance between work and leisure. Whether you’re an explorer at heart, considering a new life as an immigrant, or a traveler in search of paradise, The Bahamas extends a heartfelt invitation. Bahamians are recognized for their friendly and inclusive demeanor, embracing newcomers and expatriates with genuine hospitality that characterizes the islands.

Moreover, The Bahamas boasts a rich culinary scene, cultural attractions, and a robust healthcare system accessible to both locals and foreigners. Despite a relatively higher cost of living compared to South American countries, the quality lifestyle it offers makes it an appealing choice for those considering living and working in this tropical paradise. Whether you’re an adventurous soul, a potential immigrant, or a tourist seeking a slice of paradise, The Bahamas beckons with open arms. Explore its wonders and consider making it your home or workplace for a truly enriching experience.

Moving to Bahamas

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