Are you dreaming of becoming a Bahamian citizen? Perhaps you’re planning for Bahamas citizenship through an investment property, or are automatically looking to naturalize after years of residency. You might even consider Bahamas citizenship by marriage.
Bahamas citizenship requirements are extensive, but there’s a reason why so many immigrants from the United States, Canada, and worldwide come to The Bahamas every year.
Maybe it’s the sunshine; the crystal clear waters at the best beaches; the warm, vibrant culture; the buzzing real estate opportunities, or of course, the immense tax benefits. Whatever your motive, you can pursue citizenship on this gorgeous stretch of 700 Caribbean islands through a few avenues.
How Can You Acquire Bahamian Citizenship?
First thing’s first: how do you go from tourist or expat to citizen in The Bahamas? International visitors won’t score citizenship overnight–it could take multiple years in some cases.
But, you can pursue Bahamian citizenship through many paths, from investment to residency to marriage to naturalization–and more. Let’s dive into Bahamas citizenship requirements for each one.
Bahamas Citizenship by Marriage
The Bahamian government’s immigration website specifies one marriage path toward citizenship. If you’re a female spouse married to a Bahamian citizen, you can apply directly for citizenship using Application Form I on this page. The Bahamian government will automatically grant you citizenship if you meet all the requirements.
Bahamas citizenship document requirements through the female spouse avenue include:
- Marriage certificate
- Birth certificate
- Letter of Request to Director of Immigration
- Medical certificate
- Employment letter
- Passport copies and photos
The citizenship page only specifies a direct application or citizenship through marriage if you’re a woman marrying a Bahamian citizen. What about an international man marrying a Bahamian citizen?
The Bahamas government website adds a note on this webpage describing this circumstance:
“Please note that whilst a male spouse of a Bahamian citizen may not be eligible for natural citizenship, he would be eligible for naturalized citizenship.”
Bottom line? International male spouses can still become Bahamas citizens. However, male spouses can’t obtain citizenship as quickly as female spouses. Their route (naturalization) takes many years and only comes after permanent residency. At the minimum, the male spouse must be married and living in The Bahamas for at least five years as a permanent resident.
Bahamas Citizenship by Investment
How else can you score Bahamian citizenship? You might consider exploring the investment route if you have the capital.
Here’s what you need to do to obtain permanent residency through investment, also known as economic policy residency. If you’re a “financially independent individual” or “investor” that owns a Bahamian residence, you can apply for permanent residency in The Bahamas. Note, prospective residents that purchase a home worth 750,000 Bahamian dollars or more will receive expedited consideration for permanent residency.
Once approved for permanent residency, you can enjoy living in The Bahamas for quite some time. However, you won’t be able to apply for citizenship until you’ve resided for at least ten years in the country, unless you make that $750,000 investment.
If that’s the route you’re taking, reach out to the team at Better Home and Gardens MCR Bahamas today to get this process started.
Bahamas Citizenship by Permanent Residence
Permanent residents of The Bahamas can apply for citizenship after residing there for at least ten years. You might apply for permanent residency as an investor, as discussed above. Or maybe you’ll purchase Bahamian luxury real estate–a fabulous home in Nassau or Eleuthera, perhaps!
But you have a few other routes to permanent residency, including:
- Profession: Police officers, nurses, doctors, medical professionals, teachers, priests, and ministers employed between 10-20 years
- Work Permit: Anyone who has held a work permit for at least 20 years in The Bahamas
- Marriage: Spouse of a Bahamian after residing there for five years
- Birth: Anyone born outside of The Bahamas to a Bahamian, married woman (if her husband isn’t Bahamian). Note: these requirements feel specific because there are circumstances where the child cannot automatically become a citizen. We will cover birth citizenship in greater detail below.
Remember, permanent residence doesn’t equal citizenship right away. After becoming a permanent resident through any of the above avenues, you’ll have to reside in The Bahamas for ten years before being eligible for citizenship.
Bahamas Citizenship by Birth
If you’re lucky enough to be born in The Bahamas or to a Bahamian, citizenship will be a breeze! Keep in mind that the Bahamian government has specific citizenship requirements by birth regarding marriage and parents’ birthplace.
Citizenship is granted automatically to people who meet these birth circumstances:
- Born to at least one married Bahamian parent (in The Bahamas)
- Born to an unmarried Bahamian female (in or out of The Bahamas)
- Born outside of The Bahamas to a married Bahamian male who was born in The Bahamas
Bahamas Citizenship by Descent
Some countries recognize rights to citizenship if you have parents or grandparents that are citizens of a specific country. However, The Bahamas has specific requirements for citizenship by descent.
For example, if you have only a Bahamian grandmother, you can’t obtain citizenship automatically unless you meet one of the requirements noted in Bahamian citizenship requirements for birth.
Bahamas Citizenship by Naturalization
Permanent residents become Bahamian citizens after 6-9 years. They must also live in The Bahamas for 12 consecutive months before applying for citizenship. Sources describe the most successful naturalization cases are for those who intend to stay permanently, connect with Bahamian customs, and know the language.
Bahamas Citizenship by Adoption
The Bahamas automatically recognizes international people as citizens if Bahamian parents adopt them. Expressly, anyone adopted by a married Bahamian male or single Bahamian female is automatically granted Bahamian citizenship after application.
Do note that anyone adopted by single Bahamian males aren’t eligible for automatic citizenship, but they could obtain permanent residence through other means.
Dual Citizenship in The Bahamas
The Bahamas doesn’t recognize dual citizenship. If you wish to remain a citizen of your home country (United States, Canada, or anywhere else), you should consider only pursuing a Bahamian residency. You can still live permanently in The Bahamas while still retaining your home country’s citizenship benefits.
Who can get dual citizenship in The Bahamas?
Only one set of circumstances can allow you dual citizenship in The Bahamas—and even then, you won’t be able to retain both citizenships for long.
If you obtained Bahamian citizenship by birth while a citizen of another country, you may temporarily have dual citizenship until you are 21. Then, you have one year to do one of the following:
- Renounce your non-Bahamian citizenship
- Wait until the Bahamian government revokes your Bahamian citizenship
Benefits of Bahamian Citizenship
There are many benefits to Bahamian citizenship. For starters, citizens have absolutely zero obligations for income tax, capital gains tax, wealth tax, and inheritance tax. But note that permanent residents don’t have to pay those taxes either, so permanent residency (vs. citizenship) is also a good option if those are your goals.
What are the different benefits for Bahamian citizens and permanent residents moving to The Bahamas?
Benefits for Both Permanent Residents & Bahamian Citizens
- There are no income, wealth, inheritance, or capital gains taxes.
- Investment opportunities via real estate, as well as technology, hospitality, agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism industries
- Some of the best private and international schools in the world
- Incredible culture, natural beauty, and unique experiences
Benefits solely for Bahamian Citizens
- Easy travel to 141 countries either with no visa or visa on arrival
- Travel access to the USA and China without the need for a visa
- Reputable passport
- Unlimited time to work and live in The Bahamas without renewing visas or residency
- Citizenship in a Commonwealth country
- Healthcare and educational benefits
Conclusion: Best Way to Become a Citizen of The Bahamas
Citizenship in The Bahamas offers excellent benefits. It’s a perfect way to dive deeper into Bahamian lifestyle and culture and to feel a sense of belonging to an incredible country. While there are many ways to get a Bahamian citizenship, there is no “best” way–it depends on personal circumstances and the opportunities you have.
Of course, Bahamian citizenship requirements are robust, so it can take years to naturalize into a Bahamian citizen from permanent residency. If you’re just looking for permanent residency benefits, that could be a better option for you.
But whether you’re a corporate company looking for your next real estate investment, a retired family seeking an unparalleled Bahamian lifestyle, or anything in between—MCR Bahamas is ready to help you achieve your Bahamas real estate dreams.