Bahamas Citizenship Guide: By Marriage, Investment, Dual Citizenship & More

Timothy Smith

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. 

Ready for your luxury home in the Bahamas? Contact us at MCR Bahamas, we can help!

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

bahamas citizenship by marriage

To become a Bahamian citizen through marriage, you must first become a permanent resident. Foreign nationals married to Bahamian citizens may qualify for a Resident Spouse Permit. 

This permit grants the right to legally reside and work in The Bahamas, provided the applicants are cohabiting with their Bahamian spouse and have been married for less than five years at the time of application. 

If you’ve exceeded 5 years of marriage, you are eligible to apply for citizenship.

Bahamas Citizenship Requirements

As mentioned, anyone applying for citizenship through marriage must have been married for at least 5 years and must be living with their spouse as husband and wife.

Applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Complete First Schedule Form 1.
  • Submit a letter signed by the Bahamian spouse, addressed to the Director of Immigration, stating the spouse’s name and duration of the marriage.
  • Pay the processing fee of BS$100.00.
  • Prepare to pay an additional BS$ 250.00 fee once the application receives approval.
  • Provide all requested attachments and documentation to supplement the application.


Bahamas Citizenship by Investment

bahamas citizenship by investment

If you’re a foreign national looking to become a Bahamian citizen, one exciting pathway is through property investment. 

The Bahamas does not offer “citizenship by investment” programs but it does provide the possibility of gaining permanent residence in the country to investors and financially independent individuals who’d like to invest in Bahamas real estate

Remember that permanent residency is not the same as citizenship, and does not grant all the same rights as citizenship. However, permanent residents can live indefinitely within the country and participate in business activities without requiring a work permit.

Investors who purchase property to the value of $750,000 or above, whether it’s a plot of land or a home in a luxury community, enjoy expedited consideration for residency. After 10 years of being a permanent resident, you are eligible to apply for citizenship.

Bahamas Citizenship Requirements

To apply for Bahamian citizenship as a resident, an individual must fulfill the following criteria:

  • The applicant must hold legal permanent residence in The Bahamas with a tenure of 10 years, including the 12 months immediately before the application date, and a residence history in The Bahamas of at least 6 years before the preceding 12 months.
  • Applicants submit application form 6, which is the Application for a Certificate of Naturalisation. Fill out the form, have it notarized, and attach a $10.00 Bahamian postage stamp to it.
  • Pay a non-refundable processing fee of $200.00. Use cash, credit/debit card, postal/money orders, or a bank-certified cheque to make this payment.
  • Address a formal letter of request to the Director of Immigration.
  • Provide all requested attachments and documentation to supplement the application.

All potential applicants should be aware that the aforementioned information is subject to change, and as such, they should always refer to the most recent Bahamian immigration policies.


Bahamas Citizenship by Permanent Residence

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

The following circumstances allow for automatic Bahamian citizenship:

  • Being born in The Bahamas to married parents, with either parent being a Bahamian citizen.
  • Being born to an unmarried Bahamian female in or outside The Bahamas.
  • Being born outside The Bahamas to a married Bahamian male not born outside The Bahamas.
  • Being adopted by a married Bahamian male or a single Bahamian female.

But what if you don’t fit these criteria? Perhaps you were born here to non-Bahamian parents, and you grew up and attended school in The Bahamas. Don’t worry, you may still qualify to apply for citizenship.

Bahamas Citizenship Requirements

To apply for Bahamian citizenship by birth, you must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Born to Non-Bahamian parents in The Bahamas after July 9, 1973.
  • Have at least one Bahamian parent (biological or adopted, naturalized or otherwise).
  • Be a child born to non-Bahamian parents in The Bahamas.

Applicants submit Application Forms 2, 3, 4, or 6 depending on their circumstances. Each form requires supplementary information, attachments, and fees similar to those outlined above. Please see complete details on The Bahamas Department of Immigration website.


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 Requirements

To apply for citizenship by descent, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be the child of at least one Bahamian parent.
  • Complete and submit application form 2 if you were born in The Bahamas, or application form 4 if born elsewhere.
  • Pay the non-refundable processing fee of $200.00.
  • Provide all requested attachments and documentation to supplement the application.


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 birth or naturalization

Bahamas Citizenship Requirements

To apply for citizenship by naturalization, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Hold legal permanent residence in The Bahamas for the past 10 years, including the 12 months immediately before the application date
  • Complete and submit application form 6, Application for a Certificate of Naturalisation
  • Pay a non-refundable processing fee of $200.00. 
  • Write and attach a letter of request to the Director of Immigration.
  • Provide all requested attachments and documentation to supplement the application.

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. 

Bahamas Citizenship Requirements

Individuals adopted by Bahamian parents are automatic citizens, so no further applications or requirements are necessary. 


Can You Have 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


bahamas citizenship benefits

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


How to Lose Bahamian Citizenship

A Bahamian can lose their citizenship under certain circumstances, as outlined in The Bahamas Nationality Act. While it can be a complex process, all methods by which citizenship becomes invalid fall into two categories: voluntary renunciation, or involuntary revocation.


1. Voluntarily

A Bahamian citizen may choose to renounce their status to gain citizenship elsewhere or for other reasons. To do so, they submit a declaration of renunciation of citizenship of The Bahamas.

The Bahamian minister responsible for nationality and citizenship registers your declaration. Once accomplished, they cease to be a citizen of The Bahamas.

There is an exception, though.

If the declaration is made during war, the Minister may use his discretion to withhold the registration if you intend to become a national of a country not part of the Commonwealth.


2. Involuntarily

There are a few situations that lead to the revocation of Bahamian citizenship.

  • Fraudulent Application: If a person obtains their citizenship by providing fraudulent information, through false representation, or by concealing material fact, that citizenship faces revocation. The same applies if a competent court found you guilty of treason in any Commonwealth country. 
  • Serious criminal activity: If, within 5 years of naturalization, a person is convicted in any country of a criminal offense and receives a sentence longer than a year, may have their citizenship revoked. If that person receives a pardon, they may be able to retain their citizenship. 
  • Disloyalty: This typically refers to treasonous acts or activities that jeopardize the safety and sovereignty of The Bahamas. Any person who is disloyal to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas may risk losing their citizenship.


More About Bahamas Citizenship

bahamas beach

Is it hard to get a Bahamas citizenship? 

If you already meet the requirements and qualifications, The Bahamas citizenship process is relatively straightforward. However, it could take a while, so it’s highly recommended that you take action as soon as you can.


Can an American become a citizen of The Bahamas? 

Yes, Americans can become a citizen of The Bahamas if they meet the requirements–and renounce their American citizenship. Dual citizenship is not allowed in The Bahamas. 

Don’t worry if you don’t qualify for Bahamian citizenship through birth, adoption, or marriage. As outlined above, Americans can become citizens of The Bahamas through permanent residence.  

If you aren’t a permanent resident through land ownership, you can become one by working in The Bahamas for a set amount of time in certain professions. These include:

  • Persons who have held legal work permit status for more than twenty (20) consecutive years.
  • Ministers of Religion / Priests after having been employed for a minimum of 20 years.
  • Doctors / Medical professionals after having been employed for a minimum of 20 years.
  • Teachers employed in the Government Service or by charitable or religious institutions for a minimum of 10 years.
  • Nurses employed in the Government Service or with private hospitals and healthcare facilities for a minimum of 10 years.
  • Police and Prison Officers employed in the Government Service for a minimum of 10 years.

However, in all these cases, Americans must give up their American citizenship, since Bahamas dual citizenship is not allowed. 


Bahamas Citizenship Interview Questions

To become a citizen, you must undergo an interview conducted by Bahamian authorities. 

It’s important to be prepared for a broad range of questions. These may vary greatly depending on the specifics of your application and the citizenship officer conducting the interview.

Generally, questions in a citizenship interview might include the following:

  • Basic Personal Information: This could involve questions about your name, date of birth, current address, and so on.
  • Family Background: Questions about your immediate family members, their names, vocations, and where they live.
  • History in The Bahamas: They might ask about when and why you moved to The Bahamas, where in The Bahamas you’ve lived, and other related questions.
  • Employment and Education: They may ask about your current and past jobs, your educational background, and your future career plans.
  • Knowledge About The Bahamas: Expect questions about the country’s history, culture, politics, and geography. They want to ensure you have made an effort to understand and appreciate your potential new home.
  • Language Proficiency: They could ask questions to assess how well you can communicate in English, including both spoken and written forms.
  • Criminal History: They may ask you questions about any potential criminal history to assess your character and suitability for citizenship.

Remember, honesty is the best policy in these interviews. The objective of the interview process is not only to assess your eligibility but also your character and sincerity.


Bahamas Citizenship Applications

There are five citizenship application forms, so it’s important to find the right one for your situation. Your choices are:

  • Application 1: For a female spouse of a Bahamian citizen.
  • Application 2: For people born in The Bahamas to foreign parents or those born to a Bahamian mother and a foreign father outside of The Bahamas.
  • Application 3: For those who are 19 years old or older and were born in The Bahamas to foreign parents. Also applies to Commonwealth citizens and male spouses of Bahamians.
  • Application 4: For minors born outside The Bahamas to a Bahamian mother and a foreign father.
  • Application 6: For people born in The Bahamas to foreign parents from non-Commonwealth countries who missed the deadline to apply for citizenship. Or Foreign Nationals applying for citizenship.

Regardless of what application you use, you’re required to submit the following:

  • $200 processing fee.
  • Letter of request that’s addressed to the Director of Immigration.
  • Duly completed citizenship application form with a $10.00 Bahamian postage stamp affixed thereon (legible and notarized).
  • Applicant’s original medical certificate (should be dated no earlier than 30 days before application).
  • If the applicant is older than 14, an original police certificate (issued not earlier than six months that covers five years of residency).
  • Two passport photos (2” x 2”) of the applicant on a white background with the name printed on the back (taken within six months of the application date).
  • Applicant’s original birth certificate with the Consulate’s verification and the Ministry of Affairs’ signature authentication.

The full list of requirements—including specific ones for each application type—is available on The Bahamas Department of Immigration site.


Embrace Your Bahamas Citizenship with Luxury Bahamas Real Estate

The journey towards acquiring Bahamian citizenship is more than just a transition in national status; it’s about fully embracing the outstanding lifestyle, culture, and possibilities afforded by this spectacular nation. 

At MCR Bahamas, we specialize in connecting our clients to their dream properties in one of the world’s most stunning and inviting settings. Whether you seek a tranquil beachfront property, an opulent condo with harbor views, or a comfortable home nestled in a vibrant community, our extensive real estate portfolio guarantees that we can find a match for your vision.

Contact MCR Bahamas today and let us help you transform your dreams into your everyday reality. Your journey to luxury Bahamas real estate starts here.

Get in Contact with MCR Bahamas 

Bahamas Citizenship Guide: By Marriage, Investment, Dual Citizenship & More

2 thoughts on “Bahamas Citizenship Guide: By Marriage, Investment, Dual Citizenship & More

  1. Can get Bahamas as second passport by donation like donation policy of Dominica and antigue.

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