Who wouldn’t want to live in a magical collection of islands that celebrates the natural beauty of the Caribbean? Living in The Bahamas–and even getting permanent residency there–is a distant dream for many worldwide, but it doesn’t have to be–
Here at MCR Bahamas, we help countless clients from the US, Canada, the UK, and throughout the world find their dream residential or investment property in The Bahamas. Of course, the beautiful weather, tax benefits, and laid-back lifestyle encourage many to seek permanent residency in The Bahamas (Bahamas Residence Visa). If you have dreams of relocating to The Bahamas permanently, keep reading.
Today we’ll walk through everything you need to know about Bahamas permanent residency requirements, including information about applications, character references, and how to get speedy consideration.
What is a Bahamas Residence Visa?
Though there isn’t a specific “Bahamas Residence Visa,” you can obtain permanent residency in The Bahamas through a few avenues.
Bahamas Permanent Residency and Residency Permits
Permanent Residency by Economic Investment
The most popular way to achieve residency is through investment, otherwise known as economic permanent residency. In this case, international individuals would need to invest at least $750,000 in real property (ideally completed construction) or into a business that employs Bahamians.
Investing $1,500,000 accelerates the process, but you can also apply for permanent residency if you meet any of the following criteria:
- Married to a Bahamian for 5+ years
- Held a work or residency permit for 20+ years
- Police, teachers, nurses, doctors, priests, and other medical professionals employed between 10-20 years with the Government Service
- Born legitimately outside The Bahamas to a married Bahamian woman
Work Permit (Annual or Short-Term)
If you have business ties with The Bahamas or secured employment there, you’ll have to apply for a work permit to proceed legally. Here’s what you’ll need:
- $200 processing fee for all applications
- Medical certificate
- Police certificate
- Two passport photos
- Letter of Request to the Director of Immigration
- Employer or Sponsor’s passport
- Labor Certificate from The Bahamas’ Department of Labor
- Incorporation Certificate, business license, or certificate of incumbency for the employer
- Two employer references
- National insurance card for the employer
The length of time varies, but 90-day (or longer) work permits can be secured, depending on your circumstances.
An annual permit is a residency allowance for individuals wanting to remain in The Bahamas for a reason other than employment. While the permit is traditionally granted for one year, you might also achieve a 1-3 or 5-year duration if you meet further requirements.
To apply for the annual permit, you’ll need:
- Two passport photos
- Marriage certificate
- Death or divorce certificate (for widows and divorcees)
- Copy of bio-data page on your passport
- Two character reference letters
- Police certificate describing the last five years of your previous residency
- Medical certificate
- Financial statements and proof of savings and income
- $200 fee for all applications
Bahamas Permanent Residency Requirements
Are you looking to apply for permanent residency in The Bahamas (Bahamas Residence Visa)? As mentioned above, you may qualify if you’re employed in a certain profession or have certain ties to The Bahamas by birth. However, the most attainable residency is through investment.
You’ll have to invest $750,000 in a home or business to be eligible, with a $1.5 million investment garnering you speedy consideration. And then you’ll need the following documents to apply:
- Form IV regulation 2, regulation 8
- Passport bio-data page
- Two passport photos with your name printed on the back
- Character reference from the police (criminal record)
- Original birth certificate in English, sealed by a Bahamian consular office
- Medical certificate within 30 days of applications
- Two character references (written by citizens of The Bahamas that have known you for a minimum of five years)
- Birth certificate and marriage certificate for each of your parents
- Marriage, divorce, or death certificate for you and your spouse
- Financial statements citing economic worth
How to Apply for Permanent Residency in The Bahamas
Applying for Bahamian permanent residency is a straightforward process. As long as you meet all the requirements listed earlier in the article and compile the correct documentation, you can follow these steps to apply:
- Fill out Form IV regulation 2, regulation 8
- Attach all supporting documents (character references, international birth certificate, etc.)
- Submit package to The Bahamas Department of Immigration with fee.
Ways to Get a Bahamas Citizenship
In addition to permanent residency, others consider going further by becoming a citizen of The Bahamas.
It’s much harder to qualify for Bahamian citizenship than for residency unless you have direct ties to the country. Let’s walk through some of the ways you might be eligible for citizenship:
- Dual Citizenship: The Bahamas does not allow individuals to have dual citizenship with another country while holding Bahamian citizenship. If you’re interested in maintaining your original citizenship, we recommend seeking residency. You’ll still experience many of the benefits that Bahamian citizens enjoy.
- Investment: Buying a property might be enough to land you residency, but it’s not sufficient to achieve citizenship. However, you can use the investment path to work toward citizenship. Here, you would seek economic policy residency first. If you want speedy consideration, purchase a home worth $750,000 or more. After that, you’ll have to live as a permanent resident in The Bahamas for a minimum of ten years to be considered for citizenship.
- Birth: If you’re a native Bahamian, that’s the surest path to citizenship. If your mother is a Bahamian woman (married or unmarried), you qualify. If you were born legitimately outside of The Bahamas, your father must be married and born in The Bahamas. Other similar circumstances will grant you residency but make the citizenship process longer.
- Descent: If you have grandparents born in Greece, Italy, or many other countries–you qualify for automatic citizenship. But in The Bahamas, descent isn’t an easy qualifier. Even if you have a Bahamian grandfather, you won’t be eligible for citizenship unless you meet other birth requirements listed above.
- Naturalization: Naturalization is for the Bahamian permanent resident that sees a long-term future in The Bahamas (6-9 years). You can apply for citizenship via naturalization after living in the country for a minimum of one year.
- Adoption: If you’re an international or local that was adopted by a married Bahamian male or single or married Bahamian female, you qualify for citizenship. If you were adopted by a single Bahamian male, you’ll have to undergo the residency process before applying for citizenship.
- Marriage: You can apply for citizenship if you’re a female marrying a Bahamian citizen. Make sure you have a birth certificate and marriage certificate for your application. But if you’re a man marrying a Bahamian woman, you must undergo the residency process.
- Medical Profession: Individuals working as police officers, teachers, nurses, doctors, medical professionals, ministers, and priests for between 10-20 years may become Bahamian citizens.
- Bahamas Resident Visa: If you’ve been a resident of The Bahamas for at least 10 years, you are able to apply for citizenship. Remember, The Bahamas does not allow for Dual Citizenship, so you’ll have to forego your previous citizenship before applying.
- Economic Permanent Residence: One of the most popular routes to Bahamian residency is through economic policy residency. Individuals who purchase homes worth at least $750,000 receive speedy consideration. However, you won’t achieve citizenship unless you’ve lived in the country with this visa for at least ten years.
Conclusion: Get Support For Your Bahamas Residency Journey
Living in The Bahamas is a treat for anyone, whether they’re looking to expand their real estate portfolio, start a business, retire, or raise a family. No matter where you are in your relocation journey, we at Better Home & Gardens MCR Bahamas are committed to helping you find your dream home with the best real estate agents in The Bahamas at your service.