There’s a lot to be said for living in The Bahamas. Even if you’re not counting consistently balmy temperatures, glorious sun and beautiful beaches, Bahamians enjoy a quality of life that many would envy.
In addition to its standing as a tropical paradise, The Bahamas is also well-known for its friendly people, thriving community of expats, political stability and an economic climate that welcomes foreign investment. But those looking to reap all these benefits are definitely considering a longer-term commitment than a week or so of holidays.
If living in The Bahamas appeals to you, you should probably consider the Bahamas permanent residency program. In this post, I’ll examine some of the benefits of permanent residency in The Bahamas, as well as the various ways you can acquire it.
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The Benefits of Permanent Residence in The Bahamas
Once you establish Bahamian permanent residency, you can enjoy nearly all of the rights and benefits guaranteed to citizens. (Although if you wish to participate in the country’s democratic system, you will need to apply for full citizenship.)
You may choose to establish Bahamas permanent residency for a variety of reasons:
- You want to live or travel freely in The Bahamas.
The Bahamian government welcomes tourists — the country’s economy relies heavily on tourism dollars — but if you wish to stay longer than 90 days or regularly enter and leave the country, you’ll need to enroll in the Bahamas residency program or regularly renew visas or permits.
- You’re taking the first step on the road to citizenship.
Bahamian citizenship isn’t easy to come by. The country has strict citizenship requirements and does not recognize dual citizenship. If you don’t have a Bahamian parent or spouse, permanent residency is your logical first step.
- You want to work or open a business in The Bahamas.
The government in The Bahamas heavily regulates who can work or operate a business within the country. Permanent residency or citizenship is required if you plan to run specific types of business. Work visas are issued annually but can be challenging to renew if you stay longer than five years.
- You want to leverage the tax benefits of Bahamas residency.
Citizens and permanent residents of The Bahamas do not pay income tax, capital gains tax, or estate tax. Establishing Bahamas residency can free you from the tax obligations of your home country.
How to Secure Bahamas Permanent Residency
Foreign nationals must have the permission of the Bahamian Department of Immigration to live and work in the country. While residence permits and work visas can be issued annually, permanent residency in The Bahamas is the best way to establish your life in the country — especially if you intend to pursue citizenship.
How to Qualify
- Be the spouse of a Bahamian citizen.
You must have been married for at least five years and currently living together as husband and wife to apply for residency under this category.
- Have a Bahamian mother.
If you were born to married parents outside The Bahamas and your mother is Bahamian but your father is not, you may apply for permanent residency.
- Apply for Bahamas residency by investment.
You may apply for residency if you can establish that you’re financially independent and you own a residence in The Bahamas. (Vacant land and businesses do not count for this restriction, but if you own a residence worth more than $1.5 million, your application may be fast-tracked.)
- Work for the Bahamian government for at least ten years.
Certain government service employees who have worked in The Bahamas for over ten years are eligible to apply for permanent residency:
- Prison officers
- Teachers (may also be employed by religious or charitable organizations)
- Nurses (may also be employed in private hospitals or healthcare institutions)
- Be a long-standing minister, priest, doctor or other medical professional.
Priests, ministers of religion, doctors and other medical professionals who have been engaged in their profession for at least 20 years may apply.
- Work in The Bahamas for over 20 consecutive years.
If you’ve worked legally in The Bahamas for more than 20 consecutive years, you may also apply for Bahamian permanent residency.
How to Apply
The application process for Bahamas permanent residency is straightforward:
- You must complete an Application for a Certificate of Permanent Residence form.
- Next, you’ll need to submit documentation to support your claim, which includes basic identification (photos, birth certificate, passport) as well as specific documents based on the category under which you are applying:
- A police background check, less than six months old
- A medical certificate, less than one month old
- Two character references, written by Bahamian citizens who have known you for at least five years
- Your parents’ birth and marriage certificates
- Your marriage certificate
- Detailed financial statements to verify your economic worth
- Finally, you can submit your application and original documentation to the Bahamian Department of Immigration, along with a $100.00 fee
Bahamas Permanent Residency Is Within Reach
Now that you know all the steps involved in applying for the Bahamas permanent residency program, you’re well on your way to starting your life in paradise. If you have questions about Bahamian residency by investment or other methods of applying for permanent residency in The Bahamas, please reach out to me with your inquiry.