Section 1 – Public Holidays
2016 Embassy Public Holidays
Friday, 1 January 2016 – New Year’s Day (The Bahamas and U.S.)
Monday, 11 January 2016 – Majority Rule Day (The Bahamas)
Monday, 18 January 2016 – Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday (U.S.)
Monday, 15 February 2016 – Washington’s Birthday (U.S.)
Friday, 25 March 2016 – Good Friday (The Bahamas)
Monday, 28 March 2016 – Easter Monday (The Bahamas)
Monday, 16 May 2016 – Whit Monday (The Bahamas)
Monday, 30 May 2016 – Memorial Day (U.S.)
Friday, 3 June 2016 – Randol Fawkes Labor Day (The Bahamas)
Monday, 4 July 2016 – Independence Day (U.S.)
Monday, 11 July 2016 – Independence Day (The Bahamas)
Monday, 1 August 2016 – Emancipation Day (The Bahamas)
Monday, 5 September 2016 – Labor Day (U.S.)
Monday, 10 October 2016 – Columbus Day (U.S.)
Friday, 14 October 2016 – National Heroes Day (The Bahamas)
Thursday, 24 November 2016 – Thanksgiving Day (U.S.)
Friday, 25 November 2016 – In lieu of U.S. Veterans’ Day which is
observed on Friday, 11 November
Sunday, 25 December 2016 – Christmas Day (U.S.)
Monday, 26 December 2016 – Boxing Day (The Bahamas)
Sunday, 1 January 2017 – New Year’s Day (The Bahamas and U.S.)
*List will be updated after a decision has been made on the observance of this holiday.
Section 2 – Working in The Bahamas
1. How do I obtain a work permit?
Work permits must be applied for and obtained from the Department of Immigration Nassau, Hawkins Hill, PO Box N-831, Nassau, The Bahamas, Tel: 001 242 322 7531 Fax: 001 242 326 0977
2. Can I apply for a work permit while I am in The Bahamas?
No; work permit applications from persons already in The Bahamas would not be entertained. Applications must be made while you are outside The Bahamas.
3. What is the criteria for a non-Bahamian person to obtain employment in The Bahamas?
The Bahamas is a small developing country and Government regulations ensure that employment may be only offered to non – Bahamians in posts for which there are no suitably qualified Bahamians. In order to obtain employment as a non – Bahamian, the following criteria must be met:
An employer who has a vacant post is required to advertise the post locally. If he is unsuccessful in filling the post locally, he may apply to the Immigration Board for permission to recruit outside the country. He must also obtain a certificate from the Department of Labor indicating that a Bahamian is not available to fill the position.
When the prospective expatriate employee has been contacted, the employer must apply for a permit which is issued by the Immigration Board. An application will not be entertained if the prospective employee was already in The Bahamas, having entered as a visitor. Permits are issued for specific posts and the renewal of a permit is not automatic. Each application would be considered on its merits.
Employers may apply for permits for longer periods than one year in respect of certain key personnel on contract. Such contracts should indicate that their renewal would be subject to obtaining the applicant’s replacement within a stipulated period.
Fees of varying amounts up to $15,000 (for senior managerial and professional people) are charged if a permit is granted. The same amount is payable upon renewal of the permit annually. If approval is granted the employer will be asked to enter into a bond equivalent to the cost of repatriating the employee.
4. I have specialist skills. Which Ministry or Department should I contact to enquire about the availability of jobs in The Bahamas?
Qualified persons interested in employment with the Government of The Bahamas should write to respective Ministry / Department as follows:
- Nurses, Doctors and Kindred Services – Ministry of Health, P.O. Box N-3730, Nassau, The Bahamas Tel: 242 322 7425
- Teachers, Professors – Ministry of Education, P.O. Box N-3913, Nassau, The Bahamas Tel: 242 322 8140 Fax: 242 322 8491
- Legal and Judicial Services – The Legal Department, P.O. Box N-3007, Nassau, The Bahamas Tel: 242 322 1141
- Public Works (Water Supplies) – Ministry of Public Works, P.O. Box N-8156, Nassau, The Bahamas, Tel: 242 322 – 4831
- Radio and Telephone Technicians – Bahamas Telecommunications Corporation, P.O. Box N-3048, Nassau, The Bahamas Tel: 242 323 4911
- Administrative, Clerical and Financial – Department of Labor, P.O. Box N-3915, Nassau, The Bahamas Tel: 242 325 – 6511
5. How do I apply for a Police Character Certificate?
Please visit the Government of The Bahamas’ website at:
Section 3 – Money Matters
1. What is the exchange rate of the Bahamian dollar?
The American dollar and the Bahamian dollar operate a system of parity where $1(USD) = $1(BSD)
2. What currency can I use in The Bahamas?
The Bahamian dollar is the legal tender in The Bahamas; the American dollar is the most accessible currency to obtain from a bank or a bureau de change outside of The Bahamas and is widely accepted throughout The Bahamas Islands as both the Bahamian dollar and American dollar are used interchangeably.
3. Can I leave The Bahamas with Bahamian money?
The currency of The Bahamas is restricted; therefore it is illegal to depart the country with more than $200 Bahamian dollars in your possession.
4. Can I use traveler’s checks in The Bahamas?
Internationally known traveler’s checks in dollar denominations may be cashed almost anywhere.
5. What hours can I do my banking?
Banks in New Providence and Grand Bahamas are open from 09:30 to 5:00 Monday to Thursday and on Fridays until 7:00; however, on the Family Islands service is often very limited.
6. Can I use credit and debit cards in The Bahamas?
Yes; major credit cards and most debit cards are acceptable for payment throughout the Islands. In addition, most ATMs on the Islands will offer cash advances from your cards subject to a small fee.
Section 4 – General Immigration and Entry Questions
1. I know that I do not require a visa to enter The Bahamas – what documentation should I have in my possession to enter?
- A valid passport with six months validity from the date of departure from The Bahamas
- A return or onward ticket if flying by commercial carrier
- A letter and further documentation if flying by private aircraft
- If traveling by private vessel, documentation from the Captain giving entry and exit details of the vessel;
- Passengers traveling by commercial cruise ships must have their travel vouchers or passbooks
- Visa or entry permits for any other country that you would be visiting
- Sufficient funds to finance the visit (approx. $200USD per day)
- A letter of invitation if residing at a private address if applicable
- A confirmed hotel booking if applicable
1b. Must I have a biometric or machine readable passport to enter The Bahamas?
Machine readable or biometric passports are not needed at this point in time for entry to The Bahamas.
2. If I am a permanent resident of the US (a green card holder), what documents do I need to travel to The Bahamas?
Green card holders do not require visas to visit The Bahamas. They should have a travel document that is valid for six months from the date of departure from The Bahamas; sufficient funds to finance their trip; onward or return tickets to leave The Bahamas and proof of accommodation.
3. What forms of ID does a British passport holder need to take with them on their holiday for entry into The Bahamas?
A valid passport for six months from the date of leaving The Bahamas.
4. Can a non-Bahamian travel to The Bahamas on an expired Passport?
No; passports must have a minimum of six months validity from the date of departure from The Bahamas. In addition, airlines would not let passengers board with expired travel documents.
4b. If I only have four months left on my passport, can I still travel to The Bahamas?
Only British and American passport holders may travel to The Bahamas with less than six months left on their passports. However, British passport holders are advised to have at least six months unexpired on their passports, as they need this requirement for British Immigration purposes. British passport holders that travel to The Bahamas with less than six months validity on their passports would be allowed entry to The Bahamas as long as the duration of their visit to The Bahamas is less than three weeks (21 days).
5. Is it acceptable for a child to be on the mother’s or father’s passport to gain entry into The Bahamas?
Yes, this is acceptable. Minors up to the age of sixteen years old may travel to The Bahamas on their parent’s passports.
6. What happens if my name appears differently on the passport as it appears on the ticket?
If the name change were due to Marriage, you would need a copy of the marriage certificate with other proof of citizenship (birth certificate, voter’s card, driving license etc.) If the name change is due to adoption or legal name change (deed poll) you would need a certified copy of the legal document showing the name change with other proof of citizenship. If you do not have a legal document, you would need a parent or other relative that knew of the name change to have an affidavit sworn to that fact.
7. At what age can children travel unaccompanied to The Bahamas and what documentation should they have to gain entry?
An authorization letter from their parents stating consent has been given for children of sixteen years and under.
8. Are pets allowed to travel to The Bahamas without a period of quarantine?
A valid import permit ($10) is required to import any animal into The Bahamas. Unless otherwise indicated, a permit can only be used once and only during the period specified on the permit. Dogs and cats imported from countries with rabies must be six months and older. To apply for an import permit, please telephone 001 242 325 7502 in The Bahamas or 001 242 325 7503. You may also write to the Director of Agriculture at P O Box N – 3028, Nassau. State your name and address, the type, age and number of animals you wish to import, the country of export and origin, the purpose for importing the animal(s), as well as anticipated date of arrival and destination in The Bahamas.
9. Can I travel to The Bahamas with prescription drugs used as medication for an existing illness?
It is suggested that a letter from the doctor stating that the medication is needed for your health be obtained and presented to Bahamas Customs if questioned.
10. Are there any fees I have to pay to leave the country?
Departure tax is incorporated in your ticket or holiday package and would not be a separate charge.
11. Can I travel to The Bahamas with a criminal record?
Persons with criminal records or persons, who are on parole, should write to the Director of Immigration at the following address seeking advice and clarification:
Director of Immigration, Immigration Department, P.O. Box N – 831 Nassau, The Bahamas
Tel: 001 242 322 7530 Fax: 001 242 326 0977
The letter should include the following information:
- Date of entry and exit to and from The Bahamas
- Anticipated length of visit
- Details of accommodation (private address or hotel / villa)
- Details of conviction – i.e. sentence, time served and current status
- Documentary proof of termination of sentence or pardon
If the intended traveler is on parole, the Parole Officer should provide a letter on letterhead stating that there is no objection to letting the intended traveler leave the jurisdiction of parole; the letter should also include the full name, date of birth and place of birth, the nationality, passport number and place of passport issuance. The Bahamas Immigration Department would respond to the initial letter sent directly from the Parole Officer.
12. What can I bring into The Bahamas as far as food items?
You may take any item up to a value of $100USD duty free. However, no fresh fruit or vegetables allowed. Chicken and beef are taxable. One quart of alcohol including beer and wine and 200 cigarettes and 50 cigars are allowed for persons over 21. Additional information may be obtained from The Comptroller of Customs, Customs House, Thompson Blvd, PO Box N-155, Nassau, The Bahamas. (Tel: 001 242 3264401).
Section 5 – Vaccination and Inoculations
1. Are there any vaccinations required?
Most visitors to The Bahamas do not need special vaccinations before entering the country. However, travelers over one year of age must provide a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate if they are coming from the following countries: Angola, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Colombia, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, French Guiana, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Peru and Sudan. Travelers are required to be vaccinated 10 days prior to entering The Bahamas.
2. What if my doctor recommends that I have certain inoculations?
You are always welcome to seek the advice of a doctor; any decisions to proceed with vaccinations or inoculations would be a personal decision that you have made on the advice of your doctor.