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Preface

We regularly help clients who wish to obtain residency in The Bahamas either by means of an Annual Residence Permit, a Permanent Residence Permit, and a Home Owner’s Card. The Annual Residence Permit allows non-Bahamians wishing to reside in The Bahamas to do so on an annual basis while the Permanent Residence Permit allows non-Bahamians to reside permanently in The Bahamas. A Home Owner’s Card, issued on an annual basis entitles the owner of a home in The Bahamas, his or her spouse and any minor endorsed on the owner’s card, to enter The Bahamas and reside here. It should be noted that residency does not confer citizenship or entitle an applicant to a Bahamian passport. Citizenship entails a more rigorous process and a fairly lengthy residence in the country.

A non-Bahamian may enter The Bahamas as a visitor for an initial period of up to two months. It is during this time the visitor may apply for residency. There are three levels of residency available:

  • Annual Residence Permit
  • Permanent Residence Permit
  • Home Owner’s Residence Card

Generally, applicants must be of good character and at least eighteen (18) years of age. However it should be noted that the approval of any application is subject to the discretion of the Board of Immigration (the “Board”).

Annual residence permit

This permit is for non-Bahamians wishing to reside in The Bahamas on an annual basis. The Bahamas Government is responsive to applicants for annual residence, and although it is not a requirement for the applicant to indicate a commitment to the leasing or purchase of a “second home”, it is our opinion that such a position is helpful to a successful outcome. The Government’s Fee for this permit is one thousand Bahamian dollars (B$1,000) for the head of the household and twenty-five Bahamian dollars (B$25) for each dependent. Higgs & Johnson’s fee for the initial application is three thousand five hundred Bahamian dollars (B$3,500) (minimum) subject to increase for complex or lengthy cases, and a payment on account of one thousand five hundred Bahamian dollars (B$1,500) should be made upon our being instructed. The following documents are required:

  • Immigration Form completed and notarized with a ten dollar (B$10) Bahamian postage stamp affixed thereon;
  • Two (2) passport-sized colored photographs with signature on reverse of prints;
  • Original Police certificate covering five (5) years residence (certified);
  • Original medical certificate dated not earlier than thirty (30) days prior to submission of the application;
  • Two (2) testimonials of good character;
  • Financial reference from a reputable bank verifying economic worth, i.e., citing a figure range;
  • Confirmation of whether the applicant owns a home or property in The Bahamas and, if yes, the address and a copy of the lease or deed;
  • Source of income including whether derived from employment, pension, investments, trust funds, etc.;
  • Amount of time to be spent in The Bahamas;
  • Civic or charitable affiliations;
  • Complete set of the applicant’s fingerprints;
  • Reasons for seeking residence in The Bahamas;
  • Ticket evidencing intended departure (if applicable); and
  • Processing Fee of two hundred Bahamian dollars (B$200).

A separate application form must be submitted for the applicant’s spouse and each child. In the case of a spouse, the application must be accompanied by a certified copy of a marriage certificate and a certified copy of the birth certificate for a child or any other certification evidencing the dependence of the person on the applicant.

Permanent Residence Permit

(without the right to work)

The following persons are among the category of persons who may apply for permanent residence:

  • Immigration Form duly completed in duplicate, and notarized with a ten dollar (B$10) Bahamian postage stamp affixed thereon;
  • Spouse of a Bahamian after 5 years of marriage;
  • the marriage must be subsisting and the couple must also be cohabiting as husband and wife;
  • Persons born legitimately outside of The Bahamas to a married woman, who is a citizen of The Bahamas, and whose husband is not a citizen of The Bahamas;
  • Financially independent individuals or investors who are legitimate owners of a residence in The Bahamas;
  • Doctors/Medical professionals after having been employed for a minimum of 20 years; and
  • Persons who have held legal status (work or resident permit) for more than 20 consecutive years in The Bahamas.

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and of good character and must state in the application that he or she intends to reside permanently in The Bahamas.

Permanent Residence has become very popular, and accelerated consideration of application is given to major international investors and owners of residences valued at seven hundred thousand Bahamian dollars (B$750,000) or more. Should the investment in The Bahamas or residence be valued at one million, five hundred thousand Bahamian dollar (B$1,500,000) or more, a response from the Immigration Department is guaranteed within twenty one days of submission of a complete application. The Government’s Fee for the Permanent Residence Certificate is fifteen thousand Bahamian dollars (B$15,000) and twenty-five Bahamian dollars (B$25) for an applicant’s spouse and each minor dependent. Higgs & Johnson’s fee for the application for the primary applicant is six thousand Bahamian dollars (B$6,000)(minimum) subject to increase for complex and lengthy cases, and a payment on account of three thousand Bahamian dollars (B$3,000) should be made upon our being instructed. Although our experience has been positive, as mentioned above, the approval of permanent residency is in the absolute discretion of the Board. In addition to paying the B$200 processing fee the following documents are required:

  • A certified copy of the bio-data page of the applicant’s passport;
  • 2 passport-sized identical coloured photographs of the applicant, with the applicant’s name printed on the reverse side (photographs must not be more than 6 months old);
  • An original police certificate of character (issued not more than six months prior to the submission of the application covering five (5) years of residence);
  • Certified copy of birth certificate; (in the case of certificates that are written in languages other than English, an English translation should be submitted, sealed by the appropriate Consular Office where applicable, with a ten dollar (B$10) Bahamian postage stamp affixed to it;
  • An original medical certificate dated not more than 30 days prior to the submission of the application;
  • 2 original character references, written by persons known to the applicant for at least 5 years;
  • Certified copy of parents’ birth certificate for minors;
  • Certified copy of marriage certificate (married persons);
  • Spouse’s death certificate (widowed persons);
  • Divorce decree (divorcees); and
  • Financial reference citing a figure range, and verifying economic worth.

A person holding a Certificate of Permanent Residence who wishes to include his wife, or dependent child under the age of eighteen (18) and ordinarily resident in his household, may have them endorsed on the certificate at the time of his original application or at a subsequent date, subject to such conditions as might be laid down by the Board.

Homeowner’s card

All international persons owning residences in The Bahamas with a value of two hundred and fifty thousand Bahamian dollars (B$250,000) or more are eligible to receive, upon application to the Director of Immigration, an annual Home Owner’s Residence Card. This card facilitates entry into The Bahamas and entitles the owner, his/her spouse and minor children to multiple entries to The Bahamas and the ability to remain in The Bahamas for the duration of the validity of the card.

The Government’s Fee for the Home Owner’s Card is two hundred and fifty Bahamian dollars (B$250) per annum. Higgs & Johnson’s fees for the initial application is one thousand five hundred Bahamian dollars (B$1,500) minimum subject to increase in complex or lengthy cases, and a payment on account of one thousand Bahamian dollars (B$1,000) should be made upon our being instructed. The intended purpose of the Home Owner’s Card is to facilitate entry into The Bahamas with minimal formalities. There is no need for a return ticket with the card and it entitles the holder to stay up to one year. The following documents are required:

  • Immigration Form completed and notarized with a ten dollar (B$10) Bahamian postage stamp affixed thereon;
  • Two (2) passport-sized colored photographs with signature on reverse of prints;
  • Original police certificate covering five (5) years of residence or where this is not issued, a sworn Affidavit in lieu of same;
  • Certificate of Registration or Permit from The Bahamas Investment Authority;
  • Certified copy of bio-data page of passport;
  • Financial reference citing a figure range and verifying economic worth;
  • Proof of ownership of property and/or investment in The Bahamas in the form of copies of conveyances, deeds or contracts; and
  • Processing fee of two hundred Bahamian dollars (B$200).

Although the form does not have to be completed and submitted until after the applicant’s arrival, please note that there are documents to be submitted with the application which would be appropriate to obtain or request prior to the applicant’s departure for The Bahamas.

October, 2018

 

 

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