Temporary and Permanent Residence on the Bahamas
The Commonwealth of the Bahamas is a country consisting of 29 islands, 661 cays, and 2,387 islets (rocks). It is located in the Atlantic Ocean north of Cuba and Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti), northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and southeast of the United States (nearest to the state of Florida). Its total land area is 13,939 km2 (5,382 sq mi), with an estimated population of 330,000. Its capital is Nassau. Geographically, the Bahamas lie in the same island chain as Cuba, Hispaniola and the Turks and Caicos Islands. The designation of Bahamas refers normally to the Commonwealth and not the geographic chain.
Immigration to the Bahamas
The Government considers citizenship, permanent residency, and work permits for non-Bahamians provided there is a compliance with the immigration laws of the Bahamas and policies of the government. Accelerated consideration is given to applications for annual or permanent residence by major international investors and to “fit and proper” owners of residences valued in excess of USD 500,000.
Visitors may visit The Bahamas for a max of eight months, provided they can indicate means of financial support for that period. Visitors are not allowed to engage in any form of gainful occupation while in The Bahamas.
Temporary (Annual) Residence Permit
Persons wishing to reside in the Bahamas on an annual basis may qualify under one of the four categories:
- Spouse or dependent of a citizen of The Bahamas;
- Spouse or dependent of a permit holder;
- Independent economic resident or
- Resident homeowner, including seasonal resident homeowner
Permanent Residence in The Bahamas
Applicants for this status of residency must be of good character and prepared to show evidence of financial support. Such an applicant must also state that he intends to reside permanently in The Bahamas. Persons may apply for permanent residence in any of the following categories provided they satisfy statutory requirements of the Bahamas:
- As the spouse of a citizen of The Bahamas, and in the case of male, he must have been married for no less than five years.
- As an economic applicant; that is, one who seeks to permanently reside in the Bahamas because of:
- Investment, business, home or
- Established roots through family ties.
Citizenship of the Bahamas
Citizenship is based upon the Constitution of The Bahamas, dated July 10, 1973. All persons who were citizens of The Bahamas before July 10, 1973, retain their citizenship. Citizenship can also be acquired by birth, by descent, by registration, and by naturalization. Citizenship by birth: Birth within the territory of The Bahamas does not automatically confer citizenship. Citizenship by descent: Child born legitimately in the territory of The Bahamas, at least one of whose parents is a citizen of The Bahamas. Child born abroad legitimately, whose father is a citizen of The Bahamas. Citizenship by registration: The following persons are eligible to obtain Bahamian citizenship through registration: Foreign woman who marries a citizen of the Bahamas. Person (18 years or older), born in the Bahamas, but whose parents were not citizens of the Bahamas. Person (18 years or older), born in wedlock outside the Bahamas to a Bahamian mother. Child adopted by Bahamian citizens.
Citizenship by naturalization: Bahamian citizenship may be acquired upon fulfillment of the following conditions: Person has resided six to nine years in the country (12 months consecutively before applying), intends to reside permanently in the country, is of good character, and knows the language and customs. Dual citizenship is not recognized. Exception: Dual citizenship obtained due to birth abroad may be retained up to 21 years of age. Person then has 12 months to renounce foreign citizenship; otherwise their Bahamian citizenship will be revoked. Loss of Bahamian citizenship: Voluntary renunciation of Bahamian citizenship is permitted by Parliament. The following is grounds for involuntary loss of native-born citizenship: Person voluntarily acquires a foreign citizenship. Also Parliament has the right to revoke the citizenship of any naturalized citizen.
Questions regarding relocation to The Bahamas:
Question: I would like to ask regarding Residence permit and Citizenship acquirement in Bahamas. We are a married couple, citizens of Czech Republic (European Union) and we would like to relocate to Bahamas. We assume to spend approximately 10 months of each year in Bahamas, the rest 2 months we want to travel. Our goal is to get some kind of Residence permit at first and citizenship later on. We run an internet business independent on the location, so we can also relocate the business if applicable. Would you please recommend the best approach, considering our nationality and our current situation? Would you also estimate the costs for this process for both of us?
Answer: You may either apply for an Annual Residence Permit or an Economic Certificate of Permanent Residence. The differences between these two types of immigration status are as follows: 1. The Annual Residence Permit is renewable annually and the Certificate of Permanent Residence is for the person’s life time. 2. The Government charges a fee of $1,000.00 per annum for the Annual Residence Permit and a onetime fee of $5,000.00 to $10,000.00 (depending on the category of the applicants fall under) for the Economic Certificate of Permanent Residence. 3. Economic Certificate of Permanent Residence are usually granted to investors who invest in The Bahamas through either a commercial enterprise or the purchase of a home or property for the construction of a home. With respect to Certificates of Economic Permanent Residence, there is no minimum investment in order to qualify. However, the Government has a policy of fast tracking applications for those persons who invest a minimum of US$1,500,000.00.
Question: What is your legal fee?
Answer: Our professional fee for handling the initial application is $5,000.00 plus cash disbursements of approximately $1,200.00. The Cash Disbursements include a $100.00 application fee, the $1,000.00 annual residence permit fee and about another $100.00 in miscellaneous disbursements. For annual renewals, our professional fee is $1,250.00; the cash disbursements remain the same as outlined above. Let us know which of the foregoing you wish to pursue and we would be pleased to assist with the application process.
Question: How and when can we get citizenship?
Answer: Citizenship is possible after 6 years of legal residence. Please, note that the Bahamas do not recognize dual citizenship.
So, you will have to renounce your current citizenship if you wish to take citizenship of the Bahamas.
Question: Let’s say we relocate in January 2013. At which point do we become tax residents of Bahamas and stop being tax residents of Czech Republic?
Answer: The residence permit and work permit are not the same in the Bahamas. The residence permit we are discussing is granted without right to be employed. Due to this you are not expected to have income from the source in the Bahamas and you will not be tax resident in the Bahamas. As to the tax law of the Czech Republic, if you spend 6 months + 1 day per calendar year in Czech Republic you are a tax resident. If you spend less than 6 months in Czech Republic you are not a tax resident. This is very general. We are not tax consultant. You should consult a local tax lawyer to clarify the situation in your country.
Elma Global in cooperation with the best Bahamian immigration lawyers can assist you in relocation to the Bahamas. For annual residency/work permits we charge (depending on the situation) approximately USD 5000 and USD 10,000 for permanent residency. If you have any questions regarding the above-mentioned material or wish to use our legal assistance in obtaining temporary or permanent residence in the Bahamas, contact us today