Are you trying to get a Bahamas Work Visa? That would be a good idea, considering the Bahamas is one of the wealthiest Caribbean countries and a favorite labor destination for foreign nationals. The greatest kept secret of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas is the country’s sheer breadth and variety.
The Bahamas, with its 16 main islands, is an unrivaled destination, a heart-pounding trip through 100,000 square miles of the world’s cleanest water. Working in the Bahamas can take various forms: your employer may relocate his business to the island country, taking you and other employees along, or you may find work with a Bahamian firm.
In any case, you would need a valid work visa. Continue reading to find out how to get a work visa in the Bahamas.
In this article
Where are the Bahamas Located?
The Bahamas is one of the island countries located in the West Indies. It has 88% of the Lucayan Archipelago’s population and 97% of its geographical area. It shares borders on the east of the Florida Keys, southeast of the US state of Florida, north of Cuba, and northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands and the island of Hispaniola, which is divided between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Nassau, the island of New Providence’s capital.
The Bahamas is a parliamentary constitutional monarchy, having Queen Elizabeth II as head of state with a local governor-general to represent her. Political and legal traditions here are closely aligned with those of the United Kingdom and the Westminster system. The Bahamas is a Commonwealth of Nations member, and its head of state is shared with other Commonwealth entities.
Why Move to The Bahamas for Work?
If you haven’t already made up your mind, you’re probably thinking about whether or not moving to the Bahamas is worth it. However, there are several reasons why an upwardly mobile someone may relocate to the Bahamas:
- Firstly, the country is surrounded by water, and the Bahamas has pleasant temperatures all year. This makes it an ideal location for acquiring an island house or coastal property for year-round habitation.
- There are no INCOME TAXES or INHERITANCE TAXES. Capital gains, business earnings, sales, and dividends are also exempt from taxation. All residents receive this tax exemption. There are also several investment incentives.
- The Bahamas’ economy is robust and stable, focusing on tourism, finance, and the service sector. Since the Bahamian dollar is equal to the US dollar, transactions are easy and do not require sophisticated conversion rates.
- The Bahamas has a long record of democracy and stable administration since winning independence from the United Kingdom in 1973. Hence, it has developed into the ideal environment for future growth and success.
- It has never been simpler for a foreign national to purchase property in The Bahamas. Register your new property with the Bahamas Investments Board. There is no longer any requirement to seek a government permit before purchasing. A permit is unnecessary unless the property is more than 5 acres or is not a private house.
- Finally, living and working in the Bahamas is a pathway to gaining residency, then citizenship sometime in the future.
Types of Bahamas Work Visa
There are two types of Bahamas work visas;
- Short-term work permit
- Long-term work permit
The short-term work permit is issued to foreign nationals who wish to work in the Bahamas for less than 90 days (usually for contract work). However, the long-term work permit lasts much longer, perhaps up to a year, and is for people who want to work long-term. The latter is the more common one and is usually in the form of a long-stay Bahamas visa.
Who Needs to Apply for a Bahamas Work Visa?
If you gain employment to work on-site in the Bahamas, you need to get a Bahamas work visa. However, not all foreigners need a visa to enter the Bahamas for work. Citizens of the following countries have visa-free entry into the Bahamas for up to 90 days. During this time, they can register at the Bahamian Immigration Authority Department to get a work permit, which will also serve as a temporary residency permit. Those countries include;
- South Africa
- the Gambia
- Cape Verde
- Sierra Leone
- Saint Helena
- Sao Tome & Principe
- Hong Kong
- South Korea
- the Republic of Georgia
- the Maldives
- Sri Lanka
- the United Arab Emirates
- the Netherlands
- the Czech Republic
- New Zealand
- the Azores
- Holy See
- the United Kingdom
- San Marino
- the Commonwealth of Dominica
- The United States of America
- El Salvador
- Puerto Rico
- Trinidad & Tobago
- Costa Rica
- French Guiana
- Netherlands Antilles
- Saint Barthélemy
- Saint Martin
- the Cayman Islands
- the British Virgin Islands
- Saint Kitts & Nevis
- Antigua and Barbuda
- US Virgin Islands
- Saint Pierre and Miquelon
- Saint Vincent & the Grenadines
- French Southern Territories
- Galapagos Island
- American Samoa
- Wallis and Futuna
- South Georgia and South Sandwich
- Northern Mariana
- French Polynesia
- the Falkland Islands
- New Caledonia
- Turks & Caicos
- the Pitcairn Islands
- the Marshall Islands
- Saint Maarten
- the Solomon Islands
- the Cook Islands
- Umm Al Quwain
- Western Samoa
Application Requirements for the Bahamian work visa
When applying for a Bahamas work visa, there are several documents you need to provide. These will help the Bahamian embassy determine whether or not you are eligible to work and live in the Bahamas. Such requirements include;
- A completely filled-out and signed Bahamas work visa application form.
- Two (2) recent passport pictures of the applicant on a white backdrop, with the applicant’s name printed on the reverse (taken within six (6) months of the application date; photo size must be 2 X 2 inches).
- Copy the biographical data page of the applicant’s current national passport (signed and readable with a minimum validity of two (2) months).
- A visa processing fee in cash, credit/debit card, postal money order, or bank-certified cheque. This depends on the embassy you apply to.
- A request letter written to the Director of Immigration.
- Applicant’s original medical certificate (dated no more than 30 days before application submission) is required for all applicants.
- Original police certificate of the applicant (issued no earlier than six (6) months and covering five (5) years of residence; required of applicants 14 and older).
- A copy of the biographical data page of the employer/sponsor’s current passport.
- Labour Certificate with a Notification of Vacancy from the Department of Labour-Bahamas.
- Two (2) letters of recommendation from your former employers (provide telephone contacts and email addresses).
- Proof of civil status, e.g., marriage, birth, etc.
- Release a letter from your former employer (if applicable).
- Copy of Employer/Valid Sponsor’s Business License, Certificate of Incumbency, or Certificate of Incorporation Copy of Employer/National Sponsor’s Insurance Card/Certificate.
If you are applying for a Bahamas work visa and intend to bring your dependents to the Bahamas, you must also obtain a permit to reside.
Application Process for a Bahamas Work Visa
Before you start applying, contact the Bahamas embassy or consulate in your country, as different embassies have varying policies regarding accepting payment, submission, etc. Work permit applications are available both online and at department offices. Once you have gotten the info you need from the embassy, you’ll have to follow these steps:
- Fill out the application form and accurately provide every piece of information it requests of you.
- Gather all the documents you need as listed above. If they’re not in English, ensure you get a translator to translate them appropriately.
- Pay the visa fee and submit it to the embassy with the rest of the documents.
- Wait for the embassy to get back to you on the verdict. If your visa gets approved, you can begin preparing for your journey. Else, you can either reapply or appeal the decision.
The application usually takes about two weeks to a month to process. However, you are encouraged to begin applying two months before your intended travel date so that you don’t fall victim to any unforeseen delays.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much is the Bahamas work visa fee?
The Bahamas work visa costs $250. However, extra charges might depend on which embassy you’re applying to. This is why it is advisable to contact the embassy before applying.
What jobs are in demand in the Bahamas?
Foreign nationals aspiring to work in the Bahamas can look into tourism, financial services, and engineering industries, as these industries have the highest demand for workers. In addition, agriculture and fishing also employ locals and ex-pats in this country.
What is the minimum wage in the Bahamas?
The latest labor wage data shows that the minimum hourly wage in the Bahamas is $5.25
Is it easy to get a job in the Bahamas?
Foreign nationals interested in working in the Bahamas should look into the fields of tourism, financial services, and engineering, which have the highest demand for personnel. In addition, agriculture and fisheries provide jobs for natives and ex-pats in this country.
Can I renew my Bahamas work permit?
Yes, you can. The average Bahamas work permit lasts for a year; hence, you can renew it at the Bahamas immigration department in your city when it expires. If you wish to continue living and working in the Bahamas, renewing the permit is non-negotiable.
There are many reasons you could want to visit the Bahamas; however, if you plan on moving there long-term, to partake in paid labor, then the Bahamas work visa is what you should be looking at. If you follow the steps outlined in this article, you shouldn’t find it too difficult to apply for this visa and get it.
Check out our article on the Bahamas study visa if you wish to study in one of the country’s institutions of higher learning.