Sunshine, sandy beaches and some 700 tropical islands make the Bahamas one of the most sought-after retreats in the Caribbean.
This haven for North American tourists is relatively easy to access for US and Canadian citizens; however, some rules do apply. It’s important to note that requirements vary depending on citizenship and residency, so travelers born in one country and residents of another (aside from the US and Canada) should be prepared to provide documentation based on their country of birth.
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What do you need to know about visas in the Bahamas?
Most travelers carrying valid US or Canadian passports should have no trouble clearing customs in the Bahamas, as long as it’s well within its expiration date and has multiple blank pages. Likewise, visitors from Latin America should be presented with few issues at the border. Still, these guidelines will help you earn that coveted Bahamian passport stamp and avoid any potential obstacles at your port of entry.
Who can travel to the Bahamas without a visa?
US citizens visiting for 90 days or less do not need a visa to enter the Bahamas and Canadian citizens who plan to stay less than eight months do not need a visa either. Both sets of citizens must provide proof of their anticipated date of departure, such as a return ticket, and Canadian citizens’ passports must be valid for at least three months after their departure date; that rises to six months for Canadian citizens that are traveling home via another country. US passports must have two blank pages for the entry stamp.
Permanent US residents who are not American citizens can travel to the Bahamas without a visa if they plan to stay less than 30 days, though a green card and a valid national passport are both required. For visits longer than 30 days, a visa and a valid national passport are both required.
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Canadian permanent residents may stay in the Bahamas for 30 days without a visa; however, they must bring a valid passport that expires no less than three months after their last day in the country (as with Canadian citizens, this rises to six months if you’re traveling back to Canada via another country), and an original Canadian Permanent Resident card. If traveling directly from Canada, that card must expire no less than three months after their last day in the country; if traveling via another country, it must expire no less than six months after. A return ticket is also required.
Citizens of Latin America are not required to carry a Bahamas visa if their stay is less than three months. They are required to have a return or onward-journey ticket, proof of lodging confirmation and, if requested, proof of sufficient funds for the visit.
Indian nationals with a visa issued by Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States or a Schengen Member State are not required to carry a Bahamas visa and may stay for a maximum of 90 days in the country. Visas are also waived for Indian nationals permanently residing in the US, the UK, or a Schengen Member State for stays of up to 30 or 90 days in the Bahamas, depending on the issuing country.
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Residents of 78 countries are required to have a visa to visit the Bahamas © Nathan Bai / Shutterstock
Who needs a visa to visit the Bahamas?
The Bahamas requires a visa for residents of 77 countries, including Egypt, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan, Laos, the Philippines, India, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Taiwan, Ukraine, UAE and Vietnam.
A single-entry visa to the Bahamas costs US$100, and multiple-entry visas start at US$110. Single-entry visas with biometric data cost $160, and multiple-entry visas with biometrics start at $250. Forms must be completed in block letters and submitted with supporting documents including a valid passport.
Requirements may also include a police report, flight itinerary, copies of previously held visas and foreign marriage and birth certificates. It is recommended that applicants contact the Bahamas Consulate Division before applying.
The turnaround time on visas can be up to two weeks if you apply via a Bahamian Consulate or Embassy; those applying via a British Embassy should allow at least four weeks for their visa to be processed.
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Visitors may need to present a yellow fever vaccination certificate © Getty Images
Can I extend my stay in the Bahamas?
If you’ve been in the Bahamas for the maximum time allowed without a visa, you can request an extension of your stay online. First, apply for a visa with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, then submit your application to the Bahamas Department of Immigration.
Looking for a longer-term situation? No one could blame you for being reluctant to come home from these beautiful islands! The Bahamas Extended Access Travel Stay program allows travelers to work or study remotely for up to one year. Permits start at $1000 for individual professionals and $500 for students, plus a $25 application fee. No additional travel permits are required for citizens of Canada, the EU, Britain and the USA.
Citizens of the US, Canada and Latin America may visit the Bahamas without a visa, depending on the length of their stay © StudioBarcelona / Getty Images
What else should I look out for?
Check whether you need a yellow fever vaccination certificate before traveling. Visitors aged one and up must carry a yellow-fever vaccination certificate if arriving from a nation with a risk of yellow-fever transmission. These are mostly nations in Latin America and Africa. Visitors who have transited for more than 12 hours through an airport in a nation with risk of yellow-fever transmission must also carry a vaccination certificate valid for at least 10 days before entering the Bahamas.
The requirement for COVID-19 testing before entering the Bahamas has been removed since September 2022, regardless of vaccination status. This also applies to inter-island travel.