Areas of Responsibility

The key function of The Department of Immigration is to regulate the movement of travelers across the international borders of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas and grant the relevant work or resident status to eligible applicants.

Border Control:

Bahamas Immigration Officers provide supervision and security clearance at the borders of the nation via the following authorized ports of entry:

 

 

 

Please note that there are several ports where Bahamas Customs Department performs agency duties in the absence of Bahamas Immigration.

Permits:

To issue valid permits to eligible non-Bahamian nationals  working, studying and residing in The Bahamas.

Permit to Reside

The Department of Immigration may grant annual permits to reside to eligible applicants who wish to habitually reside in The Commonwealth of The Bahamas for purposes other than to engage in gainful occupation. This status is best suited for minors and dependent spouses/ elderly relatives of persons with status which allow them the right to work.

In lieu of a student visa, persons wishing to pursue tertiary studies in The Bahamas may make application for a permit to reside.

Home Owner Resident Card

The Home Owner Resident Card is a type of Residence Permit that is issued in accordance with the International Persons Land Holding Act – Chapter 140. This type of residence status facilitates the entry of persons who lawfully own a primary residence in their country of origin and also own a residence in The Bahamas.

Resident Spouse Permit

A Resident Spouse Permit is a type of residence status that allows the foreign spouse of a Bahamian citizen to work and reside in The Bahamas. In order to be eligible for this permit, a candidate must be married to a Bahamian citizen for less than five (5) years and the marriage must be subsisting and the couple cohabitating.

Resident Belonger Permit

Resident Belonger Permit status was established, as noted in the May 8, 2015 Official Gazette, to offer a legal status option to:

a) persons referred to in Article 7 of The Constitution of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas and who are permanently residing in The Bahamas at the time of application (i.e. persons born in The Bahamas to non-Bahamian parents).

b) persons referred to in Article 9 of The Constitution of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas (i.e. persons born legitimately outside The Bahamas to a married Bahamian mother and non-Bahamian father).

c) the foreign-born offspring of a Bahamian male referred to in Articles 3(2) and 8 of The Constitution of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, who is married to a non-Bahamian spouse.

Permanent Residence

As its name implies, permanent residence is an essentially unending type of status, which endows its holder with the right to habitually reside in The Bahamas, and may also include the right to engage in gainful occupation in the country. Typically, once an applicant is approved for permanent residence status, they retain said status for the duration of their lifetime. However, provision is made under section of the Statute Law of The Bahamas – Immigration Act Chapter 191 for the revocation of said status due to extenuating circumstances.

Citizenship/Naturalization:

Citizenship is a type of permanent status which officially identifies an individual as a member of a nation state with all the socioeconomic, cultural and political rights, commitments and privileges associated with ‘belonging’ to said nation state. Eligible applicants from Commonwealth countries may apply to become ‘Registered Bahamians’ via The Department of Immigration.

Similarly, eligible applicants from non-Commonwealth countries may apply to become Naturalized Bahamians.
Typically, once an applicant is approved as a registered or naturalized citizen, they retain said status for the duration of their lifetime. However, provision is made under section of the Statute Law of The Bahamas – Immigration Act Chapter 191 for the revocation of said status due to extenuating circumstances.

Investigations:

The Department of Immigration’s Enforcement Unit primarily consists of the Investigations Section, Legal Affairs and Deportation Unit. Collectively, these three sub-units work together to ensure that the ends of justice are met as it relates to the arrest, timely prosecution and repatriation of individuals found in contravention of the Statute Law of The Bahamas – Immigration Act Chapter 191.

Detention Center:

To lawfully detain individuals suspected of visa violations, or any other breech of the Immigration Act, until a decision to release or repatriate is made by Immigration authorities.

Asylum:

To assist the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in determining whether persons seeking political asylum in The Bahamas qualify under International and Bahamian laws and policy. As signatories to the 1951 Geneva Convention and its 1967 Protocol, The Bahamas, through The Department of Immigration has established a Refugee Administration Unit to properly screen, identify and process eligible candidates for asylee status (a person who is seeking or has been granted political asylum) and aid victims of trafficking in persons.

Trafficking in Persons:

Trafficking in persons (TIP), also known as human trafficking, refers to the recruitment, transfer/transport, harboring/receiving of persons by force, kidnapping, fraud or any other means of manipulation/ deceit with the aim of exploiting them.

Immigration Officers trained in TIP work with other law enforcement agencies to identify victims and perpetrators of human trafficking, provide protection for the victims and prosecute their transgressors