The primary mandate 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. Accordingly, the Department its mentioned mandate by grouping its responsibilities as follows;
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.
The Immigration Department is responsible for the processing, adjudication and issuance of permits to eligible non-Bahamian nationals for the purpose of working/ residing in The Commonwealth of The Bahamas. The following table gives a breakdown of the various work, residence and short term stay permits that the Department issues;
The Department of Immigration’s Enforcement Unit primarily consists of the Investigations Section, Canine Unit, Legal Affairs, Refugee Administration, Deportation Unit and Detention Center. Collectively, these 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.
Canine Unit (K-9 Unit)
The K-9 Unit was established in January, 2016 with a team of four (4) Officers. It has since grown to a team of thirteen (13) Officers between the New Providence and Grand Bahama Districts. There are currently seven (7) tactically trained canines attached to the Unit. The canines of choice for the Immigration Department are Belgium Shepherds, German Shepherds and Doberman Pinschers. Some of their specialties include: Tracking, Protection, Find & Bark, Riot Control, Combat Swimming, Border Patrol, Drug Detection and Firearm Detection.
In accordance with Section 45 Statute Law of The Bahamas – Immigration Act Chapter 191 (Official Gazette 8th May, 2015), Immigration Officers may lawfully house persons detained for violation(s) against the principal Act, in any facility deemed by the Minister responsible for Immigration as a Detention Center, pending his/her deportation from The Bahamas.
The Bahamas Immigration Refugee Administration Unit assists the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by processing applications from persons seeking asylum in The Bahamas; who qualify according to the 1951 Geneva Convention and its 1967 Protocol. The Unit also identifies, processes and assists human trafficking victims.
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.