bahamas travel requirements by boat

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bahamas travel requirements by boat

Pleasure Vessel Clearance - The Bahamas Customs Department

Pleasure vessels (digital submission process).

  • Log onto our portal using the “Cruising Permit” button on the landing page for the Official Customs Website (  No username or password is required to log in.
  • Select “Pleasure Vessel” from the menu below the login fields.
  • Once logged in, select the “Pleasure Craft” to open the module and start in “Create Inbound” to begin declaring your vessel arrival.
  • Fill out all fields following the tabs to the right to continue the process from the Header Tab to the Summary Tab. Once completed, validate and submit your voyage.
  • You will then be allowed to pay for your Cruising Permit in the ‘Payments Tab’.

For Approvals on Cruising Permits, you must visit the designated customs port and the document must be stamped and signed by a Customs Officer in order for the document to be legalized. Approvals can only happen after payment.

  • After submission is payment. Select the “Payment” module and click “Pleasure Craft Payment”. Where it asks for a Business Transaction Number, enter the Rotation Number you would have gotten from your Online Submission and submit.
  • Check the Header tab to verify the details you submitted and Summary Tab to view your pending fees. Lastly, pay online using the payment portal entering your preferred payment method. (Visa Debit/Credit Card). If you cannot pay online or simply choose to pay in cash, the submission can be paid for upon arrival arranged by the marina where you intend to dock. (NOTE: A vessel cannot be approved by a Customs Officer until it is paid in FULL.)
  • If you submitted and paid for a previous voyage, but were unable to depart due to circumstances, you can show proof of your previous Cruising Permit Application and apply for a Waive Off Request. This will nullify all fees for your for the next voyage so that payment will not be necessary. 
  • After payment you can search for your existing submission by clicking “Search Inbound”. You can then print your Cruising Permit by selecting the handle (three dots) and selecting “Print”.
  • You can also view your information if you ever lose track or log out of the interface entering in your information from your draft or unpaid submission. (NOTE: The submission is no longer editable after payment.)
  • The Fishing Permit is only attainable (in the Header Tab) after the vessel has been approved by a Customs Officer upon arrival. This does not have to be stamped and signed by a Customs Officer due to the fact that is only receivable after the voyage is approved and the Cruising Permit number is shown on the Fishing Permit.
  • Under the ‘Pleasure Craft’ module, select ‘Create Outbound’ entering in your Rotation Number as well as the Vessel Registration Number of your previous voyage and submit.
  • Select the handle (three dots) on the right hand side and clone your Inbound Submission. This will create your outbound declaration.
  • Change the date of Departure and all pertinent information following the steps you would have completed before ensuring that all information is true and correct. Complete your submission by validating and submitting at the Summary Tab. (Outbound voyages should not calculate any fees as long as the passenger count does not increase and on the condition that the stores on board are the same).
  • PLEASE NOTE : Outbound Clearance is only required if Clearance Documents are needed for the next Port of Destination outside of The Bahamas. There is a fee of $75.00 for this process. The Clearance Certificate will be issued manually.
  • You can also search for an existing outbound voyage by selecting the ‘Pleasure Craft’ Module and clicking ‘Search Outbound’. Enter your Country of Registration, Rotation Number and Vessel Registration before submitting.
  • You can then view the details for your existing outbound voyage or if it is still in draft, edit at any time prior to payment.
  • Under the ‘Refund’ Module, select Pleasure Craft Refund to apply for a refund. Enter all pertinent information marked with red asterisks and save your submission. Ensure that you input your reason for the refund in the field provided.
  • Navigate to the ‘Attached Documents’ tab and attach all your documents pertaining to this particular refund request.
  • Lastly, review the summary tab and submit. Your request is then processed. Once approved, your funds will be returned to the account from which payment originated.
  • You can also search for an existing refund record by selecting ‘Pleasure Craft Refund Search’. Enter your rotation number (Business Transaction Number) and submit. You can then view all information you would have submitted for this refund.

Please Note: Refunds are possible only for vessels that entered and paid in Click2Clear (C2C).


Pleasure vessels are vessels used for pleasure and recreation purposes only.

A vessel being used for commercial purposes or for hire is not a pleasure vessel and is not eligible for a Temporary Cruising Permit.  This vessel must be entered as commercial vessel on a C2 and not a C2A .

Vessels carrying cargo are not pleasure vessels.  Vessels carrying goods not intended for the use on the voyage is considered cargo and must be manifested hence removing the status of PLEASURE VESSEL.


  • Vessel imported by a person not a resident of The Bahamas
  • The person importing the vessel cannot be employed in The Bahamas for a period exceeding six months.

The vessel cannot be used for commercial purposes or hire

Process for pleasure vessels arriving under its own power

  • Complete upon arrival Inward Declaration and Application for Cruising Permit (Form C2A) and Maritime Declaration of Health Form
  • Must entered at a designated Port of Entry. Click here to see list of designated Ports of Entry.
  • Upon approval, a Temporary Cruising Permit (Form C39) and Fishing Permit will be issued for the vessel.
  • At the time of clearance, supporting documents must be present (originals) and the fees associated with the clearance process must be paid.
  • In addition to the Cruising Permit fee, a passenger arrival tax of $20.00 per person is applicable for any pleasure vessel that brings more than three crew/passengers of or above the age of six years who is not a resident of The Bahamas.
  • Once at a Port of Entry , the captain must report directly to Bahamas Customs for the vessel clearance.
  • Until the vessel has been cleared by Bahamas Customs and Immigration, the only person permitted to disembark is the captain.
  • If this is your second voyage within 90 days the cost of the Temporary Cruising Permit is exempt but passenger arrival tax is not.
  • Must clear outbound from the last port before leaving The Bahamas on an Entry Outwards of Pleasure Vessel (Form C28A) .
  • At this time, surrender your Temporary Cruising Permit if you do not intend to return within 90 days. There is no cost for this process.

Application Form(s)

  • Form C2A – Inward Declaration and Application for Cruising Permit
  • Maritime Declaration of Health Form

Supporting Documents

  • Proof of citizenship/Identification for all on board (crew/passengers)
  • Vessel Registration/Title

Related Fee(s)

The fee associated with receiving a Temporary Cruising Permit and Fishing Permit is –

  • $150.00 (3 months)
  • $300.00 (12 months)
  • $300.00 (3 months)
  • $600.00 (12 months)
  • $500.00 (3 months)
  • $1,000.00 (12 months)
  • $800.00 (3 months)
  • $1,600.00 (12 months)
  • $1,000.00 (3 months)
  • $2,000.00 (12 months)

It should be noted that these fees include:

  • Cruising Permit fees
  • Fishing Permit fees
  • Attendance fees for both Bahamas Customs and Immigration Officers
  • Transportation fees for both Bahamas Customs and Immigration Officers
  • Re-entry of vessel if within 90 days.


Regulations associated with Pleasure Vessels carrying firearms and ammunition are as follows:

  • A maximum of three firearms inclusive of handguns, rifles and shotguns, which such calibre of firearms shall not exceed three hundred & eight calibers is allowed with two hundred and fifty (250) accompanying rounds of ammunition per firearm.
  • All Automatic weapons are prohibited.
  • Open center consoles vessels are NOT allowed to carry firearms.  If firearms are found on vessels deemed unfit by the Customs Department, they will be detained at the Local Police Station until departure out of the Country.
  • All firearms are to remain on board said vessel.
  • It is illegal to take firearms off vessels without the necessary permits and duty payment.
  • The Master of all Pleasure Vessels are to ensure firearms on board are declared, along with correct serial numbers and ammunition.
  • Failure to do so can result in Forfeiture, fines and in certain circumstances, imprisonment.


  • Pleasure Vessels are only required to clear outward prior to departure on Form C28: Entry Outward of Pleasure Vessel if they require Clearance Documents at their next Port of Destination after leaving The Bahamas.
  • Temporary Cruising Permit must be present at the time of application.
  • Upon approval of the C28A a Certificate of Clearance of a Pleasure Vessel will be issued manually.
  • The cost for this process is $75.00 .

NOTE:  The vessel will be checked at this time to ensure that all the items declared on arrival such as firearms, ammo and accessories that are listed on the Cruising Permit are on board at the time of departure.

Additionally, all seafood onboard will be verified in accordance with the fishing regulations as outlined on the back of the Fishing License issued on entrance.


After the twelve month period, the Comptroller, on application in writing, can subsequently renew the Cruising Permit for a fee of BS$500.00 each year up to two years, making a period of stay in The Bahamas, three years in total. At the end of the three-year period the vessel must leave the Bahamas or be duty paid.

A Fishing License must be purchased Department of Marine Resources:

Please note the fees according to the Law:

  • Fisheries Resources (Jurisdiction and Conservation)

Pleasure Vessels arriving not under their own power for temporary importation

  • Importer cannot be a resident or holder of permanent resident status in The Bahamas
  • Importer cannot be employed in The Bahamas for a period exceeding 6 months
  • Vessel cannot be used for commercial purposes or for hire

Application Process

  • Must submit a Request to Import Goods for a Temporary Use of Purpose (Form No. C41) (this is usually done by a Customs Broker)
  • Letter outlining the purpose for the importation
  • Particulars of the vessel (value, registration or proof of ownership)
  • The approximate date on which and the port at which the vessel will be re-exported.
  • Provide a Bond for the Re-exportation of Goods Imported for a Temporary Use or Purpose (Form No. CB7)
  • Upon approval of C41 you will be issued with Temporary Import Permit for Pleasure Vessel (Not imported under its own power) (Form No. C42)

This permit is valid for up to 12 months.  The cost associated with the issuance of the C42 is $50.00.  This cost has nothing to do with the CB7 or the C41 preparation.


All Domestic-Based Pleasure Vessels must clear in on form C2A and are eligible for individual exemption of $500.00 per person similarly to when returning from abroad via the airport.

Domestic-Based Pleasure Vessels must be duty-paid and are not eligible for the issuance of a Temporary Cruising Permit. Domestic based pleasure vessels must complete information in Part C of C2A.


  • Pleasure Vessels engaged for Charter are required to fill out Report Inwards of Vessel (Form C2) and also to produce a valid Charter licence issued by The Bahamas Port Department.
  • A Transire (C38) will be issued that will enable the vessel to cruise through-out The Bahamas.
  • A Fishing Licence must be purchased for sport- fishing.
  • The fee for for Dive Charter Vessels is $50.00 per person.
  • The cost for the Inward Report (C2) is $75.00.
  • The Transire (C38) is free.
  • The requisite fee per charter (4%) is also payable on arrival.
  • Charter vessels are required to clear outwards on Form C28 .
  • A Certificate of Clearance will be issued.
  • The cost for the Report Outward is $75.00.
  • There is no cost for the Certificate of Clearance.

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The Boat Galley

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bahamas travel requirements by boat

Taking Your Boat To The Bahamas: Checklist

Published on February 19, 2018 ; last updated on March 26, 2021 by Carolyn Shearlock

A checklist of the documents and other things you need to have before taking your boat to the Bahamas. Downloadable PDF if you want.

Heading off to the Bahamas aboard your own boat and want to know all the documents and other things you need to have?

Here’s my checklist . . .

NOTE: This list assumes a US boat, US citizens, coming from the US and going directly to the Bahamas. There may be requirements that I don’t know about for other combinations.

  • Passport for each person on board, valid at least 3 months beyond your expected stay in the Bahamas. Read complete requirements , including those for non-US citizens.
  • Boat documents for the big boat and dinghy. Original of US Coast Guard documentation and/or state registration, valid throughout the entire period you expect to be in the Bahamas. It’s a good idea to have a couple of copies of each.
  • Boat insurance documents. Some marinas may require proof of at least liability insurance. I can’t find that proof of insurance is required for entry into the Bahamas but it’s always a good idea to have it.
  • Pet import permit. If you have a pet onboard, you need a permit. Read how to get it in this post and be sure to note the new address that is different from what is printed on the form. (You are still technically required to have a permit for pets – such as cats – that won’t leave the boat and one will definitely be required if you should have to fly out for any reason, such as an emergency at home or medical issue that can’t be treated in the Bahamas.)
  • US Customs decal. Boats 30 feet or longer in length must pay an annual fee of $27.50 for a border crossing  decal (also called a “user fee decal” by the government; cruisers just call it the “customs decal .”) You need the number from this on your return to the US (or US territory, such as Puerto Rico or the USVI). Get it online here .  It must be renewed every year (no need to renew if you’re not out of the US). The sticker will be mailed to you, which can take some time. All you really need is the number, which will be emailed to you within a day or two of your online purchase. NEW: you can now get it as part of signing up for the ROAM app — read more about that here .
  • VHF/SSB license & MMSI number. You need a US license to operate (transmit) your VHF and SSB in the Bahamas. The MMSI number for your VHF – important for emergency transmissions – also needs to be an “international” number issued by the FCC. The MMSI numbers issued by BoatUS do not qualify; however, if you already have one from Boat US, it’s a real pain to switch – you generally have to send the radio back to the manufacturer. Get your US Ship’s Radio License and MMSI number here – information is on this page, with the links to forms about one-third of the way down the page. (It takes a while to get the paper licenses, but you can get the license number and other info online in just a couple of days; a printout of this is sufficient.)
  • Ham radio. If you have a ham radio, you must receive a Bahamas reciprocal license to use your ham radio in the Bahamas (even for email). Allow at least 2 months for processing. Send a copy of your US license, copy of your birth certificate or passport photo page, $25 international money order and a letter requesting a reciprocal license to:

Public Utilities Commission P.O. Box N.4860 Nassau, Bahamas

It’s always best to send by FedEx, UPS or DHL. US Mail is extremely slow to reach the Bahamas. If your shipping company questions you, no, there are no ZIP codes or postal codes in the Bahamas.

  • EPIRB. Make sure it’s registered and that the batteries test good. It won’t do you any good if it’s not registered. (This is a safety item, not a legal requirement.)
  • Q flag on Amazon
  • Bahamas courtesy flag on Amazon
  • ROAM app. The old SVRS and Local Boater Option programs have been discontinued, replaced by the ROAM app for checking back into the US. The CBP ROAM app can be used by citizens of any nation aboard small boats flagged in any nation — it is not only for US citizens or US boats. No need to check in anywhere in person! Read all about it here  — it’s quick to set up and can be done anywhere that you have an internet connection.
  • Download Bahamas customs form.

Each person aboard must complete an Immigration Arrival Card. It is not available online, but both it and the customs form can be obtained from The Bahamas Tourist Office in Plantation, Florida. Phone: 954-236-9292. They will mail the forms to you.

  • Fishing. Your Bahamas cruising permit will include a fishing permit. Learn about bag limits, seasons and more here . Read about ciguatera, a nasty fish-borne illness, here or listen to a podcast about it here .

NOTE: Legal requirements can always change and I make no guarantees about this list having absolutely everything.

bahamas travel requirements by boat

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Reader Interactions

Anonymous says

February 19, 2018 at 12:36 pm

A very helpful list but I’m assuming if you are a non-US boat you don’t need a US license to operate VHF in the Bahamas. One from our country of registration would be ok?

The Boat Galley says

February 19, 2018 at 1:05 pm

I believe that’s the case. Requirements can vary according to the boat and people’s nationality.

February 19, 2018 at 1:09 pm

Jane Hubbard says

February 19, 2018 at 9:10 am

Very informative…as always! Thank you!

February 19, 2018 at 3:45 pm

February 19, 2018 at 5:36 pm

Lisa Carruthers says

February 22, 2018 at 4:07 pm

Great info! Thank you! One question, we have alcohol on board as a matter of routine. Is it a problem to bring “ships stores” of liquor in and out of Bahamas.

Carolyn Shearlock says

February 22, 2018 at 7:38 pm

I’ve never heard of anyone having a problem with it, and many boats head over with 10 to 20 cases of beer as it’s so expensive in the Bahamas. You might want to tuck it in lockers, but truly I’ve never heard of anyone even being asked about it.

Donna Blaszcak says

March 2, 2018 at 10:56 pm

Thank you again Carolyn. Unfortunately, when I tried to ship the HAM license via UPS, they told me I had to send via USPS because there was only a PO box # – I will probably be back here before I get it : (

March 21, 2018 at 7:43 pm

Love this! Do you have a checklist for Mexico? 😁

March 21, 2018 at 7:56 pm

No I don’t, but let me check in with some friends and see if I can put one together!

April 16, 2018 at 2:59 pm

Looks like an updated SVRS is up and running

Steve Tudor says

October 30, 2018 at 5:03 pm

I looked on your site for information about vaccinations before traveling but didn’t see anything (you have pets well covered!). If any U.S. residents are interested the CDC has a thorough and informative site at Thanks for a wonderful and informative website. I have learned a lot just reading it.

October 30, 2018 at 5:19 pm

Yes, I couldn’t begin to keep a list up to date. The CDC one is what I always refer to.

Danielle Palmer says

December 14, 2018 at 2:18 pm

Hi Carolyn,

Your website has been a wealth of knowledge for us. Thanks so much for sharing the information. We used the Bahamas Pet Import website with fantastic results. We uploaded the permit application on Monday and received the approved permit back on Thursday of the same week! The communication from Wellington was excellent and we saved money using his service. Thanks again for doing our homework for us! 🙂

Kirk and Danielle M/V Sea Horse

Merri Purdy says

January 3, 2019 at 9:10 am

I would like to know if you have a specific checklist of food items that are NOT allowed into the Bahamas. We will be crossing from Florida within the next few days and recently discovered it may not be possible to bring fresh fruits, veggies or dairy into the country. Can you enhance our understanding of what we can or CANNOT bring with us?

January 3, 2019 at 11:37 am

It is very rare to actually be inspected at check-in. The official Bahamas website do not mention any restirctions:

Noonsite says that you cannot bring meat and meat products except for your own consumption so you should be fine there. None of the other reputable sources that I checked mentioned any restriction on foods brought in, as long as they are for your own consumption. I’m on several Bahamas cruising groups in Florida and Marathon is a major staging area for crossing to the Bahamas and I have not heard of anyone having a problem with any food they’ve taken. I’m not making any guarantees, but simply have not heard of anyone having a problem or even being asked. Just say that everything on board is for your own consumption.

February 1, 2019 at 12:25 pm

Thanks very much for the helpful checklist list. I have two comments. 1) We usually inform our credit cards that we are going to a new state/country. There have been occasions where Chase has shut down our card out of fraud concern when a charge suddenly pops up in a new place. This can be very inconvenient. Often the notificationcan be done within an app or online. 2) With respect to pet imports, I want to thank you for mentioning the services of Wellington Saunders. We used him for import permits for two dogs just a couple of weeks ago and he was awesome. What a terrific service! We will definitely use him again.

Sal crosby says

February 7, 2019 at 6:22 pm

In addition to BTC for cell service, we have found Aliv service to be easier to use and you may also set up auto renew which we do monthly. In addition, calls to USA and Canada are included in your minutes.

February 7, 2019 at 8:57 pm

I’d love to try Aliv, but they don’t have any offices in Bimini it the Berries, and Mr. Sim Card doesn’t work with them to get a card in the US.

November 19, 2019 at 2:16 pm

I would like to create a checklist of items I will need to insure I take with me if I need to make an emergency flight back to the U.S. while in the Bahamas on our personal sailboat. The only items I have confirmed is my passport, copy of cruising permit and itinerary/proof of return ticket. Is there anything else you may be aware of? Thank you in advance.

November 19, 2019 at 4:17 pm

Be sure to take your immigration card with you to the airport when you fly out — you’ll have to turn it in at the airport. If you have a pet, be sure to take all their documents, too.

March 5, 2020 at 10:43 am

Thanks for all the great information, Carolyn. We have cruised the Bahamas for the past 2 1/2 months with our canine companion and your advice has been invaluable. It’s time now to leave The Bahamas and the question arises…do we need to officially Exit the islands and turn in our immigration cards? If we do not officially Exit, will this affect our Entry into the US? We are a Canadian couple on a Canadian registered sail boat returning to a Florida port. As a side note, when we entered the US from Canada we were told we did not require a decal because we were sailing a US-built boat. Could you also comment on the decal, please?

March 5, 2020 at 11:17 am

You can mail the immigration cards if you don’t officially check out (and many people forget to mail them and it doesn’t seem to hurt anything).

I don’t know anything about not needing the decal since the boat is US-built as I’m American. I have no idea on the requirements for Canadians. However, if someone does decide you need the sticker, you should be able to just pay for it then.

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Salt Water Sportsman

Prepare for a Crossing to the Bahamas by Boat

  • By Chris Woodward
  • Updated: June 10, 2021

Captain filling out paperwork for a Bahamas crossing

Many boating anglers are tormented by tropical dreams—the kind that feature white sand, tuna-rich, sapphire waters, and lobster-encrusted coral reefs. Those vivid images replaying in their minds suggest the Bahamas, so many of the afflicted buy boats based on their overnighting amenities and seaworthiness, anticipating a crossing to the islands.

Summer ranks as the top time to trek across the Gulf Stream. This year, due to the urgent itch to travel and the uptick in boat sales spurred by the pandemic, the Bahamas could see a major surge in boat traffic. At the same time, rules for visiting the islands by boat remain fluid, dependent on COVID-19 statistics. Visit for the current regulations.

Planning for any crossing should include three main elements: creating a checklist for boat maintenance, safety gear, tools and supplies; charting a course using an app or navigation software; and preparing customs and immigration paperwork.

Seasoned captains and fishermen with dozens of crossings under their belts offer valuable tips to prepare your vessel. “You’ll want to look at all your safety gear to make sure it’s in good condition and, in my opinion, you should never cross without an EPIRB,” says Capt. Dean Panos of Miami, who has crossed to the Bahamas six to 12 times a year for nearly three decades and, at press time, was planning a trip to Chub Cay on his current boat—a SeaVee 370Z with triple Mercury 300s.

Panos also recommends buying a vessel-tracking system. He uses AtlasTrax, which allows family at home to monitor his path. Longer-ranging trips necessitate a satellite phone, which you can rent. A backup handheld GPS also makes sense, in case something goes wrong with your electronics.

Keep a waterproof boat bag handy to hold your boat registration, insurance papers and passports. You’ll also want a good first-aid kit, and you need to carry quarantine and Bahamas courtesy flags. The former should be flown as soon as you’re in sight of land.

“If I’m close to needing engine service, I get that done before the season,” says Carlos Carbonell, a South Florida angler who describes himself as a weekend-warrior dad. He makes three to four Bahamas trips a year on his Invincible 39. “I tell the mechanic to give me spare spark plugs and fuel filters—a kit of things—for my three outboards. We also take spare props.”

Panos suggests anglers with triple-outboard setups bring spare right and left props downsized slightly in pitch. Lower-pitch props help you plane and run on two engines, if necessary. He also carries five or six extra fuel filters because gasoline at some remote-island ports might be contaminated.

Be sure to pack a toolkit to do basic repairs, and create a checklist for the remaining gear and tackle you want to take. That should include power cords, extra dock lines, and cleaning supplies.

Experts recommend crossing with a buddy boat when possible. But if you can’t, file a float plan with someone at home. That might be as simple as outlining a route, with departure and arrival times, and island contacts.

Panos uses the Navionics app to plan trips. He downloads the route to his onboard electronics and leaves a copy with the family.

Be sure to register your EPIRB and any personal locator beacons online with NOAA, and make sure you provide updated emergency contacts.

Hoisting flags when entering the Bahamas

As the boat owner, you must fill out the forms that allow you into the Bahamas for your vessel and crew. You can find the customs clearance forms, COVID-19 Travel Health Visa (which, at press time, required a negative test no more than five days prior to arrival), and cruising permit information at Submit the information, pay the entry fee (based on vessel size), and print these forms before you leave.

You still must meet with Bahamas customs and immigration personnel when you arrive. Only the captain can leave the vessel and clear the boat and crew. When you depart, you must return your completed immigration form.

Read Next: Safe Passage to Bahamas

Panos recommends you initiate the paperwork you’ll need for US Customs ahead of time, using the CBP Roam app ( ), available free from Apple and Google Play stores.

“Before you leave [the States], pre-load the passengers and passport photos. When you clear back in, report your arrival via the app,” Carbonell says. “The process has gotten a lot better.”

By the Book

Once you leave the dock en route to the Bahamas, don’t even think about fishing before clearing customs. You need both a fishing license and an approved travel permit from customs before you can legally wet a line.

You must fly a yellow quarantine flag when entering the Bahamas. Hoist it when you sight land. Once you’ve cleared customs, it can be supplanted with the Bahamas courtesy flag, if you choose. Upon arrival, only the captain may leave the boat until paperwork is in order. Everyone on board must show a valid passport. To simplify the entry process, obtain fishing licenses and travel permits before you go at .

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Home  / Boating Resources  /  Cruising Permits



To enter The Islands Of The Bahamas, private vessels need  digital submission of forms and on-line pleasure vessel clearance from Click 2 Clear .  For detailed information and instructions, visit Click 2 Clear information page .

Visiting boaters must clear Customs and Immigration at the nearest designated Port of Entry. As you enter each port, fly the yellow quarantine flag and notify Customs of your arrival. Only the captain is perm itted to leave the boat until your vessel has been cleared.

Customs and Immigration officials will come to your vessel. Everyone on board must have proof of citizenship - US citizens must present a passport. 

If you have a firearm on board (shotguns and handguns only) you must declare it with Bahamian Customs. You must provide the serial number, name of the manufacturer, plus an exact count of ammunition. While you are allowed to have a firearm on your boat, you cannot remove it. Weapons must be under lock and key at all times. In cases of emergencies, which require your departure by air, you must notify Bahamian Police or Customs. They will accompany you to retrieve the firearm and present you with a receipt. Upon your return to the island, Bahamian Police or Customs will escort you to your vessel and return your firearm. Any infraction of this law will be dealt with severely.

Bahamas Cruising Permit Fees as of January 1, 2020:

The following fees will be applied to boats staying in The Bahamas for up to 3 months:

Boats up to 34 feet: $150

Boats 35-99 feet: $300

Boats 100-149 feet: $500

Boats 150-200 feet: $800

Boats over 200 feet: $1,000

The fees cover both a cruising permit and fishing permit, as well as the departure tax for up to three people. Each additional person will be charged a $20 departure tax. The fee is good for a second re-entry within a 90-day period.

For stays longer than 3 months:

Boats up to 34 feet: $300 annually

Boats 35-99 feet: $600 annually

Boats 100-149 feet: $1,000 annually

Boats 150–200 feet: $1,600 annually

Boats over 200 feet: $2,000 annually

For a stay longer than 12 months, special arrangements must be made with Bahamas Customs and Immigration.

Please note that Attendance Fees, Fishing Permit, Transportation and Overtime fees are all included in the price of the cruising permit. The only additional fees would be for additional departure tax if there are more than 3 persons at a cost of $20 per additional person.

It is illegal to tip government employees. Boaters are asked to report if they are ever asked for these types of payments to the local marina manger or dockmaster.



Travelers are advised to purchase return tickets (and seek reimbursement upon returning home for the unused ticket) even when they are confirmed to return via private boat. However, if the traveler arrives at Bahamas Immigration on a single ticket, the owner/operator of the boat must present himself/herself and the vessel’s cruising permit. A copy of the cruising permit will be permitted for crew members who may be arriving by plane and returning by boat as their names will appear on the manifest. A letter will not suffice.

Upon your arrival to The Bahamas, you will be asked to fill out an Immigration Arrival/Departure Card, which you will keep until your departure. All visitors are required to be in possession of a return ticket.


A valid passport is required. A visa is required for stays exceeding eight months.


An Alien Registration Card (Green Card) AND a valid passport from their country of citizenship are required.

For visits EXCEEDING 30 days, a valid passport AND a Bahamas visa are required.


A valid passport is required for proof of citizenship. Voter registration cards, birth certificates and photo identifications are no longer accepted as proof of citizenship.

A Bahamas visa is required for stays exceeding three months.


Citizens of the United Kingdom and colonies require a valid passport.

A visa is required for stays exceeding eight months.


For entry formalities, please contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the nearest Bahamas Embassy, Consulate or High Commission.



Ministry of Foreign Affairs Consular Section Norfolk House, Frederick Street P.O. Box N-3746 Nassau, Bahamas Phone: (242) 323.5578/5565 Fax: (242) 326.6186


Embassy of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas 2220 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC 20008 Phone: (202) 319.2660/7 Fax: (202) 319.2668 [email protected]


Bahamas Consulate General 25 S.E. Second Avenue Ingraham Bldg., Suite 600 Miami, FL 33131 Phone: (305) 373.6295 Fax: (305) 373.6312   [email protected]


Bahamas Consulate General Bahama House 231 East 46th Street New York, NY 10017 Phone: (212) 688.5926 Fax: (212) 688.5926 [email protected]

Bahamas High Commission Metropolitan Life Centre 50 O’Connor, Suite 1313 Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1 6L2 Phone: (613) 232.1724 Fax: (613) 232.0097 [email protected]


Bahamas High Commission 10 Chesterfield Street London, W1J 5JL England Phone: (011) 44 207.408.4488 Fax: (011) 44 207.499.9937 [email protected]

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Entering and Exiting the Bahamas by Boat

When cruising the Bahamas, youll need three flags: a yellow quarantine flag, your home countrys flag, and a Bahamian courtesy flag. When nearing your port of entry, hoist the yellow quarantine flag and report to a Customs and Immigration facility as soon as possible after entering Bahamian waters.

Once docked or anchored, only the captain is allowed to go ashore to meet with Customs and Immigration to clear the vessel; all other crewmembers must stay aboard until this is completed.In addition to the ships documentation/registration paperwork, the captain should also take passports for all persons aboard, an import permit for any pets, and information on any firearms onboard (make, model, serial number, number of rounds of ammunition, etc.). Leave all firearms on the boat; do not take them with you while clearing in.

We also recommend that you dress neatly, and always treat officials with courtesy and respect-you are a guest in their country after all. Things move at a slower pace in the islands than you may be accustomed to; expect it and don’t get flustered about it. Youll find a smile and common courtesy will serve you well during the process, but a bad attitude may add to any delays. After clearing in and receiving your cruising permit, take down the yellow Q flag and hoist your Bahamian courtesy flag, which should remain flying during the length of your stay.

For pleasure boats arriving in the Bahamas, the fee is $150 for those under 30 feet or $300 for boats over 30 feet. This covers the cost of the initial-entry cruising permit, plus a return visit within 90 days. It also includes a three-month fishing permit and any attendant fees payable to a Customs officer (overtime and travel costs required for the attendance of an officer). Your entry fee also pays the $20 departure tax should you need to fly home; be sure to take a copy of your cruising permit to the airport, if this is the case.

The fee covers entry for three persons. Each additional person will be charged $20; however, there is no charge for children under 6 years old. Its a good idea to verify all fees by contacting Bahamas Customs prior to departing the U.S.

Exiting Bahamas, entering U.S.

You don’t have to clear out of the Bahamas when heading back to the good ole US of A, but you do have to clear in with U.S. Customs and Immigration. The easiest way to do this is by registering with the Small Vessel Reporting System (SVRS) (aka the Local Boater Option) before heading over to the Bahamas. The benefit here is that you can likely clear in over the phone (if all requirements are met). U.S. vessels longer than 30 feet must also display a Customs User Fee Decal and be prepared to give the decal number when clearing back in to the U.S. This can also be purchased online and in advance of your cruise using the Decal and Transponder Online Procurement System (DTOPS).

Here are some helpful resources:

Bahamas Customs:

Small Vessel Reporting System:

Decal / Transponder Online Procurement System:


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Aerial view of Half Moon Cay, Bahamas

What is required to travel to The Bahamas?

Prior to your journey, it's crucial to familiarize yourself with our Bahamas entry requirements for a seamless travel experience. To ensure a smooth entry into the Bahamas by plane, a valid passport is mandatory for all visitors, and an immigration form and oral baggage declaration must be completed upon your arrival.

American Passport

Do I need a visa to visit the Bahamas?

American passport holders can enter The Bahamas visa-free for stays of up to 8 months. For U.S. citizens, a valid U.S. Passport is essential for re-entry into the United States. The Bahamian Government may also ask for proof of a return airline ticket to demonstrate your intent to leave the country after your visit, and sufficient funds to support the duration of your stay in The Bahamas. It's important to note that voter registration or a certified birth certificate is no longer accepted as proof of U.S. citizenship. 

Everyone is required to complete and sign an immigration form upon arrival in The Bahamas, and they must retain a portion of the card until their departure. All individuals must also complete a written baggage declaration form. For those without a passport, please refer to * for the latest information on the passport application procedure. 

Canadian visitors will only need a visa if their stay extends beyond 8 months. However, they must have specific documents, including a Canadian passport valid for at least 3 months after departing The Bahamas (for direct travel) or at least 6 months if transiting through other countries like the U.S. Permanent Canadian residents will also need a Permanent Resident card and a return airline ticket to show proof of plans to leave the country after the duration of their stay. 

Visa Requirements

  • Tourist visa: not required for stays up to 8 months 
  • Business visa: not required 
  • Student permit: required 

See the Government of Canada’s Travel website * for more details. 

* You are now navigating to a third-party website which is not owned, operated and controlled by Holland America Line and its affiliates.

Official stamping of a passport

What do I need to enter The Bahamas as a non-U.S. citizen living in the U.S.?

Non-U.S. citizens who are currently living in the U.S. have specific Bahamas entry requirements: 

For stays up to 30 days, they must bring an Alien Registration Card (Green Card) along with a valid national passport from their country of birth. For stays that exceed 30 days, they will need a valid national passport and a Bahamas Visa. 


Visiting The Bahamas from Latin America

When visiting The Bahamas, citizens from Latin America need to have a valid passport that covers their planned stay. For stays under 3 months, a Bahamas visa is not mandatory. However, if you are leaving The Bahamas to travel to a country that enforces a passport validity requirement of 6 months beyond your travel dates, you must adhere to that rule. Additionally, it’s essential to have a return or onward journey ticket, hotel confirmation (if applicable), and be prepared to provide proof of funds to support your trip if requested. 

Visiting the Bahamas from Other Countries

For entry into The Bahamas directly from or via the U.S., citizens from countries other than the U.S. and Canada must have a valid passport that remains current throughout their travel period. Additionally, some countries may require a Bahamas visa. If you leave The Bahamas for a country that mandates a passport validity of at least 6 months beyond your travel dates, that regulation will be upheld. You must also have a return or onward journey ticket and provide evidence of adequate funds to support your stay. 

See The Bahamas Government Website * for more information on Visa requirements by country.

Covid-19 Vaccination Record Card

Does The Bahamas Require Proof of Vaccination?

Visitors are not required to take COVID-19 entry tests and most travelers do not need specific vaccinations prior to their arrival in The Bahamas. However, all travelers over the age of one arriving from countries where there is a risk of Yellow Fever transmission must present a Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate. These visitors must be vaccinated at least 10 days before entering The Bahamas. 

Visit The Bahamas Government * website for the latest list of countries. 

bahamas travel requirements by boat

Arriving by Boat

Entering The Bahamas on a private boat like a yacht, a fishing boat, or cruise ship requires that you provide the following documentation: 

  • One copy of The Bahamas Customs Clearance Form 
  • One Bahamas Immigration Card per person 
  • Proof of Citizenship (passport) 

When you arrive in The Bahamas by boat, you will be asked to fill out an Immigration Arrival/Departure Card, which you will keep until you leave. You must go through Customs and Immigration at the nearest designated Port of Entry, show the yellow quarantine flag, and inform Customs about your arrival. Until your vessel is cleared, only the captain can disembark. Once cleared, passengers can embark on exciting excursions and explore the beauty of The Bahamas during their cruise stop. All travelers must be in possession of a return ticket. 

Visit the Association of Bahamas Marinas * website to learn more about entering The Bahamas by boat. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): The Bahamas Travel Requirements

For travelers planning to visit The Bahamas, here are some frequently asked questions to help ensure your travel experience is seamless.

Do I need to apply for a Bahamian Health Visa?

No, travelers do not need to apply for a Health Visa to visit The Bahamas. All visitors, regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status, can travel freely to and throughout The Islands of The Bahamas.

Are there any specific rules or restrictions on what items I can bring into The Bahamas?

Yes, The Bahamas has specific rules and restrictions on items that travelers can bring into the country. These regulations aim to protect the environment, agriculture, and public health. 

  • Customs Declaration : When arriving in The Bahamas, you will be required to complete a customs declaration form. This form includes information about the items you are bringing into the country, like gifts and personal items. 
  • Duty-Free Allowances : The Bahamas has duty-free allowances for certain items, including alcohol and tobacco products. Be sure to check the specific limits and restrictions on these items before your trip. 
  • Prohibited and Restricted Items : There are items that are strictly banned from being brought into The Bahamas. These may include illegal drugs, firearms, certain types of weapons, and items that pose a threat to public health and safety.  
  • Medications : If you are bringing medications into the Bahamas, it's important to have a valid prescription and carry them in their original packaging. Some medications may be restricted or require special permits. You may need to call The Bahama’s Embassy to confirm that all of your prescriptions are legal to bring with you. 
  • Pets : If you plan to bring pets with you, proper preparation is key before you travel. All animals brought into the country require an import permit from the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources, which remains valid one year from the date of issue. 

Are there any specific emergency contact numbers or resources I should have on hand while in The Bahamas?

Yes, it is essential to have specific emergency contact numbers and resources on hand while in The Bahamas. Here are some important ones to note: 

  • Emergency Services : In case of any emergency, dial 911 to reach the local emergency services, including police, fire, and medical assistance. 
  • U.S. Embassy in The Bahamas : If you are a U.S. citizen and need consular assistance during your stay, you can contact the U.S. Embassy in The Bahamas. The embassy is in Nassau, and their contact information can be found on the official U.S. Embassy * website. 
  • Your Country's Embassy or Consulate : If you are a citizen of a country other than the United States, ensure you have the contact information for your country's embassy or consulate in The Bahamas. They can provide support in case of emergencies or other issues. 
  • Local Hospitals and Medical Facilities : Keep a list of local hospitals and medical facilities in the area you are visiting, along with their contact numbers. In case of a medical emergency, it is essential to know where the nearest medical facility is. 
  • Local Authorities and Tourist Hotline : Familiarize yourself with the contact information for local authorities and tourist hotlines in The Bahamas. These numbers can be useful for general inquiries, reporting non-emergency incidents, or seeking assistance with tourist-related matters. 

Before traveling, save these emergency contact numbers in your phone and also keep a printed copy of the information in your travel documents. Additionally, consider sharing these details with your travel partners in case of any unforeseen situations during your trip.

Book Your Dream Bahamas Trip Today

With our comprehensive list of Bahamas travel requirements, get ready for a smooth arrival, thrilling adventures, and memories that will last a lifetime. Book a cruise to The Bahamas with Holland America Line and set sail on an unforgettable journey.

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Rules For Entering The Bahamas By Boat


Recent boardings in the Bahamas, one of the most popular destinations for East Coast boaters, has cruisers wondering what to expect.

Compass with gold arrow pointing to the word LAW

Photo: Xtock/iStock

Angela O'Connell and John Hallbauer, a Florida couple who has cruised the Bahamas for years, were boarded by the Bahamas Customs and Border Patrol in April 2018 while anchored at the remote island of Great Sale Cay in the Abacos. O'Connell recounted that seven agents boarded their boat, inspected their paperwork, and began to, as the couple put it, "aggressively go through" their lockers and drawers.

The agents found a discrepancy in the number of declared shotgun shells (for a gun kept on board for security) reported to Bahamian officials on entry. At that point, she told us, things got even more aggressive. Hallbauer and O'Connell, one of whom is a retired attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, said the agents told them they would have to go back and appear before a magistrate in Freeport, Bahamas, and possibly spend six months in jail if they did not pay a $300 cash fine on the spot.

O'Connell said they were told that this type of inspection was "a new policy" started in early 2018 and that border agents were now going out to remote islands. She also said the agents could not cite any guidelines to show that the fine was legitimate. O'Connell said she and Hallbauer, both in their 70s, were terrified and had to scramble to find the cash before they were given a receipt and allowed to go. They noted that several other boats in the anchorage were also boarded by the same agents.

While this was an unfortunate — and intimidating — event for the couple, their experience is a good reminder for foreigners who cruise the Bahamas or other ports outside of the U.S. The couple's bullet miscount was likely an innocent mistake, but firearms laws are very strict in the Bahamas, as they are in many parts of the world. It could have meant the missing ammunition had been fired during the couple's visit or that it was sold to, given to, or stolen by someone local — all serious infractions. In this case, the fine may have been legitimate and allowed them to continue their trip without having to return to a magistrate's office on another island.

Customs Receipt Showing $300 Fine

A copy of the receipt Angela O'Connell and John Hallbauer received from the Bahamas Customs and Border Patrol officers for the $300 fine they paid after having their vessel boarded and searched in April 2018.

While boardings in the Bahamas may seem unusual to visiting boaters, it's likely because of the vast area officials have to cover, and stretched boarder-agent staffing, that recreational vessels are not frequently boarded. But it does happen, and visiting boaters need to be prepared for it.

Even though the agents may have been aggressive and were not able to cite an established fine structure in this case, it's important to note that the officials did give the couple a receipt for the $300 cash fine they paid. Boardings may be becoming more frequent as officials try to make sure foreign visitors are following Bahamian rules to the letter.

So, What Are The Rules?

Part of the problem may stem from the lack of easily accessible information about regulations in the Bahamas. While the official Bahamian website has information about how visiting cruising boats must declare all guns and ammo on board, there is nothing about fines, especially on-the-spot fines that may be levied by agents in remote islands. The website for the U.S. Embassy in the Bahamas, however, points out that the Bahamas has recently increased both the penalties and sentencing for violators of local firearm laws. It is unclear if any of these changes apply to other violations. As of press time, numerous emails and phone calls from BoatUS to various customs officials and other Bahamas government offices inquiring about new policies and fines have gone unanswered.

We spoke to Sarah Lewis, co-author with her husband, Monty, of Explorer Chartbooks , the most comprehensive set of guides and charts of the Bahamas. She had not heard of increased boardings but isn't surprised about any ramping up as officials check for firearms and drugs. "The Bahamas Defense Force is their first line of enforcement," she said. Lewis could not speak for the validity of the $300 amount paid by the couple but did say that, over the past two years, customs has become a bit more uniform in the fees it imposes.

"For instance," she said, "check-in fees used to depend on when and where you checked into the country, PLUS overtime and transportation costs of the agents if the check-in was after hours or in a remote location. An official once told me that these fees were 'at the whim of the officer,' and I used that quote in our guidebook so boaters would be prepared."

Lewis also said, "The greatest abuse was the 'flexibility' of the cruising permit fees. Monty and I always give boaters the same advice, that in the Bahamas you need to abide by the rules to the letter, make sure your paperwork is completely accurate, and be as polite as you can to the officials."

In today's world, it's doubly important to painstakingly obey all laws of foreign countries that you might visit. Make sure your documents and manifests are 100 percent accurate. Keep in mind that in other countries you may not have the same rights, such as due process, as we have in the United States. If you break the law, the results may not be what you expect at home, nor will you be given any "passes" for not knowing the rules.

If you're faced with an instant fine in the Bahamas, your choice is to pay it on the spot or appear before a magistrate. If you don't think the fine is legitimate, after you pay it, contact the Bahamian Ministry of Tourism .

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Charles Fort

Contributing Editor, BoatUS Magazine

Charles Fort is BoatUS Magazine's West Coast Editor. He often writes local news items for BoatUS Magazine's Waypoints column and contributes to Reports, in-depth tech features in every issue written to help readers avoid accidental damage to their boats. He is a member of the National Association of Marine Surveyors, he's on ABYC tech committees, and has a 100-ton U.S. Coast Guard license. He lives in California.

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The Bahamas

Travel Advisory January 26, 2024

The bahamas - level 2: exercise increased caution.

Updated with additional water safety information.

Exercise increased caution in The Bahamas due to  crime . 

Country Summary : The majority of crime occurs on New Providence (Nassau) and Grand Bahama (Freeport) islands. In Nassau, practice increased vigilance in the “Over the Hill” area (south of Shirley Street) where gang-on-gang violence has resulted in a high homicide rate primarily affecting the local population. Violent crime, such as burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assaults, occur in both tourist and non-tourist areas. Be vigilant when staying at short-term vacation rental properties where private security companies do not have a presence.   

 Activities involving commercial recreational watercraft, including water tours, are not consistently regulated. Watercraft may be poorly maintained, and some operators may not have safety certifications.  Always review and heed local weather and marine alerts before engaging in water-based activities. Commercial watercraft operators have discretion to operate their vessels regardless of weather forecasts; injuries and fatalities have occurred. Due to these safety concerns, U.S. government personnel are not permitted to use independently operated jet-ski rentals on New Providence and Paradise Islands.   

Never swim alone, regardless of your age or level of swimming skills.  Keep within your fitness and swimming capabilities. Be mindful of sharks when swimming and engaging in water activities, as there have been recent fatal and non-fatal incidents involving sharks.  Be aware of weather and water conditions and heed local warnings. 

Read the country information page  for additional information on travel to The Bahamas. 

If you decide to travel to The Bahamas:  

  • Do not answer your door at your hotel/residence unless you know who it is.  
  • Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.  
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)  to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.  
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook , Twitter , and Instagram .  
  • Review the Country Security Report  for The Bahamas.  
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency and medical situations.  Review the Traveler’s Checklist .  
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.

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Quick Facts

Passports must be valid at time of entry through departure (throughout the duration of stay).

Two pages are required for entry stamp.

Visitors must declare currency and other negotiable instruments of $10,000 or more upon entry.

Visitors must declare currency and other negotiable instruments of $10,000 or more upon exit.

Embassies and Consulates

U.s. embassy nassau.

P.O. Box N-8197 #42 Queen Street Nassau, The Bahamas Telephone: +(242) 322-1181 Emergency After-Hours Telephone:  +(242) 322-1181 Email:  [email protected]

Destination Description

Learn about the U.S. relationship to countries around the world.

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Visit the  Bahamas Immigration  website for the most current visa information. U.S. citizens are generally required to present a valid U.S. passport when traveling to The Bahamas, as well as proof of anticipated departure from The Bahamas. Those traveling to The Bahamas on a cruise may use another  Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative  (WHTI) compliant document, such as a U.S. passport card. However, we strongly recommend you obtain a passport before travel in case of an unforeseen emergency that requires you to disembark and return by air. U.S. travelers coming for tourism will not need a visa for travel up to 90 days. All other travelers will need a visa and/or work permit.

The Bahamas requires compliance with regulations to divert child abduction similar to  U.S. policies . Review those policies before traveling.

HIV/AIDS restrictions: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of The Bahamas. Find information on  dual nationality ,  prevention of international child abduction , and  customs regulations  on our websites.

Safety and Security

Crime:  The Department of State rates the criminal threat level in New Providence Island (includes Nassau and Paradise Island) as critical. The vast majority of crime occurs on New Providence (Nassau) and Grand Bahama (Freeport) Islands. Criminal activity on the outlying Family Islands does occur, but to a much lesser degree than on New Providence or Grand Bahama. In Nassau, exercise caution in the “Over the Hill” area (south of Shirley Street). Violent crime such as burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assaults occur, but generally not in tourist areas. For the latest  security messages , visit our website. Find more information about common safety and security concerns in The Bahamas including  credit card fraud ,  real estate matters , and  water sport and scooter safety  on our website. Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance. Report crimes to the local police at 919 or 911, and contact the U.S. Embassy at +(242) 322-1181. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.

See our webpage on  help for U.S. victims of crime overseas .

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide information on  victim’s compensation programs in the United States
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence:  U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.

Adventure Tourism:  Activities involving commercial recreational watercraft, including water tours, are not consistently regulated. Watercraft are often not maintained, and many companies do not have safety certifications to operate in The Bahamas. Reconsider going on the water in rough seas or inclement weather, as accidents and fatalities have occurred in such conditions. U.S. citizens seeking to engage in adventure tourism-related activities, including boat tours, are strongly encouraged to confirm the following with any tour operator:

  • Credentials and certification to operate in The Bahamas
  • Liability in the event of an accident
  • Safety and rescue protocols for guides

Jet-Ski Operators:  Jet-ski operators have been known to commit sexual assaults against tourists. As a result, U.S. government personnel are not permitted to use independently operated jet-ski rentals on New Providence and Paradise Islands.

Watersports Advisory: Carefully assess the potential risks of recreational water activities and consider your physical capabilities and skills. Be aware of sharks when in or on the water, as shark bites do occur and can result in serious injury or death. Never venture out alone, particularly at isolated beaches or far out to sea. Avoid entering the water above your waist if you have been drinking and always be mindful of jet ski and boat traffic in the area. Do not engage in water activities during times of inclement weather or rough seas. Commercial watercraft operators have discretion to operate their vessels regardless of weather forecasts; injuries and fatalities have occurred.

Hurricanes:  Hurricane season generally runs from June through November, although hurricanes can occur outside that period. Monitor local weather reports closely. Airports and seaports cease operations well before a predicted storm arrives, and seats on most commercial transportation may sell out far in advance. For more information on hurricane preparedness, please refer to the Department of State’s page on  Crisis Abroad and the U.S. Embassy Nassau’s  Hurricane Preparedness  page.

Tourism:  The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in/near major cities. First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities and to provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance . 

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties:  You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business.

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on  crimes against minors abroad  and the  Department of Justice  website.

Drugs:    Marijuana and all products that contains its derivatives such as cannabidiol (CBD) and  tetrahydrocannabinol  (THC) -- to include gummies, oils and other edible products -- are NOT legal in The Bahamas.  Having a prescription or medical card for cannabis/marijuana does not exempt you from being prosecuted under Bahamian law, which makes no distinction between medical and recreational use of marijuana.

The possession or use of illegal drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, and ecstasy, is a criminal offense in The Bahamas and can result in time in prison. While visiting The Bahamas, you are subject to Bahamian law.  Drug violators are regularly arrested, even for possession of small quantities . All persons 16 years of age or older in The Bahamas are tried as adults in court. If you are arrested for drug possession, you should expect to spend at least one night, and possibly longer, in custody. Stay away from drug traffickers, who may be often armed and violent. Do not accept packages from people you meet during your stay.

Firearms, Ammunition, and other weapons are not permitted in The Bahamas .  According to The Bahamas Firearms Act, individuals found to have a firearm or ammunition in their possession without a legally issued Bahamian gun license face a penalty of up to 10 years’ incarceration and $10,000 fine.  Declaring the weapon in your luggage with an airline carrier does not grant permission to bring the weapon into The Bahamas.

If you have a firearm or ammunition onboard a boat entering Bahamian waters, you must declare it with Bahamian Customs at the first point of entry.  Only declared shotguns and handguns are allowed in Bahamian waters.  You must provide the serial number, name of the manufacturer, and an exact count of ammunition.  Declared firearms cannot be removed from your boat and must be kept locked at all times.

If a U.S. citizen illegally brings a firearm or ammunition into The Bahamas, the U.S. Embassy will not be able to secure their release.  All foreign nationals are subject to Bahamian law and must follow local law enforcement procedures.  Please read more information on the Department of State’s page for Travelers With Firearms here .

Arrest Notification:  If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our  webpage  for further information. Travelers should also be aware that Bahamian laws do not include a right to a public defender in lower courts. Any legal representation is at the expense of the visitor.

Faith-Based Travelers:  See the following webpages for details:

  • Faith-Based Travel Information
  • International Religious Freedom Report  – see country reports
  • Human Rights Report  – see country reports
  • Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
  • Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad

LGBTI Travelers:  There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in The Bahamas.

See   our  LGBTI Travel Information   page and section 6 of our  Human Rights report  for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance .  Accessibility and accommodations in The Bahamas are very different from in the United States. Newer buildings, especially in tourism-centric areas are accessible, but many older buildings are not.

Students:  See our  Students Abroad  page and  FBI travel tips .

Women Travelers:  See our travel tips for  Women Travelers .

For more information about  customs concerns ,  boating , and  wildlife , please visit our website.

Medical care is available on New Providence and Grand Bahama islands. However, serious illnesses or injuries might not be treatable locally. Serious health problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost tens of thousands of dollars in up-front costs. Outer islands have only small clinics, and medical care is limited.

Ambulance service is available on the major islands, but traffic congestion on New Providence Island can cause delays.

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on overseas insurancecoverage. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

If traveling with prescription medication, check with the government of  The Bahamas  to ensure the medication is legal in The Bahamas. Always carry your prescription medication in its original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

  • World Health Organization
  • U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: Driving in The Bahamas is on the left-hand side of the road. Traffic congestion in Nassau is severe, and drivers frequently display aggressive or careless tendencies. Accidents involving pedestrians on New Providence Island are common. Drive defensively and be alert to cars pulling out from side streets. Local practice is to allow this on an individual basis. It is not uncommon to see poorly maintained or excessively loaded vehicles on roadways. Rural roads can be narrow, winding, and in poor condition. Road flooding occurs frequently in many areas, including Nassau and Freeport, during and after rainstorms. Be alert for unmarked or poorly marked construction zones.

Traffic Laws: Seatbelts are required for drivers and passengers in The Bahamas. Wearing helmets on a scooters and motorbikes is also compulsory.

Public Transportation: Public transportation is available by minibus (known as jitneys) and taxi. Jitneys stop frequently and often without warning at undesignated stops. Taxi fares are based on zones and surcharges can apply for additional passengers and luggage. It is important to agree on a fare prior to departing for the destination.

See our  Road Safety page  for more information. Visit the website of The Bahamas’  Ministry of Tourism  for more information.

Aviation Safety Oversight: Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of The Bahamas’ Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of The Bahamas’ air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the  FAA’s safety assessment page .

Maritime Travel:  Mariners planning travel to The Bahamas should also check for  U.S. maritime advisories and alerts .  Information may also be posted to the  U.S. Coast Guard homeport website , and the  NGA broadcast warnin gs .

For additional travel information

  • Enroll in the  Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)  to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Call us in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (from all other countries) from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
  • See the  State Department’s travel website  for the  Worldwide Caution  and  Travel Advisories .
  • Follow us on  Twitter  and  Facebook .
  • See  traveling safely abroad  for useful travel tips.

Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in  The Bahamas . For additional IPCA-related information, please see the  International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act ( ICAPRA )  report.

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Check passport expiration dates carefully for all travelers! Children’s passports are issued for 5 years, adult passports for 10 years.


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Updated Travel Advisory

The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation has taken note of the recent increase in COVID-19 cases around the world and is implementing new testing requirements for all persons entering The Bahamas as a precautionary effort to continue to keep the destination safe.

Effective Monday, December 27, 2021, the following protocols will take effect:

a) All those travelling to The Bahamas from other countries, whether fully vaccinated or unvaccinated, will be required to obtain a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than three days (72 hours) prior to the date of arrival to The Bahamas.

b) Vaccinated travellers can present either a Rapid Antigen Test or RT-PCR test, while unvaccinated travellers must present a RT-PCR test.

Effective Friday, January 7, 2022, the following protocols will take effect:

a) All those travelling to The Bahamas from other countries, whether fully vaccinated or unvaccinated, will be required to obtain a negative RT-PCR (including PCR, NAA, NAAT, TMA or RNA) test, taken no more than three days (72 hours) prior to the date of arrival to The Bahamas.

b) Rapid Antigen Tests will no longer be accepted. All travellers must obtain a RT-PCR test.

For full details on entry requirements to The Bahamas please visit

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Do You Need a Passport To Go to The Bahamas?

Bahamas Guides

Your guide to business, life and visiting the Bahamas.


Do You Need a Passport To Go to The Bahamas?

The gorgeous Caribbean sun, crystal-clear waters, and the fact that it’s so close to Florida, and yet, a world of its own, place The Bahamas among the top five travel destinations for Americans.

It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about honeymoons, partying with the gang, a summer family getaway, or a solo trip to lose yourself—the country has something for everyone.

However, before The Bahamas can wash away the dust of everyday life from your soul and you spend endless hours sunbathing and sipping daiquiris on the country’s pristine sands, you’re going to have to figure out the answer to one question—do you need a passport to go to The Bahamas?

Before you dream up your beautiful Caribbean vacation, get all your travel requirements in place so that no travel-document-related rude shocks cut short your vacation short.

Here’s what you need to know about passport requirements in The Bahamas.

Table of Contents

So, Do You Need a Passport?

Long story short, whether or not you require a passport to enter The Bahamas depends on what mode of travel you’re using. For air travel, passports are mandatory, but for sea travel, a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative-compliant document , such as a passport card or a passport book, is acceptable.

For a closed-loop Bahamas cruise (one that departs from the country and arrives in the country via the same port), there are identification options other than passports, so a passport isn’t mandatory.

However, carrying your passport with you on your Bahamas trip is highly recommended. Keep reading to find out why.

Bahamasair plane

What Are the Passport Requirements for The Bahamas?

The Bahamas is a gorgeous destination—unsurprising, then, that over seven million tourists visited the island nation in 2022 alone.

It’s not just the year-round summer temperatures, refreshing azure waters, pristine sands, and one of the friendliest local populations that draw tourists from the United States to the country—it’s the relatively hassle-free travel process.

However, for first-time travelers to the country, the passport requirements set forth by the Bahamian government can be confusing since whether or not you need a passport and visa is defined by how you enter the country as well as how you plan to leave it.

Can you go to The Bahamas without a passport? Here’s what you should know about passport requirements in The Bahamas for different methods of arrival.

Traveling by Air

If you’re flying to The Bahamas, a valid passport book is mandatory for all travelers. You should also ensure that your passport has at least two blank pages to receive the necessary entry stamps and any other formalities. Some airlines may not allow you to board their flight without these. The passport will also prove your country of citizenship when you arrive in The Bahamas.

Lynden Pindling International Airport

Traveling by Sea: Do You Need a Passport to Cruise to The Bahamas?

If you’re sailing to The Bahamas on a cruise and entering via one of its ports, a passport isn’t necessary. Bahamian authorities accept alternative forms of WHTI-compliant identification, such as:

  • a passport card (as they’re valid for road and sea travel),
  • an Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL) with security features (also known as a Real ID),
  • a trusted traveler’s card (such as Sentry, Fast, or Nexus),
  • a United States military ID with travel orders,
  • an Enhanced Tribal Card,
  • a United States Merchant Mariner document,
  • citizenship/naturalization certification supported by a government-issued photo ID, and
  • an American Indian Card or Native American Tribal photo ID.

However, note that if you’re re-entering the United States by air , you will need your passport. Without a valid passport, you will only be able to re-enter the country by sea, as you arrived. EDLs will gain you re-entry into the United States through sea and land border crossings in some Caribbean countries, Mexico, and Canada, but it won’t gain you re-entry via air travel.

Cruise docked in Coco Cay, The Bahamas

Who Doesn’t Require a Passport to Enter The Bahamas?

The Bahamas exempts certain categories from its passport rules. These include:

  • Children below 16 Years: Children below 16 who are accompanied by their parents can present their naturalization certificate, birth certificate (government issued, raised, and sealed), or citizenship certificate if they are entering and exiting The Bahamas by sea.
  • Children below 19 Years: Children below 19 years of age can also present their birth certificate, certificate of citizenship, or naturalization certificate as proof of identity if they are traveling with a cultural, church, or school group.

It bears repeating that these exceptions are only for sea travel; passports are compulsory for all travelers if they’re flying into the United States.

That said, the United States government recommends having a valid passport card or book even while traveling by sea. Passports serve as both proof of identity and proof of citizenship, so you don’t need to carry any other document nor face the risk of it not being accepted.

In the next section, we discuss some more reasons why a valid passport, even if not compulsory, is the best travel document to have with you.

Bahamas Immigration desk

Why You Should Carry Your Passport to The Bahamas

As we’ve seen, The Bahamas, in certain cases, accepts documents other than passports. Many seasoned travelers and the United States Department of State alike will advise you to keep your WHTI-compliant documents close and your passport closer!

No other document comes in as handy as a passport should you face unforeseen circumstances in a foreign country.

Imagine that you’re on this beautiful vacation in The Bahamas. You sailed in and plan to sail out again. However, an unfortunate incident back home, or even you or your fellow travelers suddenly falling severely sick, requires you to immediately leave the country and go back home.

A flight back home is the fastest, cheapest, and most easily accessible option in such a circumstance. However, no matter how grave the incident demanding your attention is, you won’t be allowed to fly back into the United States without your passport on you. You’ll just have to wait for the next cruise going your route—until then, you’re stuck abroad.

Even if you do manage to get a boat back as soon as possible, it’s possible (you wouldn’t believe how often!) that you may miss it and need to fly to the next stop to board the liner. Again, the lack of a passport will mean that you can’t board any island hoppers to catch up with your cruise.

This can also work the other way—in case you miss your boat in the United States and need to fly to the next port to embark, you’ll need your passport.

Say you do board your boat and make it to United States soil in the first case mentioned above. Doesn’t matter—without a passport, no one (citizens of any level included) is allowed to enter the country, so you’re back to square one.

See how important a passport is?

As a rule of thumb, it’s always a good idea to keep your passport with you when you cross your country’s borders and go into foreign territory, even if it isn’t mandatory for modes of travel other than flying.

In fact, many airlines don’t allow American citizens without valid passports to fly to The Bahamas as a way to keep them from being stuck there and not being able to board a flight back home.

Having a passport is also recommended for the following reasons:

  • Entering foreign ports that your cruise travels through (we discuss this in detail a little later)
  • Involuntary disembarkation from the liner because of misconduct, medical emergencies, or other reasons

Bahamas Immigration stamp in US passport

Are Any Other Documents Required for Travel to The Bahamas?

For travelers from the United States traveling to The Bahamas for tourism, travel within the country is exempt from visa requirements for eight weeks .

People traveling to the island nation for other purposes (such as work, business, or medical purposes) will have to present a visa and/or a work permit and supporting documents specified by the Bahamian government for each case.

The Bahamian government also requires travelers to present a valid return ticket, or at the very least, proof that they have funds sufficient to purchase a ticket back home. For travelers from certain countries, proof of onward travel may also be required by immigration authorities of The Bahamas.

For minors traveling alone (such as for a field trip or with a cultural group, etc.) or with just one parent to The Bahamas, an authorization letter from both parents or the other parent, respectively, may be required.

What Happens If You Don’t Have a Passport?

If you’re traveling by sea, not having a passport won’t get you in trouble as long as you have other accepted documents and no emergency arises that requires you to fly back home.

The lack of a passport will leave you stuck in the country, as explained earlier.

Can You Get off a Cruise Ship in the Bahamas without a Passport?

Cruising is one of the best ways to get to The Bahamas—a perfect opportunity to pre-game before the big party! Since it’s located just off Florida’s coast, the island nation is also very easily accessible by sea.

But can you get off a cruise ship in The Bahamas without a passport?

As explained earlier, you don’t need a passport to travel to The Bahamas by sea, whether this is on a private charter, party boat, fishing boat, or star cruise/liner. WHTI-compliant documents such as your passport card, passport book, EDL, Nexus card, and citizenship/naturalization certification supported by a government-issued photo ID are sufficient to prove your citizenship.

USA Nexus card

However, this only applies to something known as a closed-loop cruise. A closed-loop cruise starts and ends at the same point.

Therefore, for example, if you’re sailing from Port Canaveral in Florida to Nassau’s Prince George Wharf in The Bahamas, and again, depart from Prince George Wharf and re-enter the United States through Port Canaveral, your cruise is a closed-loop cruise.

Closed-loop cruises need to depart and arrive at the same port, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t make stops in countries along the way. You can enter these countries as long as you meet their visa requirements, and more importantly, their passport requirements.

Almost all countries require travelers from foreign lands to present their passports so that very well means that as other passengers enjoy mini-vacations in Belize and Honduras, you’re stuck on the ship!

Therefore, to answer the question, you can get off in The Bahamas without a passport, but not in other ports along the way that require passports and visas.

Does the 6-Month Passport Rule Apply for The Bahamas?

Many countries allow travelers into the country only if they have a valid passport with at least two blank pages and a six-month validity . This rule is enforced so that travelers don’t overstay their visits, whether they do so consciously or are left with no other option (for example, being stuck because the passport expires during the trip).

The Bahamas doesn’t require travelers to adhere to the six-month validity rule. However, the passport must be valid when you enter the country and for the length of your stay, which, for citizens of the United States, means a maximum of eight months granted by the immigration officer (this can be lengthened with an official request to extend your stay submitted to the immigration office and visa approval for the same).

However, all major tour operators, cruise lines, and airlines recommend that guests that travel to The Bahamas, whether from the United States or other ports, have a validity of at least six months post the end of the trip.

This is also necessary if you plan to disembark at ports of call on the way to The Bahamas, as some countries, like Belize and Honduras, require a minimum validity of six months on travelers’ passports.

What Are the Passport Requirements for Non-US Citizens?

So far, we’ve talked about passport requirements primarily for citizens of the United States. What about non-US citizens?

Even for non-US citizens who are flying to The Bahamas from the United States, passports are mandatory to enter the country and re-enter the United States (departing or returning to the United States from any international destination, by air, requires a passport).

Permanent residents recognized by law will also be required to present their valid green cards and passports at ports of call they visit—even if these ports don’t require passports for United States citizens.

Other non-citizens will have to present other required specific documentation, along with their passports, for re-entry.

Exceptions may be made for re-entry to the United States for those traveling on the Visa Waiver Program .

Canadians require a passport to enter The Bahamas by air, with at least three months of validity left in the book beyond the expected departure date from Canada. Permanent Canadian residents must also present their Permanent Resident Card along with their valid passports.

If you’re traveling to The Bahamas from other countries and returning to these countries (and not the United States), check what regulations pertain to your country.

Tips to Remember

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

  • If a birth certificate is your document supporting proof of citizenship, it needs to be government issued (by the Vital Records Department of the state you were born in). Birth certificates issued by the hospital won’t be accepted; nor will baptismal papers.
  • Make several copies of all your important documents so that you can use these, where necessary, and keep the original documents in a separate, safe place (such as your hotel room locker). If, by some chance, the original documents are stolen or lost, the copies will be extremely helpful. Important documents to copy include your driver’s license, tickets, passport, visa, and any other proof of citizenship and identity that you’re carrying.
  • If you lose your documents and passport or lose them on your vacation, report it immediately to the local law enforcement authorities. After this, get in touch with the United States Department of State Lost or Stolen Passport Unit . You can contact them either through their website or via phone.

The Bottom Line

So, do you need a passport for The Bahamas? By now, you know that it all comes down to how you’re entering the country. Flying in (and back to the United States) will require a passport, no exceptions, while sailing into the country’s waters doesn’t require a passport—WHTI-compliant documents will suffice.

However, carrying your passport with you is highly recommended, even if it isn’t necessary. Your passport is a document that holds far more weightage than other proofs of identity and citizenship. Additionally, you never know when you might need it—it’s especially handy to have in case of an emergency.

If you have any doubts or questions regarding passport and visa requirements, the official tourism site of The Bahamas and the Unites States government page for The Bahamas should be able to clear any confusion, as will an experienced, reputed travel agent.

Don’t let your passport keep you from enjoying a beautiful vacation. Safe travels!

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Bahamas travel advice

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Last updated: April 15, 2024 13:01 ET

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Safety and security, entry and exit requirements, laws and culture, natural disasters and climate, bahamas - exercise a high degree of caution.

Exercise a high degree of caution in the Bahamas due to high rates of crime, especially in Freeport and Nassau.

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There has been a decrease in violent crime since the beginning of 2018. Crime, however, including violent crime, still occurs, mainly on the islands of Grand Bahama and New Providence.

Armed robberies, burglaries, purse snatchings, theft, fraud and sexual assaults are the most common crimes committed against travellers in Freeport and Nassau. Incidents of robbery also take place in cruise ship terminals and in and around popular resort areas, even in daylight hours. Crime increases during the holidays.

  • Avoid Nassau’s “over the hill” (south of Shirley Street) and Fish Fry (Arawak Cay) areas, especially at night
  • Stay alert to your surroundings at all times
  • Don’t walk alone, particularly after dark
  • Don’t carry large sums of cash or wear expensive jewellery
  • Ensure that your personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
  • Avoid deserted beaches
  • If you are threatened by robbers, stay calm and don’t resist

Women’s safety

Sexual assault occurs frequently in The Bahamas, particularly near hotels, in hotel rooms, in casinos, on cruise ships and on the beach. Reported incidents are on the rise in Nassau, including on Paradise Island. In some cases, the victim was drugged.

  • Be wary when embarking on jet-ski rides with licensed or unlicensed operators, as several incidents of sexual assault have been reported
  • Avoid excessive consumption of alcohol and avoid using drugs
  • Don't accept rides from strangers or from unlicensed taxi drivers

Advice for women travellers

Spiked food and drinks

Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances. These items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.

Credit card and ATM fraud occurs in The Bahamas, especially in Nassau. Be cautious when using debit or credit cards:

  • pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others
  • use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
  • avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
  • cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
  • check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements

Overseas fraud

Water activities

The water sports rental industry is poorly regulated in The Bahamas. Tourists have been seriously injured using jet skis and other watercraft.

  • Rent water sports equipment from reputable, locally registered operators only
  • Insist on proper training before using the equipment
  • Ensure that beach and aquatic equipment is safe and in good condition
  • Ensure that helmets and life jackets are available

Water safety abroad

Boaters should be alert to the possibility of encountering water craft operated by illegal drug traders.

Remain vigilant and make use of officially recognized docking and berthing facilities only.

Live piracy report  - International Maritime Bureau

Several ports in The Bahamas are cruise-ship stops.

Advice for Cruise Travellers

Road safety

Roads are generally adequate in major cities, but in poor condition in rural areas. Road construction is not always well marked.

Bicycles, mopeds and pedestrians can be hazards, particularly on the busy streets of Freeport and Nassau. Drinking and driving is prevalent. Accidents causing fatalities are common.

  • Keep your car doors locked and your windows rolled up
  • Never get out of your car to remove items blocking the road, as this could be a ploy by armed assailants to rob you
  • Keep valuables out of sight in your parked vehicle

Public transportation

After dusk, avoid travelling on local buses on routes outside of the main tourist areas.

Taxis don’t use meters.

  • Negotiate the price before you get in
  • Only use licensed taxis
  • Never share a taxi with strangers

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

Information about foreign domestic airlines

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

We have obtained the information on this page from Bahamian authorities. It can, however, change at any time.

Verify this information with the  Foreign Representatives in Canada .

Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.

Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.

Regular Canadian passport

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave The Bahamas.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

Passport with “X” gender identifier

While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Other travel documents

Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Useful links

  • Foreign Representatives in Canada
  • Canadian passports

Tourist visa: not required for stays up to 8 months Business visa: not required Student permit: required

Other entry requirements

Customs officials may ask you to show them a return or onward ticket.

You must complete and sign an immigration card upon entry to The Bahamas. This card will be stamped by officials at the point of entry and you are required to keep the card until your departure.

If travelling by private vessel, certain documentation is required for entry to The Bahamas.

Department of Immigration - Government of The Bahamas

Departure tax

You must pay a departure tax when you leave the Bahamas unless it is included in your airfare.

Children and travel

Learn more about travelling with children .

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

Relevant Travel Health Notices

  • Global Measles Notice - 13 March, 2024
  • Zika virus: Advice for travellers - 31 August, 2023
  • COVID-19 and International Travel - 13 March, 2024
  • Dengue: Advice for travellers - 8 April, 2024

This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.

Routine vaccines

Be sure that your  routine vaccinations , as per your province or territory , are up-to-date before travelling, regardless of your destination.

Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.

Pre-travel vaccines and medications

You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary. 

Yellow fever   is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

  • Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country   where yellow fever occurs.


  • Vaccination is not recommended.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
  • Contact a designated  Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre  well in advance of your trip to arrange for vaccination.

About Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada * It is important to note that  country entry requirements  may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest  diplomatic or consular office  of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.

There is a risk of hepatitis A in this destination. It is a disease of the liver. People can get hepatitis A if they ingest contaminated food or water, eat foods prepared by an infectious person, or if they have close physical contact (such as oral-anal sex) with an infectious person, although casual contact among people does not spread the virus.

Practise  safe food and water precautions and wash your hands often. Vaccination is recommended for all travellers to areas where hepatitis A is present.

  Hepatitis B is a risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus.  Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.

Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.

 The best way to protect yourself from seasonal influenza (flu) is to get vaccinated every year. Get the flu shot at least 2 weeks before travelling.  

 The flu occurs worldwide. 

  •  In the Northern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs from November to   April.
  •  In the Southern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs between April and   October.
  •  In the tropics, there is flu activity year round. 

The flu vaccine available in one hemisphere may only offer partial protection against the flu in the other hemisphere.

The flu virus spreads from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Clean your hands often and wear a mask if you have a fever or respiratory symptoms.

In this destination, rabies  may be present in some wildlife species, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal. 

If you are bitten or scratched by an animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional. 

Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who will be working directly with wildlife. 

Safe food and water precautions

Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.

  • Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
  • Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
  • Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs. 

Typhoid   is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.

Travellers visiting regions with a risk of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.  

Insect bite prevention

Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:

  • Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
  • Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
  • Minimize exposure to insects
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed

To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.

Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.

There is a risk of chikungunya in this country.  The risk may vary between regions of a country.  Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.

Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.

  • In this country,   dengue  is a risk to travellers. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
  • Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to severe dengue, which can be fatal.
  • The level of risk of dengue changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. The level of risk also varies between regions in a country and can depend on the elevation in the region.
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites . There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue.

Zika virus is a risk in this country. 

Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also be sexually transmitted. Zika virus can cause serious birth defects.

During your trip:

  • Prevent mosquito bites at all times.
  • Use condoms correctly or avoid sexual contact, particularly if you are pregnant.

If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, you should discuss the potential risks of travelling to this destination with your health care provider. You may choose to avoid or postpone travel. 

For more information, see Zika virus: Pregnant or planning a pregnancy.

Animal precautions

Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.

Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with animals.

Person-to-person infections

Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette , which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:

  •   washing your hands often
  • avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
  • avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness 

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) , HIV , and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.  

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus)   is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). 

High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.

Medical services and facilities

Medical care is good in Freeport and Nassau, but limited elsewhere.

Medical expenses can be very high. It is normal for clinics to require patients to sign an undertaking-to-pay agreement and to take a credit card impression as guarantee of payment prior to providing medical care.

Serious cases may be transferred to Freeport or Nassau, or to Miami, Florida, by air ambulance, especially those requiring surgery.

Response times to emergency calls might be slow.

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

Travel health and safety

If you take prescription medication, you’re responsible for determining their legality in The Bahamas.

  • Bring sufficient quantities of your medication with you
  • Always keep your medication in the original container
  • Pack your medication in your carry-on luggage
  • Carry a copy of your prescription

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a   travel health kit , especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You must abide by local laws.

Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad .

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.

Pack all luggage yourself and don’t carry anything through customs for anyone else.

Drugs, alcohol and travel

2SLGBTQI+ travellers

Bahamian law does not prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. However, homosexuality is not widely socially accepted.

Travel and your sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is legally recognized in The Bahamas.

If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of The Bahamas, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements .

Travellers with dual citizenship

International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. The convention applies between Canada and the Bahamas.

If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in the Bahamas, and if the applicable conditions are met, you may apply for the return of your child to the Bahamian court.

If you are in this situation:

  • act as quickly as you can
  • contact the Central Authority for your province or territory of residence for information on starting an application under The Hague Convention
  • consult a lawyer in Canada and in the Bahamas to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
  • report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre

If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.

Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.

  • List of Canadian Central Authorities for the Hague Convention
  • International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
  • Travelling with children
  • The Hague Convention - Hague Conference on Private International Law
  • Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
  • Emergency Watch and Response Centre

Long-line fishing

Long-line fishing is illegal in Bahamian waters. All long-line fishing gear must be stowed below deck while transiting Bahamian waters. Stiff penalties are imposed for catching crawfish, lobster or other marine life in protected areas or out of season.


If you are interested in purchasing property or making other investments in The Bahamas, seek legal advice from appropriate professionals in Canada and The Bahamas before making commitments. Disputes arising from such activities could be prolonged and costly to resolve.

Traffic drives on the left.

You can drive in The Bahamas with your valid Canadian driver’s licence up to 90 days. If you intend to stay longer in the country, you must obtain a Bahamian driver’s licence.

You should carry an international driving permit.

In case of an accident, you must remain at the scene and not move your vehicle until the police arrive.

International Driving Permit

The currency in the Bahamas is the Bahamian dollar (BSD).

Hurricane season

Hurricanes usually occur from mid-May to the end of November. During this period, even small tropical storms can quickly develop into major hurricanes.

These severe storms can put you at risk and hamper the provision of essential services.

If you decide to travel to a coastal area during the hurricane season:

  • know that you expose yourself to serious safety risks
  • be prepared to change your travel plans on short notice, including cutting short or cancelling your trip
  • stay informed of the latest regional weather forecasts
  • carry emergency contact information for your airline or tour operator
  • follow the advice and instructions of local authorities
  • Tornadoes, cyclones, hurricanes, typhoons and monsoons
  • Large-scale emergencies abroad
  • Active storm tracking and hurricane watches and warnings  - United States’ National Hurricane Center

Local services

Dial 911 or 919 for emergency assistance.

Consular assistance

Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands

For emergency consular assistance, call the Consulate of Canada in the Bahamas, in Nassau, or the High Commission of Canada in Jamaica, in Kingston, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.

The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.

The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.

If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.

Learn more about consular services .

Risk Levels

  take normal security precautions.

Take similar precautions to those you would take in Canada.

  Exercise a high degree of caution

There are certain safety and security concerns or the situation could change quickly. Be very cautious at all times, monitor local media and follow the instructions of local authorities.

IMPORTANT: The two levels below are official Government of Canada Travel Advisories and are issued when the safety and security of Canadians travelling or living in the country or region may be at risk.

  Avoid non-essential travel

Your safety and security could be at risk. You should think about your need to travel to this country, territory or region based on family or business requirements, knowledge of or familiarity with the region, and other factors. If you are already there, think about whether you really need to be there. If you do not need to be there, you should think about leaving.

  Avoid all travel

You should not travel to this country, territory or region. Your personal safety and security are at great risk. If you are already there, you should think about leaving if it is safe to do so.


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