It is in the Atlantic Ocean, halfway between Florida and Cuba. The Bahamas are made up of a group of islands. Only 30 of the 700 islands are home to people. Most foreigners who move to the Bahamas end up on New Providence Island, where about two-thirds of the people live there. More than 2,000 coral reefs run from Florida’s southeast coast to the northwest of Hispaniola. It makes it an excellent place for nature lovers to live. The islands have a tropical marine climate, which means that most of the time, it is warm and dry. They also have more than 3,500 km of shoreline. You should know that the islands often have bad weather, like hurricanes and other tropical storms.
The Tropical Islands of the Bahamas
After moving to the Bahamas, you can enjoy the Caribbean’s natural beauty. You can see a new side of this beautiful group of islands by visiting the different ones. The bigger islands make most of their money from tourism, so every year, many people visit. People who want to do something different can go to the Out Islands, which are farther away from the main island and offer more privacy.
New Providence Island and Paradise Island
Nassau, the country’s capital, is on New Providence Island, also home to most people. The city is significant because it is the government’s headquarters and business center. Although Nassau is a very modern city, its royal past is evident in its lovely old town.
Expats can quickly get to Paradise Island, which has more than beautiful beaches, by crossing a bridge. Fancy restaurants, high-end hotels, and long golf courses are also here. There’s a reason why Paradise Island has such an excellent reputation.
The Great Bahama Island
Nassau is a great place to see how old and new can coexist. Freeport, on Grand Bahama Island, is the place to go for everything modern and technological. There are restaurants, casinos, and scuba diving centers around the island, but there are still beaches and hidden spots on the island that have yet to be found. If you like water sports, the island is the place to be. There are many things to do there. In Lucayan National Park, swimmers must see one of the oldest underground cave systems in the world. The park is excellent for people who love nature.
The Out Islands
Is getting away from the daily grind why you want to move to the Bahamas? If so, avoid New Providence Island and Grand Bahama Island. Only 1 in 15 people live on the Out Islands, which the Bahamians have long called the “family islands.” Eleuthera, the Abacos Islands, and Andros Island are the most well-known of these islands. Most of the people who live there are fishers and farmers. Many people don’t visit these places, so they are mostly untouched and can show you the best of the Caribbean’s natural beauty. Islands with less than 100 people to islands with 11,000 people live there, so there is a lot of difference. On the plus side, many islands have hospitals, schools, and small planes connecting to other islands.
Getting a visa for the Bahamas
If this is your first time visiting the Bahamas for business or to learn more about the country, you may need to apply for a visitor visa. Check this list to see if you need one to enter the Bahamas and how long you can stay as a short-term tourist. Calling the Bahamian office near you is a good idea to find out exactly what you need to do to get a visa and what paperwork you need to send in. There are two types of work permits in the Bahamas: short-term and long-term. You will need more than a tourist visa to work there.
Getting a work permit for a long time
You must get a long-term work pass to work in the Bahamas for over 90 days. As is usually the case, you can only get a work permit if you have a job offer, and you must include a letter from your future boss explaining why you want the permit and what your job will be. Many other things are needed, like photos of the size of a visa and proof that no Bahamian could fill the job. This could change, though, so to get the most up-to-date information, go to the Bahamian Department of Information website or call the port or office closest to you. It might take three to four weeks to finish your application.
Immigration Laws of the Bahamas
There are strict rules about who can come to the Bahamas. Getting a work pass is difficult, even though the country is open to tourists, guests, and business people. A trained Bahamian citizen can quickly fill the job, and a stranger needs help getting a work pass. Because of this, it is almost impossible to find a job that doesn’t require a college degree.
Employers in the Bahamas have to post job openings in their own country before they can look for workers elsewhere. For those who have been chosen for the job, you will need to show proof of your unique skills. This proof can be anything from a college degree to a certificate in a different language. Remember that moving to the Bahamas is more complex than packing your bags and going. Unless you are a serious trader, that is.
Becoming a permanent resident
Do you want to leave everything and live in the Bahamas for good? Getting married to a Bahamian citizen is the clearest for permanent residence. There are other ways to become a regular resident, such as:
- Getting a house in the Bahamas
- Have lived or worked legally in the Bahamas for more than 20 years in a row, being employed in a specific job in the Bahamas for a certain amount of time (see here for details).
The person who applies for permanent residence gets it for life. You can work and live in the Bahamas as long as you want, but you can’t vote. This is because your permanent residence status can be taken away at any time. Along with your registration, there is a small fee of 100 BSD. For the most up-to-date information, visit the Department of Immigration page.
Local Transportation and Safety
Going by sea: Ferries, boats, and ships.
People love to travel by sea, and it’s been done that way for a very long time in the Bahamas. Many cruise ships stop in Nassau and Grand Bahama because so many tourists want to see the Bahamas’ beautiful wildlife. The whole region is popular with yachters who like the safe seas. Many tourists and expats like to take ships to get to the Bahamas. For example, you can take a boat from Florida to the Bahamas. With restaurants and even casinos that look like those in Las Vegas, these ships can give their customers all the ease and luxury they could want.
The Bahamas ships run the local ships that go between the islands. They are more casual, but they’re just as helpful. From Nassau, most of them go to one of the “family islands,” such as Andros, Eleuthera, Abacos, or Eleuthera. You can also take a private water cab from Nassau to Paradise Island and other islands out to sea.
Going by air? If you have time, only
These are the Bahamas’ main airports: Nassau and Grand Bahama Island. That is where most planes stop and take off. Bahamasair, the country’s leading airline, has an excellent safety record. But remember to factor in the possibility of last-minute cancellations or delays when booking a ticket.
There are national and private planes that fly between islands. That is because flying is the easiest and most handy way to get around the group, even though it costs more. Nassau is the only place where Bahamasair flies, so you must return to the city whenever you want to visit a different island. You can get to the Out Islands by smaller companies or private charter planes.
Getting Around: Bus, Taxi, and Bike
Taxis called jitneys run in Nassau and Freeport. However, they don’t have public transportation on the Out Islands, so most people just hail cabs on the street. As well as in the bigger towns, they are the primary way to get around on the Out Islands. In the Bahamas, every cab driver has a license, and their prices are set based on how far they go.
You may hire bikes to explore the islands. That is a cheap, easy, and environmentally friendly option. However, remember that only some of the bikes are good quality, so be picky when you book your rental. Also, only some of the streets are paved, so make sure you’re ready for anything!
Stay Safe: Keep your eyes open.
There are many pickpocketing and thefts in Nassau and Paradise Island because they are popular tourist spots. In the past few years, the crime rate has increased significantly. It started to go down in 2017, but you should still be careful when you’re out in public. More significant crimes, like sexual or physical attacks, also happen in cities, especially nearby tourist spots.
The Bahamas has always been an essential place for pirates and people smuggling goods, and drug traffickers still like to go there. That is something that expats should know, like when getting on private boats. When you walk around, try to be wise, and if you see anything wrong, tell the Royal Bahamian Police Force and, if possible, your ambassador. The police are very concerned about any threat or crime against expats, but they often have to wait a while to respond because they don’t have enough resources, and the infrastructure of each island is different.