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International Travel

English

Country Information

The Bahamas

Country Information

Bahamas
Commonwealth of The Bahamas
Last Updated: June 29, 2016
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Embassy Messages
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

Must be valid at time of entry

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

Two pages are required for entry stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

No

VACCINATIONS:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

None

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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) 357-7004
Fax: +(242) 356-7174

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Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on The Bahamas for information on U.S. - Bahamas relations.

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Generally, all U.S. citizens are 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. However, we strongly recommend visitors obtain a passport before travel in case of an unforeseen emergency that requires a cruise passenger 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. Please visit Bahamas Immigration.

The Bahamas requires compliance with regulations to divert child abduction similar to U.S. policies. Please review those policies before travelling.

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 nationalityprevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

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Safety and Security

CRIME: The criminal threat level for New Providence Island (includes Nassau and Paradise Island) is rated as critical by the Department of State. Crime in Grand Bahama has increased this past year. Criminal activity on the outlying family islands does occur, but to a much lesser degree than on New Providence or Grand Bahama.

Armed robbery and sexual assault are major criminal threats facing U.S. citizens in New Providence. The U.S. Embassy has received multiple reports indicating tourists have been robbed at gunpoint or knifepoint in tourist locations in the downtown areas of Nassau; several of these incidents occurred during daylight hours. The U.S. Embassy has received reports of sexual assaults in tourist areas as well. The Bahamas has one of the highest incidences of sexual assault in the Caribbean, according to 2012 United Nations report. The majority of sexual assaults reported occurred after excessive consumption of alcohol. The loss of ability to remember facts and details due to alcohol consumption makes prosecution of sexual assaults more difficult. For the latest security messages, visit our website.

The Bahamas, due to its numerous uninhabited islands and cays, has historically been favored by smugglers and pirates. As a tourist, you would not have noticeable interaction with organized crime elements; however, persons operating on their own in boats or planes should be alert to the possibility of encountering similar craft operated by smugglers.

Terrorism: The threat of terrorism is low, but you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could take place in public areas, including places frequented by travelers.

Find more information about common safety and security concerns in The Bahamas including credit card fraud, real estate and time share scams, and water sport and scooter safety on our website.

VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police at 919 or 911, and then the U.S. Embassy.

Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.

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

We can:

  • 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 U.S.
  • 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.

For further information:

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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.

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.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, request that police or prison officials 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.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES

Faith-Based Travelers: See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report.

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: While in The Bahamas, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from in the United States. The Bahamas passed the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities) Act in 2014 that should help to improve accessibility and accommodation. Newer buildings, especially in tourism-centric areas are accessible, but many older buildings are still not accessible to persons with disabilities.

Students: See our Students Abroad and Spring Break pages and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: The Bahamas has one of the highest incidences of sexual assault in the Caribbean, according to the 2012 United Nations statistics on crime, violence, and development trends. See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Jet Ski Operators: The U.S. Embassy has prohibited personnel under U.S. Embassy Chief of Mission authority from using the services of jet-ski rental operators in Nassau. This includes jet-ski operators on Cabbage Beach and Cable Beach. We strongly advise that U.S. citizens do the same and not patronize these services. Jet-ski rentals in The Bahamas are only minimally regulated.

Hurricanes: Hurricane season officially runs from June 1 to November 30, although hurricanes have been known to occur outside that period. During hurricane season, visitors are advised to monitor local weather reports closely in order to be prepared for any potential threats. Visitors should also be aware that airports and seaports cease operations well before a predicted storm actually arrives, and that seats on most commercial transportation are sold out far in advance.

For more information on hurricane preparedness, please refer to the following pages: Hurricane Season: Know Before You Go, and the U.S. Embassy Nassau’s Hurricane Preparedness page.

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

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Health

Adequate medical care is available on New Providence and Grand Bahama islands. Visitors should be aware that serious health problems requiring hospitalization and/or air ambulance evacuation to the United States can cost tens of thousands of dollars in up-front costs. Medical care on outer islands is sparse with only limited services available at small clinics. 

Ambulance service is available on the major islands, but is limited in more remote locations. The endemic traffic congestion on New Providence Island may also impede a quick response. Service is likely to be extremely slow in the event of a major emergency or disaster.

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare and Medicaid does not apply overseas.

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 insurance providers for overseas coverage.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

Carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription.

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

Zika Virus: Zika virus is a mosquito-borne illness that can be spread from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby as well as through sexual contact. The CDC has concluded that the Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects in some fetuses and babies born to infected mothers. For additional information about Zika, including travel advisories, visit the CDC website

Further health information:

 

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Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: Driving in The Bahamas is on the left side of the road (i.e. opposite to the United States). Traffic congestion in Nassau is severe, and drivers occasionally display aggressive or careless tendencies. You should always drive defensively and be alert to cars pulling out in front of you 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. Drivers should be alert for unmarked or poorly marked construction zones.

Traffic Laws: It is the law that all drivers and their passengers wear seat belts while riding in a vehicle in The Bahamas. Wearing helmets while riding on a scooter or motorbike is also compulsory.

Public Transportation: Public transportation is available by minibus (referred to as jitneys) and taxi. Jitneys do not only stop at designated stops and do so without warning. 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’ for more information.

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.

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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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) 357-7004
Fax: +(242) 356-7174

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General Information

 

The Bahamas and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) since January 1, 1994.

For information concerning travel to Bahamas, including information about the location of the U.S. Consulate General, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for The Bahamas.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

 

 

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Hague Abduction Convention

 

The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention.  In this capacity, the Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children's Issues facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children located in countries that are U.S. treaty partners, including The Bahamas.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority.

Contact information:

United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Website

The Bahamian Central Authority for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).  The MFA performs the duties given to central authorities under the Hague Abduction Convention, including processing Hague Abduction Convention applications for return of and access to children.  They can be reached at:

Mailing Address:

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Attention: Permanent Secretary
Goodman's Bay Corporate Center
West Bay Street
PO Box No. 3746
NASSAU
Bahamas
Telephone:  1 (242) 356-5956
Fax:  1-242-326-2123
E-mail:  mofabahamas@bahamas.gov.bs
Website

To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in The Bahamas, the left behind parent must submit a Hague application to the MFA, either directly or through the U.S. Central Authority (USCA).  The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the MFA, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes. 

There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the United States or Bahamian central authorities.  Attorney fees, if necessary, are the responsibility of the applicant parent.  Additional costs may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.

 

 

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Return

A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child abducted to, or wrongfully retained in, The Bahamas.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

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Visitation/Access

A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in The Bahamas.  The criteria for acceptance of a Hague access application vary from country to country.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand country-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

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Retaining an Attorney

Retaining a private attorney is not required in order to submit Hague Convention applications to a court in The Bahamas.  For Hague return/access applications, Senior Crown Counsels from the Attorney General's Office are assigned to represent the Hague Abduction Convention application in the court at no cost.  The Senior Crown Counsel does not represent either parent.  If an applicant decides to hire a private attorney, the attorney should contact the BCA and the Attorney General's Office as soon as possible after the Hague Abduction Convention application has been filed.  Private attorney fees are the responsibility of the person hiring the attorney.

The U.S. Embassy in Nassau, The Bahamas posts list of attorneys including those who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons or firms. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

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Mediation

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Central Authority strongly promotes mediation in abduction cases and will attempt to initiate mediation in all Hague Abduction Convention cases.  If the parents are interested in mediation, the BCA will act as mediator at no charge to the parents.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
No
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

The Bahamas is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Therefore, when the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force for the United States on April 1, 2008, intercountry adoption processing for The Bahamas did not change.

Bahamian law allows adoption by any person with legal status in The Bahamas (even foreign tourists). However, the number of children available for adoption is very small and the waiting list for prospective adoptive parents is very long. Bahamian citizens or legal permanent residents are generally given preference in adopting children, especially if they have a blood relationship to the child.

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Who Can Adopt

To bring an adopted child to United States from The Bahamas, you must be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn more.

In addition to these U.S. requirements for prospective adoptive parents, The Bahamas also has the following requirements for prospective adoptive parents:

  • RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS: There are no residency requirements for prospective adoptive parents
  • AGE REQUIREMENTS: At least one prospective adoptive parent must be at minimum 25 years of age and more than 21 years older than the child except for cases of relative adoption. The Bahamas requires relatives who pursue adoption to be at least 18 years of age.
  • MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS: Single people as well as married couples may adopt. According to the laws of The Bahamas it is extremely difficult for single men to adopt girls, though the courts may make exceptions based on special circumstances.
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Who Can Be Adopted

The Bahamas has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption. You cannot adopt a child in The Bahamas unless he or she meets the requirements outlined below.

In addition to these requirements, a child must meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law for you to bring him or her back to the United States. Learn more about these U.S. requirements.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:

  • Abandonment Requirements Children may be adopted by foreigners, if they are orphans (both or only known parent deceased), if they have been abandoned (the court must be satisfied that parents cannot be found), or released for adoption by their parents or legal guardian (if the child was born out-of-wedlock, only the mother needs to release the child for adoption).
  • AGE REQUIREMENTS: A child must be at least 6 weeks old to be eligible for release for adoption.
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How to Adopt

THE BAHAMA'S ADOPTION AUTHORITY

The Department of Social Services in the Ministry of Social Services and Community Development

The Process
The process for adopting a child from The Bahamas generally includes the following steps:

  1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider
  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
  3. Be Matched with a Child
  4. Adopt the Child in The Bahamas
  5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption
  6. Bring Your Child Home
  1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider

    The first step in adopting a child from The Bahamas is usually to select a licensed agency in the United States that can help with your adoption. Adoption service providers must be licensed by the U.S. state in which they operate. Learn more about choosing the right adoption service provider.

  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt

    To bring an adopted child from The Bahamas to the United States, you must apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-600A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn how.

    In addition to meeting the U.S. requirements for adoptive parents, you need to meet the requirements of The Bahamas as described in the Who Can Adopt section.
  3. Be Matched with a Child 

    If you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority in The Bahamas will provide you with a referral to a child. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of a particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child.

    The child must be eligible to be adopted according to The Bahamas requirements, as described in the Who Can be Adopted section. The child must also meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law. Learn more.

  4. Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in The Bahamas

    The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in The Bahamas generally includes the following:
    • ROLE OF THE ADOPTION AUTHORITY: The Department of Social Services acts as the representative of the child's interests and a lawyer is required to guide the process through the Supreme Court.
    • TIME FRAME: The Bahamian adoption process typically takes a minimum of three months to complete, though can take longer.
    • ADOPTION FEES: The U.S. Embassy in The Bahamas discourages the payment of any fees that are not properly receipted, "donations," or "expediting" fees, that may be requested from prospective adoptive parents. Such fees have the appearance of "buying" a baby and put all future adoptions in The Bahamas

      The Bahamian government does not charge fees for adoptions. Attorneys will charge fees ranging from $1,500 to $2,000 which covers the work involved and the filing fees. The prospective adoptive parent (s) will also have to pay the costs of the guardian ad litem.

    • DOCUMENTS REQUIRED: Prospective adoptive parents must provide the following list of documents, through a Bahamian attorney, to the Supreme Court:
      • Originating Summons
      • Notice of Hearing of the Originating Summons
      • Consent to Act as the Guardian Ad Litem
      • Consent of the birth mother and/or father or legal Guardian
      • Child's Birth Certificate
      • Affidavit of Applicants -the truth of the Statement in Support of the Application
      • Annex to Statement in Support of Application
      • Statement in Support of Application -- exhibits - birth certificate of applicant(s) Marriage certificate of the prospective adoptive parent(s)
      • First 5 pages of passport applicant(s)
      • Undertaking to pay costs of the Guardian Ad Litem
      • Appearance Report that is prepared by the Guardian Ad Litem
      • Letter of listing officer with Notice of Hearing for an Adoption Summons to go before the Judge on the AdoptionThe documents number 1 - 8 are filed and within fourteen (14) days of the date of the Originating Summons.
    • NOTE: Additional documents may be requested. If you are asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic, we can help. Learn how.

  5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption
    After you finalize the adoption (or gain legal custody) in The Bahamas, the U.S Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) MUST determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted (Form I-600). Learn how.

  6. Bring Your Child Home Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for several documents for your child before he or she can travel to the United States:
    • Birth Certificate 
      You will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child, so that you can later apply for a passport. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate. 

    • The Bahamas Passport 
      Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from The Bahamas

    • U.S. Immigrant Visa 
      After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to apply for an U.S. visa from the United States Embassy for your child. After the adoption (or custody for purpose of adoption) is granted, visit the U.S. Embassy for final review and approval of the child's I-600 petition and to obtain a visa for the child. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the "Panel Physician's" medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage. Learn more.

      Note: Visa issuance after the final interview now generally takes at least 24 hours and it will not normally be possible to provide the visa to adoptive parents on the day of the interview. Adoptive parents should verify current processing times at the appropriate consulate or embassy before making final travel arrangements.

CHILD CITIZENSHIP ACT

For adoptions finalized abroad: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your new child to acquire American citizenship automatically when he or she enters the United States as lawful permanent residents.

For adoptions finalized in the United States: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your new child to acquire American citizenship automatically when the court in the United States issues the final adoption decree.

* Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting.

Learn more about the Child Citizenship Act.

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Traveling Abroad

APPLYING FOR YOUR U.S. PASSPORT

A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave The Bahamas. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizardwill help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print-all in one place.

OBTAINING YOUR VISA

In addition to a U.S. passport, you also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are attached to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation.

To find information about obtaining a visa for The Bahamas, see the Department of State's Country Specific Information.

STAYING SAFE ON YOUR TRIP

Before you travel, it's always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The State Department is a good place to start.

The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.

STAYING IN TOUCH ON YOUR TRIP

When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to register your trip with the Department of State. Travel registration makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there's a family emergency in the United States, or a crisis in The Bahamas registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Registration is free and can be done online.

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After Adoption

What does The Bahamas require of the adoptive parents after the adoption? 

We strongly urge you to comply with the wish of The Bahamas and complete all post-adoption requirements in a timely manner. Your adoption agency may be able to help you with this process. Your cooperation will contribute to that country's history of positive experiences with American parents.

What resources are available to assist families after the adoption? 

Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family -- whether it's another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.

Here are some good places to start your support group search:

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

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Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in The Bahamas

U.S. Embassy Nassau 

42 Queen Street
Nassau
Phone: (242) 322-1181
Fax: (242) 356-7174

The Bahamas' Adoption Authority
Tel: 242-356-0765
Fax: 242-323-3883

Embassy of The Bahamas and Consulate in the United States

Embassy of The Bahamas

2220 Massachusetts Ave NW,
Washington, DC 20008
Phone: (202) 319-2660

*The Bahamas also has consulates in: in Miami and New York.

Office of Children's Issues
U.S. Department of State  
CA/OCS/CI  
SA-17, 9th Floor  
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Tel: 1-888-407-4747
E-mail: AskCI@state.gov 
Internet: http://adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures, call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC)

1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
 
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None Multiple 24 Months
A-2 None Multiple 24 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 12 Months
B-1 None Multiple 120 Months
B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
C-1 None Multiple 60 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 60 Months
C-2 None Multiple 12 Months
C-3 None Multiple 60 Months
CW-1 11 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 11 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 60 Months
E-1 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2C 12 None Multiple 12 Months
F-1 None Multiple 60 Months
F-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-1 None Multiple 24 Months
G-2 None Multiple 24 Months
G-3 None Multiple 24 Months
G-4 None Multiple 24 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 12 Months
H-1B $400.00 Multiple 12 Months 3
H-1C $400.00 Multiple 12 Months 3
H-2A $300.00 N/A N/A3
H-2B $300.00 N/A N/A3
H-2R $300.00 Multiple 12 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 12 Months 3
H-4 $20.00 Multiple 12 Months 3
I None Multiple 60 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 60 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 60 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 $500.00 Multiple 12 Months
L-2 $20.00 Multiple 12 Months
M-1 None Multiple 60 Months
M-2 None Multiple 60 Months
N-8 None Multiple 24 Months
N-9 None Multiple 24 Months
NATO 1-7 N/A N/A N/A
O-1 $400.00 Multiple 12 Months 3
O-2 $400.00 Multiple 12 Months 3
O-3 $400.00 Multiple 12 Months 3
P-1 $400.00 Multiple 12 Months 3
P-2 $400.00 Multiple 12 Months 3
P-3 $400.00 Multiple 12 Months 3
P-4 $400.00 Multiple 12 Months 3
Q-1 6 $400.00 Multiple 12 Months 3
R-1 $400.00 Multiple 12 Months
R-2 $400.00 Multiple 12 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 120 Months
V-2 None Multiple 120 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 120 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

Note: Aliens who have permanent resident or refugee status in the Bahamas may be accorded Bahamian reciprocity, but only if the alien applies in the Bahamas. Aliens with permanent resident or refugee status in the Bahamas, but who apply outside of the country of residence (Bahamas), must be accorded the reciprocity of their country of nationality.

Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality who have permanent resident or refugee status in the Bahamas may not be accorded Bahamian reciprocity, even when applying in the Bahamas.

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth

Available. Birth records have been maintained in The Bahamas since 1850, and all births must be registered by the time the child is two years of age. If the parents are unmarried but want both of their names to appear on the child's birth certificate, they must first obtain a sworn affidavit from a local notary swearing that they are the parents, before they seek to register the child with the Registrar General. In most cases the person is able to obtain a birth certificate. However, it frequently occurs that the Christian name of the person was not recorded at the time of birth. This is particularly true of applicants born in the Family Islands (outside of Nassau). As a result it is often necessary for applicants to obtain affidavits regarding their Christian names, or to have their certificates substantiated with baptismal records. Birth certificates are obtainable from the Registrar General's Department of The Bahamas in Nassau for birth on any island. They are issued in the form of a certified copy of entry in the Register of Births at the Registrar General's Office, and show the birth in the District for the quarter year in which the birth occurred. They are signed by the Registrar General or his Deputy, and bear the seal of his office. Former residents may obtain certificates by mail addressed to: Registrar General of The Bahamas, P.O. Box N-532, Nassau, with a bank draft or money order payable to "Registrar General of The Bahamas." For list of fees, applicants should check with the Bahamian consular office nearest their place of residence, or emailRegbirth@bahamas.gov.bs, or the more general addressregistrargeneral@bahamas.gov.bs. The Government of The Bahamas web site can also be accessed directly for the most current information, athttp://www.bahamas.gov.bs/, then click on either the "Citizens and Residents" or "Non-Residents" tab, depending on which applies.

Death/Burial

Available. Same procedures as for birth certificates.

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage

Available from the Registrar General at Nassau. (See section on 'Birth Certificates' for mailing address and fee remittance.) The document is certified to be a true copy of an entry in a Register of Marriages in the district mentioned, and is signed by the Registrar General or his Deputy, and bears the seal of his office.

Divorce

Available. Certified copies of final divorce decrees may be obtained from the Registrar of the Supreme Court. Original decrees bear the signature of the Chief Justice or a Judge of the Supreme Court, Nassau, who granted the decree. Former residents may address their requests to: Registrar, Supreme Court of the Bahamas, P.O. Box N-l67, Nassau. Fees vary according to the number of pages.

Adoption Certificates

Available. The document, which is certified to be a true copy of an entry in a register of adoption in the district mentioned, is signed by the Registrar General or his Deputy, and bears the seal of his office. Mail requests should be addressed to: Registrar General of The Bahamas, P.O. Box N-532, Nassau. For list of fees, applicants should check with the Bahamian consular office nearest their place of residence. The bank draft or money order should be made payable to "Registrar General of The Bahamas".

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Identity Card

Unavailable.

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police Records

Available. Police certificates indicating whether the person has a police record are obtainable in person from the Superintendent, Criminal Record Office, Royal Bahamas Police in Nassau, upon presentation of the applicant's passport. This office issues police certificates for all islands of The Bahamas.

The Criminal Records Office (CRO) in New Providence is the only location where records are computerized. Additionally, hand-written police certificates are issued at several satellite offices in New Providence and in a few of the family islands once the appropriate information is faxed to CRO for clearance. Satellite stations include Cable Beach, Quakoo Street, and the Carmichael and Elizabeth Estates Police Stations. Police certificates may also be obtained from police stations on Andros, Eleuthera, Long Island, Abaco, and Grand Bahama Islands. In addition to the officer's signature, a wet seal bearing the issue date, the words "Royal Bahamas Police Force", and the name of the issuing office is placed on the certificate.

Records are purged every seven years if the person has no new convictions in the interim.. Records of deceased individuals are destroyed. Expunged records are archived, as are records of any case where an appeal of a conviction is upheld (this only applies to cases where prior arrests or convictions exist). Records or convictions overturned on appeal, where there are no prior arrests or convictions, are destroyed. Law does not permit those records to be retained by CRO.

Identification numbers are assigned to individuals for all arrests. An additional identification is assigned for all convictions. These numbers are automatically assigned by computer once a new case is entered. This is done chronologically each year. Once a number has been assigned, it remains with the individual. Records can therefore be retrieved by the identification number or the individual's name.

A passport is required for Bahamians and non-Bahamians requesting a police certificate. A police certificate may be issued to non-Bahamian residents regardless of the length of time residing in the Bahamas. Former residents of the Bahamas (Bahamian/non-Bahamian) also may be issued police certificates. A copy of the biographical data page(s) is required if application is made outside of the Bahamas. Former residents of the Bahamas and those not residing in Nassau may address an individual request for such certificates to Superintendent, CID, Criminal Records Office, Royal Bahamas Police, P.O. Box N-3020. Nassau. Request should include the full name, date and place of birth, nationality, and period resided in the Bahamas, and must be accompanied by fingerprint charts.

Court Records

Available directly from the courts after paying the associated fee.

Prison Records

Available through the Ministry of National Security and/or Her Majesty's Prison directly.

Military Records

Available from the Ministry of National Security, Department of Public Personnel.

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Unavailable.

Other Records

Not applicable.

Visa Issuing Posts

Nassau, Bahamas (Embassy)

Queen Street (next to McDonald's restaurant)
Nassau

Tel: (242) 322-1181
(after hours) (242) 328-2206

Visa Services

All visa categories for all of the Bahamas, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 734-6578 (202) 595-8251

Miami, FL (305) 373-6295 (305) 373-6312

New York, NY (212) 421-6420 (212) 688-5926

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Nassau
P.O. Box N-8197
#42 Queen Street
Nassau, The Bahamas
Telephone
+(242) 322-1181
Emergency
+(242) 357-7004
Fax
+(242) 356-7174
Bahamas Country Map

Learn about your destination
Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

Country Information

Bahamas
Commonwealth of The Bahamas
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Embassy Messages
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

Must be valid at time of entry

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

Two pages are required for entry stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

No

VACCINATIONS:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

None

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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) 357-7004
Fax: +(242) 356-7174

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Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on The Bahamas for information on U.S. - Bahamas relations.

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Generally, all U.S. citizens are 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. However, we strongly recommend visitors obtain a passport before travel in case of an unforeseen emergency that requires a cruise passenger 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. Please visit Bahamas Immigration.

The Bahamas requires compliance with regulations to divert child abduction similar to U.S. policies. Please review those policies before travelling.

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 nationalityprevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

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Safety and Security

CRIME: The criminal threat level for New Providence Island (includes Nassau and Paradise Island) is rated as critical by the Department of State. Crime in Grand Bahama has increased this past year. Criminal activity on the outlying family islands does occur, but to a much lesser degree than on New Providence or Grand Bahama.

Armed robbery and sexual assault are major criminal threats facing U.S. citizens in New Providence. The U.S. Embassy has received multiple reports indicating tourists have been robbed at gunpoint or knifepoint in tourist locations in the downtown areas of Nassau; several of these incidents occurred during daylight hours. The U.S. Embassy has received reports of sexual assaults in tourist areas as well. The Bahamas has one of the highest incidences of sexual assault in the Caribbean, according to 2012 United Nations report. The majority of sexual assaults reported occurred after excessive consumption of alcohol. The loss of ability to remember facts and details due to alcohol consumption makes prosecution of sexual assaults more difficult. For the latest security messages, visit our website.

The Bahamas, due to its numerous uninhabited islands and cays, has historically been favored by smugglers and pirates. As a tourist, you would not have noticeable interaction with organized crime elements; however, persons operating on their own in boats or planes should be alert to the possibility of encountering similar craft operated by smugglers.

Terrorism: The threat of terrorism is low, but you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could take place in public areas, including places frequented by travelers.

Find more information about common safety and security concerns in The Bahamas including credit card fraud, real estate and time share scams, and water sport and scooter safety on our website.

VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police at 919 or 911, and then the U.S. Embassy.

Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.

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

We can:

  • 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 U.S.
  • 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.

For further information:

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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.

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.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, request that police or prison officials 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.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES

Faith-Based Travelers: See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report.

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: While in The Bahamas, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from in the United States. The Bahamas passed the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities) Act in 2014 that should help to improve accessibility and accommodation. Newer buildings, especially in tourism-centric areas are accessible, but many older buildings are still not accessible to persons with disabilities.

Students: See our Students Abroad and Spring Break pages and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: The Bahamas has one of the highest incidences of sexual assault in the Caribbean, according to the 2012 United Nations statistics on crime, violence, and development trends. See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Jet Ski Operators: The U.S. Embassy has prohibited personnel under U.S. Embassy Chief of Mission authority from using the services of jet-ski rental operators in Nassau. This includes jet-ski operators on Cabbage Beach and Cable Beach. We strongly advise that U.S. citizens do the same and not patronize these services. Jet-ski rentals in The Bahamas are only minimally regulated.

Hurricanes: Hurricane season officially runs from June 1 to November 30, although hurricanes have been known to occur outside that period. During hurricane season, visitors are advised to monitor local weather reports closely in order to be prepared for any potential threats. Visitors should also be aware that airports and seaports cease operations well before a predicted storm actually arrives, and that seats on most commercial transportation are sold out far in advance.

For more information on hurricane preparedness, please refer to the following pages: Hurricane Season: Know Before You Go, and the U.S. Embassy Nassau’s Hurricane Preparedness page.

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

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Health

Adequate medical care is available on New Providence and Grand Bahama islands. Visitors should be aware that serious health problems requiring hospitalization and/or air ambulance evacuation to the United States can cost tens of thousands of dollars in up-front costs. Medical care on outer islands is sparse with only limited services available at small clinics. 

Ambulance service is available on the major islands, but is limited in more remote locations. The endemic traffic congestion on New Providence Island may also impede a quick response. Service is likely to be extremely slow in the event of a major emergency or disaster.

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare and Medicaid does not apply overseas.

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 insurance providers for overseas coverage.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

Carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription.

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

Zika Virus: Zika virus is a mosquito-borne illness that can be spread from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby as well as through sexual contact. The CDC has concluded that the Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects in some fetuses and babies born to infected mothers. For additional information about Zika, including travel advisories, visit the CDC website

Further health information:

 

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Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: Driving in The Bahamas is on the left side of the road (i.e. opposite to the United States). Traffic congestion in Nassau is severe, and drivers occasionally display aggressive or careless tendencies. You should always drive defensively and be alert to cars pulling out in front of you 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. Drivers should be alert for unmarked or poorly marked construction zones.

Traffic Laws: It is the law that all drivers and their passengers wear seat belts while riding in a vehicle in The Bahamas. Wearing helmets while riding on a scooter or motorbike is also compulsory.

Public Transportation: Public transportation is available by minibus (referred to as jitneys) and taxi. Jitneys do not only stop at designated stops and do so without warning. 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’ for more information.

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.

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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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) 357-7004
Fax: +(242) 356-7174

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General Information

 

The Bahamas and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) since January 1, 1994.

For information concerning travel to Bahamas, including information about the location of the U.S. Consulate General, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for The Bahamas.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

 

 

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Hague Abduction Convention

 

The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention.  In this capacity, the Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children's Issues facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children located in countries that are U.S. treaty partners, including The Bahamas.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority.

Contact information:

United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Website

The Bahamian Central Authority for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).  The MFA performs the duties given to central authorities under the Hague Abduction Convention, including processing Hague Abduction Convention applications for return of and access to children.  They can be reached at:

Mailing Address:

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Attention: Permanent Secretary
Goodman's Bay Corporate Center
West Bay Street
PO Box No. 3746
NASSAU
Bahamas
Telephone:  1 (242) 356-5956
Fax:  1-242-326-2123
E-mail:  mofabahamas@bahamas.gov.bs
Website

To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in The Bahamas, the left behind parent must submit a Hague application to the MFA, either directly or through the U.S. Central Authority (USCA).  The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the MFA, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes. 

There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the United States or Bahamian central authorities.  Attorney fees, if necessary, are the responsibility of the applicant parent.  Additional costs may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.

 

 

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Return

A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child abducted to, or wrongfully retained in, The Bahamas.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

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Visitation/Access

A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in The Bahamas.  The criteria for acceptance of a Hague access application vary from country to country.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand country-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

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Retaining an Attorney

Retaining a private attorney is not required in order to submit Hague Convention applications to a court in The Bahamas.  For Hague return/access applications, Senior Crown Counsels from the Attorney General's Office are assigned to represent the Hague Abduction Convention application in the court at no cost.  The Senior Crown Counsel does not represent either parent.  If an applicant decides to hire a private attorney, the attorney should contact the BCA and the Attorney General's Office as soon as possible after the Hague Abduction Convention application has been filed.  Private attorney fees are the responsibility of the person hiring the attorney.

The U.S. Embassy in Nassau, The Bahamas posts list of attorneys including those who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons or firms. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

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Mediation

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Central Authority strongly promotes mediation in abduction cases and will attempt to initiate mediation in all Hague Abduction Convention cases.  If the parents are interested in mediation, the BCA will act as mediator at no charge to the parents.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
No
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

The Bahamas is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Therefore, when the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force for the United States on April 1, 2008, intercountry adoption processing for The Bahamas did not change.

Bahamian law allows adoption by any person with legal status in The Bahamas (even foreign tourists). However, the number of children available for adoption is very small and the waiting list for prospective adoptive parents is very long. Bahamian citizens or legal permanent residents are generally given preference in adopting children, especially if they have a blood relationship to the child.

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Who Can Adopt

To bring an adopted child to United States from The Bahamas, you must be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn more.

In addition to these U.S. requirements for prospective adoptive parents, The Bahamas also has the following requirements for prospective adoptive parents:

  • RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS: There are no residency requirements for prospective adoptive parents
  • AGE REQUIREMENTS: At least one prospective adoptive parent must be at minimum 25 years of age and more than 21 years older than the child except for cases of relative adoption. The Bahamas requires relatives who pursue adoption to be at least 18 years of age.
  • MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS: Single people as well as married couples may adopt. According to the laws of The Bahamas it is extremely difficult for single men to adopt girls, though the courts may make exceptions based on special circumstances.
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Who Can Be Adopted

The Bahamas has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption. You cannot adopt a child in The Bahamas unless he or she meets the requirements outlined below.

In addition to these requirements, a child must meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law for you to bring him or her back to the United States. Learn more about these U.S. requirements.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:

  • Abandonment Requirements Children may be adopted by foreigners, if they are orphans (both or only known parent deceased), if they have been abandoned (the court must be satisfied that parents cannot be found), or released for adoption by their parents or legal guardian (if the child was born out-of-wedlock, only the mother needs to release the child for adoption).
  • AGE REQUIREMENTS: A child must be at least 6 weeks old to be eligible for release for adoption.
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How to Adopt

THE BAHAMA'S ADOPTION AUTHORITY

The Department of Social Services in the Ministry of Social Services and Community Development

The Process
The process for adopting a child from The Bahamas generally includes the following steps:

  1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider
  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
  3. Be Matched with a Child
  4. Adopt the Child in The Bahamas
  5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption
  6. Bring Your Child Home
  1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider

    The first step in adopting a child from The Bahamas is usually to select a licensed agency in the United States that can help with your adoption. Adoption service providers must be licensed by the U.S. state in which they operate. Learn more about choosing the right adoption service provider.

  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt

    To bring an adopted child from The Bahamas to the United States, you must apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-600A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn how.

    In addition to meeting the U.S. requirements for adoptive parents, you need to meet the requirements of The Bahamas as described in the Who Can Adopt section.
  3. Be Matched with a Child 

    If you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority in The Bahamas will provide you with a referral to a child. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of a particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child.

    The child must be eligible to be adopted according to The Bahamas requirements, as described in the Who Can be Adopted section. The child must also meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law. Learn more.

  4. Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in The Bahamas

    The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in The Bahamas generally includes the following:
    • ROLE OF THE ADOPTION AUTHORITY: The Department of Social Services acts as the representative of the child's interests and a lawyer is required to guide the process through the Supreme Court.
    • TIME FRAME: The Bahamian adoption process typically takes a minimum of three months to complete, though can take longer.
    • ADOPTION FEES: The U.S. Embassy in The Bahamas discourages the payment of any fees that are not properly receipted, "donations," or "expediting" fees, that may be requested from prospective adoptive parents. Such fees have the appearance of "buying" a baby and put all future adoptions in The Bahamas

      The Bahamian government does not charge fees for adoptions. Attorneys will charge fees ranging from $1,500 to $2,000 which covers the work involved and the filing fees. The prospective adoptive parent (s) will also have to pay the costs of the guardian ad litem.

    • DOCUMENTS REQUIRED: Prospective adoptive parents must provide the following list of documents, through a Bahamian attorney, to the Supreme Court:
      • Originating Summons
      • Notice of Hearing of the Originating Summons
      • Consent to Act as the Guardian Ad Litem
      • Consent of the birth mother and/or father or legal Guardian
      • Child's Birth Certificate
      • Affidavit of Applicants -the truth of the Statement in Support of the Application
      • Annex to Statement in Support of Application
      • Statement in Support of Application -- exhibits - birth certificate of applicant(s) Marriage certificate of the prospective adoptive parent(s)
      • First 5 pages of passport applicant(s)
      • Undertaking to pay costs of the Guardian Ad Litem
      • Appearance Report that is prepared by the Guardian Ad Litem
      • Letter of listing officer with Notice of Hearing for an Adoption Summons to go before the Judge on the AdoptionThe documents number 1 - 8 are filed and within fourteen (14) days of the date of the Originating Summons.
    • NOTE: Additional documents may be requested. If you are asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic, we can help. Learn how.

  5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption
    After you finalize the adoption (or gain legal custody) in The Bahamas, the U.S Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) MUST determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted (Form I-600). Learn how.

  6. Bring Your Child Home Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for several documents for your child before he or she can travel to the United States:
    • Birth Certificate 
      You will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child, so that you can later apply for a passport. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate. 

    • The Bahamas Passport 
      Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from The Bahamas

    • U.S. Immigrant Visa 
      After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to apply for an U.S. visa from the United States Embassy for your child. After the adoption (or custody for purpose of adoption) is granted, visit the U.S. Embassy for final review and approval of the child's I-600 petition and to obtain a visa for the child. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the "Panel Physician's" medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage. Learn more.

      Note: Visa issuance after the final interview now generally takes at least 24 hours and it will not normally be possible to provide the visa to adoptive parents on the day of the interview. Adoptive parents should verify current processing times at the appropriate consulate or embassy before making final travel arrangements.

CHILD CITIZENSHIP ACT

For adoptions finalized abroad: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your new child to acquire American citizenship automatically when he or she enters the United States as lawful permanent residents.

For adoptions finalized in the United States: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your new child to acquire American citizenship automatically when the court in the United States issues the final adoption decree.

* Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting.

Learn more about the Child Citizenship Act.

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Traveling Abroad

APPLYING FOR YOUR U.S. PASSPORT

A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave The Bahamas. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizardwill help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print-all in one place.

OBTAINING YOUR VISA

In addition to a U.S. passport, you also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are attached to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation.

To find information about obtaining a visa for The Bahamas, see the Department of State's Country Specific Information.

STAYING SAFE ON YOUR TRIP

Before you travel, it's always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The State Department is a good place to start.

The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.

STAYING IN TOUCH ON YOUR TRIP

When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to register your trip with the Department of State. Travel registration makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there's a family emergency in the United States, or a crisis in The Bahamas registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Registration is free and can be done online.

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After Adoption

What does The Bahamas require of the adoptive parents after the adoption? 

We strongly urge you to comply with the wish of The Bahamas and complete all post-adoption requirements in a timely manner. Your adoption agency may be able to help you with this process. Your cooperation will contribute to that country's history of positive experiences with American parents.

What resources are available to assist families after the adoption? 

Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family -- whether it's another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.

Here are some good places to start your support group search:

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

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Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in The Bahamas

U.S. Embassy Nassau 

42 Queen Street
Nassau
Phone: (242) 322-1181
Fax: (242) 356-7174

The Bahamas' Adoption Authority
Tel: 242-356-0765
Fax: 242-323-3883

Embassy of The Bahamas and Consulate in the United States

Embassy of The Bahamas

2220 Massachusetts Ave NW,
Washington, DC 20008
Phone: (202) 319-2660

*The Bahamas also has consulates in: in Miami and New York.

Office of Children's Issues
U.S. Department of State  
CA/OCS/CI  
SA-17, 9th Floor  
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Tel: 1-888-407-4747
E-mail: AskCI@state.gov 
Internet: http://adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures, call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC)

1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
 
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None Multiple 24 Months
A-2 None Multiple 24 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 12 Months
B-1 None Multiple 120 Months
B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
C-1 None Multiple 60 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 60 Months
C-2 None Multiple 12 Months
C-3 None Multiple 60 Months
CW-1 11 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 11 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 60 Months
E-1 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2C 12 None Multiple 12 Months
F-1 None Multiple 60 Months
F-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-1 None Multiple 24 Months
G-2 None Multiple 24 Months
G-3 None Multiple 24 Months
G-4 None Multiple 24 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 12 Months
H-1B $400.00 Multiple 12 Months 3
H-1C $400.00 Multiple 12 Months 3
H-2A $300.00 N/A N/A3
H-2B $300.00 N/A N/A3
H-2R $300.00 Multiple 12 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 12 Months 3
H-4 $20.00 Multiple 12 Months 3
I None Multiple 60 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 60 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 60 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 $500.00 Multiple 12 Months
L-2 $20.00 Multiple 12 Months
M-1 None Multiple 60 Months
M-2 None Multiple 60 Months
N-8 None Multiple 24 Months
N-9 None Multiple 24 Months
NATO 1-7 N/A N/A N/A
O-1 $400.00 Multiple 12 Months 3
O-2 $400.00 Multiple 12 Months 3
O-3 $400.00 Multiple 12 Months 3
P-1 $400.00 Multiple 12 Months 3
P-2 $400.00 Multiple 12 Months 3
P-3 $400.00 Multiple 12 Months 3
P-4 $400.00 Multiple 12 Months 3
Q-1 6 $400.00 Multiple 12 Months 3
R-1 $400.00 Multiple 12 Months
R-2 $400.00 Multiple 12 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 120 Months
V-2 None Multiple 120 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 120 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

Note: Aliens who have permanent resident or refugee status in the Bahamas may be accorded Bahamian reciprocity, but only if the alien applies in the Bahamas. Aliens with permanent resident or refugee status in the Bahamas, but who apply outside of the country of residence (Bahamas), must be accorded the reciprocity of their country of nationality.

Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality who have permanent resident or refugee status in the Bahamas may not be accorded Bahamian reciprocity, even when applying in the Bahamas.

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth

Available. Birth records have been maintained in The Bahamas since 1850, and all births must be registered by the time the child is two years of age. If the parents are unmarried but want both of their names to appear on the child's birth certificate, they must first obtain a sworn affidavit from a local notary swearing that they are the parents, before they seek to register the child with the Registrar General. In most cases the person is able to obtain a birth certificate. However, it frequently occurs that the Christian name of the person was not recorded at the time of birth. This is particularly true of applicants born in the Family Islands (outside of Nassau). As a result it is often necessary for applicants to obtain affidavits regarding their Christian names, or to have their certificates substantiated with baptismal records. Birth certificates are obtainable from the Registrar General's Department of The Bahamas in Nassau for birth on any island. They are issued in the form of a certified copy of entry in the Register of Births at the Registrar General's Office, and show the birth in the District for the quarter year in which the birth occurred. They are signed by the Registrar General or his Deputy, and bear the seal of his office. Former residents may obtain certificates by mail addressed to: Registrar General of The Bahamas, P.O. Box N-532, Nassau, with a bank draft or money order payable to "Registrar General of The Bahamas." For list of fees, applicants should check with the Bahamian consular office nearest their place of residence, or emailRegbirth@bahamas.gov.bs, or the more general addressregistrargeneral@bahamas.gov.bs. The Government of The Bahamas web site can also be accessed directly for the most current information, athttp://www.bahamas.gov.bs/, then click on either the "Citizens and Residents" or "Non-Residents" tab, depending on which applies.

Death/Burial

Available. Same procedures as for birth certificates.

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage

Available from the Registrar General at Nassau. (See section on 'Birth Certificates' for mailing address and fee remittance.) The document is certified to be a true copy of an entry in a Register of Marriages in the district mentioned, and is signed by the Registrar General or his Deputy, and bears the seal of his office.

Divorce

Available. Certified copies of final divorce decrees may be obtained from the Registrar of the Supreme Court. Original decrees bear the signature of the Chief Justice or a Judge of the Supreme Court, Nassau, who granted the decree. Former residents may address their requests to: Registrar, Supreme Court of the Bahamas, P.O. Box N-l67, Nassau. Fees vary according to the number of pages.

Adoption Certificates

Available. The document, which is certified to be a true copy of an entry in a register of adoption in the district mentioned, is signed by the Registrar General or his Deputy, and bears the seal of his office. Mail requests should be addressed to: Registrar General of The Bahamas, P.O. Box N-532, Nassau. For list of fees, applicants should check with the Bahamian consular office nearest their place of residence. The bank draft or money order should be made payable to "Registrar General of The Bahamas".

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Identity Card

Unavailable.

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police Records

Available. Police certificates indicating whether the person has a police record are obtainable in person from the Superintendent, Criminal Record Office, Royal Bahamas Police in Nassau, upon presentation of the applicant's passport. This office issues police certificates for all islands of The Bahamas.

The Criminal Records Office (CRO) in New Providence is the only location where records are computerized. Additionally, hand-written police certificates are issued at several satellite offices in New Providence and in a few of the family islands once the appropriate information is faxed to CRO for clearance. Satellite stations include Cable Beach, Quakoo Street, and the Carmichael and Elizabeth Estates Police Stations. Police certificates may also be obtained from police stations on Andros, Eleuthera, Long Island, Abaco, and Grand Bahama Islands. In addition to the officer's signature, a wet seal bearing the issue date, the words "Royal Bahamas Police Force", and the name of the issuing office is placed on the certificate.

Records are purged every seven years if the person has no new convictions in the interim.. Records of deceased individuals are destroyed. Expunged records are archived, as are records of any case where an appeal of a conviction is upheld (this only applies to cases where prior arrests or convictions exist). Records or convictions overturned on appeal, where there are no prior arrests or convictions, are destroyed. Law does not permit those records to be retained by CRO.

Identification numbers are assigned to individuals for all arrests. An additional identification is assigned for all convictions. These numbers are automatically assigned by computer once a new case is entered. This is done chronologically each year. Once a number has been assigned, it remains with the individual. Records can therefore be retrieved by the identification number or the individual's name.

A passport is required for Bahamians and non-Bahamians requesting a police certificate. A police certificate may be issued to non-Bahamian residents regardless of the length of time residing in the Bahamas. Former residents of the Bahamas (Bahamian/non-Bahamian) also may be issued police certificates. A copy of the biographical data page(s) is required if application is made outside of the Bahamas. Former residents of the Bahamas and those not residing in Nassau may address an individual request for such certificates to Superintendent, CID, Criminal Records Office, Royal Bahamas Police, P.O. Box N-3020. Nassau. Request should include the full name, date and place of birth, nationality, and period resided in the Bahamas, and must be accompanied by fingerprint charts.

Court Records

Available directly from the courts after paying the associated fee.

Prison Records

Available through the Ministry of National Security and/or Her Majesty's Prison directly.

Military Records

Available from the Ministry of National Security, Department of Public Personnel.

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Unavailable.

Other Records

Not applicable.

Visa Issuing Posts

Nassau, Bahamas (Embassy)

Queen Street (next to McDonald's restaurant)
Nassau

Tel: (242) 322-1181
(after hours) (242) 328-2206

Visa Services

All visa categories for all of the Bahamas, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 734-6578 (202) 595-8251

Miami, FL (305) 373-6295 (305) 373-6312

New York, NY (212) 421-6420 (212) 688-5926

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Nassau
P.O. Box N-8197
#42 Queen Street
Nassau, The Bahamas
Telephone
+(242) 322-1181
Emergency
+(242) 357-7004
Fax
+(242) 356-7174
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Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.