See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on The Bahamas for information on U.S. - Bahamas relations.
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 nationality, prevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.
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.
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.
For further information:
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.
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.
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:
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.
DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION IS PROVIDED FOR GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY AND MAY NOT BE TOTALLY ACCURATE IN A SPECIFIC CASE. QUESTIONS INVOLVING INTERPRETATION OF SPECIFIC FOREIGN LAWS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO THE APPROPRIATE FOREIGN AUTHORITIES OR FOREIGN COUNSEL.
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.
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.
United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
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:
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Attention: Permanent Secretary
Goodman's Bay Corporate Center
West Bay Street
PO Box No. 3746
Telephone: 1 (242) 356-5956
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com. 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.
Available. Same procedures as for birth certificates.
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.
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.
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".
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.
Available directly from the courts after paying the associated fee.
Available through the Ministry of National Security and/or Her Majesty's Prison directly.
Available from the Ministry of National Security, Department of Public Personnel.
Nassau, Bahamas (Embassy)
Queen Street (next to McDonald's restaurant)
Tel: (242) 322-1181
(after hours) (242) 328-2206
All visa categories for all of the Bahamas, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.