The Bahamas attract many people each year for vacations; however, becoming a citizen of the country can be a challenge. The Bahamian government gives consideration for annual and permanent residency to non-Bahamians who meet certain basic criteria, can prove financial independence and are willing to comply with Bahamian laws.
Automatic citizenship is granted to children of married parents, one or both of whom are citizens of the Bahamas. Children born to an unmarried Bahamian woman are automatic citizens of the Bahamas, regardless of whether she is living in the Bahamas at the time of the child's birth. A child born outside the Bahamas whose mother is married to a Bahamian male who still resides in the Bahamas is automatically granted citizenship. Foreign children adopted by a married Bahamian male or single Bahamian female are also automatically granted citizenship.
Eligibility for Citizenship and Residency
If you are not eligible for automatic citizenship, you can still be granted citizenship in the Bahamas if your spouse is Bahamian or if you were born in the Bahamas to non-Bahamian parents after July 9, 1973. Also, once residency requirements are met, Commonwealth and Non-Commonwealth citizens can become Bahamian citizens. Residency requirements include residing in the Bahamas for the entire 12 months prior to applying for citizenship, as well as previous periods of residency totaling at least six years. Children born in the Bahamas to non-Bahamian parents can apply for citizenship between their 18th and 19th birthdays.
To obtain an annual residency card, you must first apply to Immigrations. You must show proof that you are financially independent because you will not be permitted to work in the Bahamas without obtaining a work permit, which is a separate, and often difficult, process. You will need to submit paperwork from a Bahamian bank, proof of good character through recommendation letters and proof that you do not have a criminal record. You will be interviewed and, if approved, you'll pay $500 for an annual residency card.
Permanent residency requires the same information and processes as obtaining annual residency. However, you will also need to submit more financial information to prove you will not now, nor in the foreseeable future, need to obtain employment in the Bahamas in order to continue your residency on a permanent basis. You can also generally obtain residency (without the right to work) with a real estate investment of $500,000 or more and proof of good character.