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Bahamas

Bahamas Investor Immigration Program

The Government of The Bahamas encourages foreign businesses and investors to contribute to the economy of The Bahamas by providing incentives and benefits to foreign nationals. The Bahamas has a economic investment program for foreign nationals where a permanent residence is given to on the basis of a minimum investment of $500,000, used to purchase a residence (house or condominium) in The Bahamas. Family and dependents are allowed as long as the investor has the sufficient means to support the dependents without the need for employment in The Bahamas.


Citizenship Requirements

Investors and their family members who have lived in Canada for three out of four years (1,095 days) preceding the application, have adequate knowledge of English and/or French, have no criminal record and have acquired knowledge of the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, as well as an understanding of Canada’s history, values, institutions and symbols, are eligible to apply for citizenship.


Permanent Residency

Having a Permanent Resident status represents your given right to live and work permanently in The Bahamas by the Immigration Department of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. Those who wish to settle in The Bahamas by investing in property, retiring there, or opening a business usually apply for this status. Accelerated consideration for Permanent Residency can be obtained with a minimum property investment of $500,000. Wives and dependent children (under age 18) usually resident in a household can be endorsed on the certificate when the original application is made or later, subject to conditions which may be made by the Immigration Board. It should be noted that residency does not confer citizenship or entitle an applicant to a Bahamian passport. The government fee for this is a one-time fee of $10,000 and $100 for an applicant's spouse and dependent minors


Criteria Required for Application

The applicant must state in his application that he intends to reside in The Bahamas permanently. In this particular instance, the application for Permanent Residency would be made under the category of economic applicant, that is, one who seeks Permanent Residency because of investment in a residential home in The Bahamas.

The prospective applicant will also have to meet the other immigration requirements for permanent residence as well, i.e., the applicant must be of good character and must show evidence of financial support. Persons holding valid Certificates of Permanent Residency prior to the Immigration Act 1975 will continue to hold such status automatically.

Upon approval of the application, the applicant must pay an additional $250.00 before he receives permanent residency.


Homeowner’s Card

All international persons owning residences in The Bahamas are eligible to receive, upon application to the Director of Immigration, an annual Homeowners Card. This card facilitates entry into The Bahamas and entitles the owner, his/her spouse and minor children to multiple entries to The Bahamas and the ability to remain in The Bahamas for the duration of the validity of the card. The government fee for this is $250 per annum.


Life in the Bahamas

About
The Bahamas, officially the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, is a Caribbean island country consisting of more than 700 islands, cays, and islets in the Atlantic Ocean. The Bahamas were the site of Columbus’ first landfall in the New World in 1492. The Bahamas became an independent Commonwealth realm in 1973, retaining Queen Elizabeth II as its monarch. In terms of gross domestic product per capita, the Bahamas is one of the richest countries in the Americas (following the United States and Canada). Its economy is based on tourism and finance.

People
The population is approximately 391,000, about 91% of which identify themselves as being black, 5% white, and 2% of a mixed race. The islands’ population is predominantly Christian, with Baptists representing 35.4% of the population, Anglican 15.1%, and Roman Catholic 13.5%.

Language
The official language of the Bahamas is English.

Climate
The climate is tropical savannah, with the low latitude, warm tropical Gulf Stream and low elevation giving the islands a warm and winterless climate. There is only an 8°C (14.4°F) difference between the warmest month and coolest month in most of the Bahama islands. As with most tropical climates, seasonal rainfall follows the sun, and summer is the wettest season. The Bahamas are often sunny and dry for long periods of time, and average more than 3,000 hours or 340 days of sunlight annually.

Capital
Nassau is the capital, largest city, and commercial center of the Bahamas. It lies on the island of New Providence, with neighboring Paradise Island accessible via Nassau Harbor bridges. A popular cruise-ship stop, it’s known for its beaches and coral reefs, destinations for diving and snorkeling. It retains many of its characteristic pastel-colored British colonial buildings, including pink-hued Government House. The city was named in honor of William III of England, Prince of Orange-Nassau.

Time
Eastern Standard Time UTC-5:00.

Economy
The Bahamas relies on tourism to generate most of its economic activity. Tourism as an industry not only accounts for over 60% of the Bahamian GDP, but provides jobs for more than half the country’s workforce. The Bahamas attracted 5.8 million visitors in 2012, more than 70% of which were cruise visitors. After tourism, the next most important economic sector is banking and international financial services, accounting for some 15% of GDP. Agriculture is the third largest sector of the Bahamian economy, representing 5-7% of total GDP. The economy has a very competitive tax regime; the government derives its revenue from import tariffs, VAT, license fees, property and stamp taxes, but there is no income tax, corporate tax, capital gains tax, or wealth tax.

How to get there?
Lynden Pindling International Airport, the major airport for the Bahamas, is located about 16 kilometers (9.9 mi) west of Nassau city center, and has daily flights to major cities in the United States, the Caribbean, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Grand Bahama International Airport, located in Freeport, is relatively close to all major cities of the Eastern Seaboard of the United States.

Will I be liable to any taxes in the Bahamas? There are no personal/corporate income, sales, inheritance, gift, estate or capital gains taxes in the Bahamas. The Bahamas does not have double taxation agreement with other countries.