Moving to the Bahamas is a very popular option among soon-to-be American expats. It is close to the US, it basically embodies the idea of island paradise, and it has a significant expat community. If you’re considering it, this guide might be just what you need.
A Guide to Moving to the Bahamas and Staying There
First, let’s go over the basics. The Commonwealth of the Bahamas is an island nation located between Florida and Cuba. From nearly 700 islands, only a few dozen are inhabited. The capital city is Nassau, on the New Providence Island, and most of some 400,000 Bahamians live there. The local currency is the Bahamian Dollar, though the US Dollar is widely accepted. The official language is English, so no worries about breaking the language barrier.
So, how does one become a Conchy Joe who’s never a leg short and drinks switcha without a single wybe on Earth?
US citizens can freely enter the country via ports or one of 24 airports, but staying there is subject to the permission of Bahamian authorities. A would-be expat has to fill immigration documents and prove that they are financially stable and have no criminal record. Pets are allowed to enter the country, but if you’re moving with dogs or cats, you’ll have to prove that the animal is healthy.
Residency and Citizenship
If you wish to become a legal resident, the easiest path is buying property and getting a Home Owners Resident Card. Other than that, you can pay $100 for an annual residency permit, or wait for years to become eligible for permanent residency.
Citizenship is also difficult to get. The government in Nassau doesn’t recognize dual citizenship, and applicants must renounce existing allegiance before applying. Categories eligible for citizenship are persons born on the islands, persons whose parents are citizens, legal residents of ten years or more, and persons married to citizens. So, if you’re moving to another country for love, you’re good to go.
A Month’s Cost of Living
Bahamas are nominally more expensive than the US. It is a point where all expats agree. It goes both for homes and utilities, as well as for groceries. But all this can be covered by salaries in the islands’ main industries. But more about that in a second.
In general, a salary of 3,000 dollars is considered enough to cover the necessary monthly expenses. Of course, for anything more than mere eking out a living, you would need extra money.
The Price of a Home and Average Rent
Most US expats live in condos or beach houses on the New Providence, Grand Bahama, Eleuthera, or some other larger island. According to the statistics website numbeo.com, the country’s capital city is the most expensive in terms of real estate. A square foot of a home in Nassau’s center stands at an average of 165 dollars, while the same area in Freeport, second largest town, costs 92 dollars, on average. Rent for a small apartment in cities downtowns stands around 950 dollars in the capital, and 700 in Freeport.
Fantastic Jobs and Where to Find Them
Work in the Bahamian islands is decent and well-paid, once you get it. Local labor policy protects residents, so immigrants have to acquire a work permit. Potential employers are bound by law to hire a resident before an immigrant if he or she possesses the needed skill set. Once all hurdles are passed, the permit is subjected to a fee. It goes from a few hundred to more than 7,000 dollars.
Best Work Posts After You Relocate
In terms of a job, you’ll have the best time in some of the most profitable industries, namely tourism and finance. Islands are an important stop for luxury cruisers, and gambling is a big thing, too.
Some Taxes Exist Over There, Too
For years now, the Bahamas has been recognized as a tax haven. There is no corporate tax, as well as estate, capital gains, wealth, or even income tax for residents and citizens. They are, however, obliged to pay into the health insurance system. Bahamians pay VAT, though, at a 12% rate.
Amenities and Opportunities
When considering moving overseas, one of the most critical questions for expats is healthcare. The good news is that the facilities are good and much more affordable than in the US, even though they require an upfront payment. It has to be noted that only Nassau and Freeport have large and well-equipped hospitals. Smaller settlements have ambulances, and patients in a bad state are sent to big cities for treatment.
When it comes to education, there are public, private, and international schools, mostly located in New Providence and Grand Bahama. Lessons are given almost exclusively in English.
Finally, what would life be like without transportation? You’re right, pretty dull. Therefore, Bahamas’ populated islets are connected by ferries, and the cities have bus networks, taxis, and generally are very bike-friendly. We wouldn’t advise riding a bicycle on countryside roads, though. Among more than 20 airports, two are international. If you go with the overseas vehicle shipping option, you’ll have to pay an import fee, but overall, there is no problem with bringing your car along.
Things to Do When You Live in Caribbean Paradise
As you can imagine, Bahamians mostly live a tropical lifestyle, much aided by warm weather and crystal-clear waters. Beaches and surfing are a big thing here, as are casinos and aqua parks. The national sport is cricket, but locals also engage in golf, track and field, and sailing.
Popular Places People are Moving to the Bahamas For
Once you move out of Nassau, nature can awe even the most urban types. Not only is the Grand Bahama Island an excellent place for scuba diving, but there is always a chance that you’ll stumble upon a hidden beach. Furthermore, divers are in for a treat in Lucayan National Park, with its system of underwater caves. Now, if that isn’t life worth living, nothing is.
What Are You Waiting For? Book the Relocation Date!
If your heart is set on living overseas, look no further and get international moving services today. Not only will you be making your home in one of the friendliest countries in the world, but you also won’t be moving across the world and, therefore, won’t have much trouble figuring out how to keep in touch with friends. So call international movers near you, consider packing services as well, and focus on gathering documents needed to travel abroad with as little moving stress as possible. Take your time to learn about the people and culture of your new home, one of the best places to live abroad.