Want to learn how to get Bahamian citizenship so that you can live, work and vote legally in The Bahamas? Keep reading.
It’s no surprise that many people want to become citizens of The Bahamas. The Bahamas is a beautiful, stable, democratic country that offers the island paradise most people are searching for.
For some people, it’s not enough to just have permanent residency and live in The Bahamas. They want full citizenship. I get it. It’s a big deal. It’s also the ultimate way to participate in a democracy and gives you an overall feeling of belonging.
Below, I highlight several ways you can gain citizenship.
Before I continue, I need to make two points: Firstly, I am not an immigration lawyer or specialist. I’m just someone who reads a lot and due to my past work as a journalist in The Bahamas, I’m privy to more information that the typical layman.
That being said, all questions related to citizenship should be directed to an immigration specialist or lawyer, and if it’s one thing The Bahamas is not short on, it’s lawyers, so you won’t have a hard time finding one.
Secondly, The Bahamas does not allow dual citizenship. After the age of 21, nationals who previously held dual status as a minor have to choose a single nationality.
Let’s dive in on the ways to get Bahamian citizenship.
Citizenship Through Parents
The Bahamas’ laws are very unique. It’s not like some countries where you get automatic citizenship simply because you were born in the country.
There is no birthright citizenship.
If you fall into any of the following categories, you are automatically given Bahamian citizenship:
- You are born in The Bahamas to married parents with either of your parents being a Bahamian citizen
- You are born to an unmarried Bahamian female in or outside of The Bahamas
- You were born outside of The Bahamas to a married Bahamian male who was not born outside of The Bahamas
- You are adopted by a single Bahamian female
- You are adopted by a married Bahamian male
Who’s Eligible To Apply For Bahamian Citizenship?
If you’re thinking about applying for Bahamian citizenship, you have to fall into one of the following categories:
- You must be a legal permanent resident in The Bahamas and you must have had legal status for 10 years, including the 12 months immediately preceding the application date
- You must be a female spouse of a Bahamian citizen. (Please note that same-sex marriage is not legal in The Bahamas, so your spouse will have to be male).
- You must have been born in The Bahamas after July 9, 1973) to non-Bahamian parents.
- If you’re a child (adopted or biological) who has at least one Bahamian parent (the parent can be a naturalised citizen) then you can apply
- If you’re a child born in The Bahamas to non-Bahamian parents, you can apply for citizenship.
Citizenship Through Marriage
In order to get citizenship through marriage, you must be married to a Bahamian national for less than five years. If you happen to be married for more than five years, you can apply for citizenship.
You must also be living together as husband and wife.
A word of caution: there are some people who are considering marrying a Bahamian solely for the purpose of gaining citizenship. It won’t work. You have to be in the marriage for years before that can happen. Also, if the Department of Immigration has reason to believe that you are trying to commit fraud by marrying solely to get immigration status, you will get fined and deported.
Benefits Of Bahamian Citizenship
There are quite a few benefits to being a Bahamian citizen.
- You can legally vote in the country’s elections, which take place every five years.
- You can travel visa-free to more than 140 countries, including the United States and China.
- You can live and work in The Bahamas without restrictions
- You have full access to educational and healthcare benefits.
- You will have access to a passport with a solid reputation
Here Are The Documents You’ll Need To Apply For Citizenship
Because everyone’s situation is different, there are different types of citizenship application forms that you will have to fill out. You can find the forms by clicking here and toggling down to application forms.
You will need the following supporting documents:
- Two passport-sized identical colour photos of the applicant
- Applicant’s birth certificate
- Parents’ birth certificates (this does not apply to spouses)
- Parents’ marriage certificate (for individuals born outside of The Bahamas to a Bahamian mother and foreign father)
- Mother’s passport (persons born outside The Bahamas to a Bahamian mother and foreign father)
- BS$10.00 postage stamp
- Police certificate of good character, issued within 6 months of application (all applicants 14 years and older)
- Spouse’s birth certificate (spouses of Bahamian nationals)
- Marriage certificate (spouses of Bahamian nationals)
- Medical certificate, dated not more than 30 days prior to submission of application (female spouse)
- Bio-data page(s) of applicant’s passport (valid for a minimum of 6 months)
- Work visa (where applicable)
- Permit to reside (where applicable)
- Permanent resident visa (where applicable)
All of the documents have to be originals and in English. If they aren’t in English, you must submit certified English translations along with the application.
How Long Does It Take For The Application To Be Approved?
According to The Bahamas’ Immigration Department, as long as the application is accurate and complete at the time it is submitted, the applicant can expect to get a response within three to four weeks.
For more information, email the Department of Immigration at [email protected]. The department is open 9:00am to 5:00pm Monday to Friday, except on public holidays.
If you have any comments, please leave them down below. If you have questions, please contact the email address I provided above.
This Bahamian Gyal