Boaters entering and/or exiting The Bahamas must follow certain protocol, such as filling out forms and registering their vessels.
Entering The Bahamas By Boat
To enter The Islands Of The Bahamas, private vessels need the following:
a) One (1) copy of The Bahamas Customs Clearance Form PDF
b) One (1) Bahamas Immigration Card per person
c) Proof of Citizenship—Passport
Arriving By Boat
Visiting boaters must clear Customs and Immigration at the nearest designated Port of Entry. As you enter each port, fly the yellow quarantine flag and notify Customs of your arrival. Only the captain is permitted to leave the boat until your vessel has been cleared.
Customs and Immigration officials will come to your vessel. Everyone on board must have proof of citizenship and fill out an immigration card. US citizens must present a passport. Before leaving The Islands Of The Bahamas, be sure to surrender your copy of the immigration card at the last Bahamian port you visit.
If you have a firearm on board (shotguns and handguns only) you must declare it with Bahamian Customs. You must provide the serial number, name of the manufacturer, plus an exact count of ammunition. While you are allowed to have a firearm on your boat, you cannot remove it. Weapons must be under lock and key at all times. In cases of emergencies, which require your departure by air, you must notify Bahamian Police or Customs. They will accompany you to retrieve the firearm and present you with a receipt. Upon your return to the island, Bahamian Police or Customs will escort you to your vessel and return your firearm. Any infraction of this law will be dealt with severely.
All boaters entering The Bahamas are required to pay an entry fee.
a) For boats up to 35', the fee is $150.00
b) For boats over 35', the fee is $300.00
Fees Subject To Change
The fees will cover:
1) Cruising Permit
2) Fishing Permit
3) Departure Tax for up to three (3) persons. Each additional person above three will be charged a $25 departure tax. This fee is good for a second re-entry within a 90-day period.
If you plan to stay longer than 12 months, special arrangements must be made with Bahamas Customs and Immigration. Bahamas Customs and Immigration office hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Officers are on call during holidays and weekends.
There is no overtime charge.
Arriving by Air/Returning by Boat
Travelers are advised to purchase return tickets (and seek reimbursement upon returning home for the unused ticket) even when they are confirmed to return via private boat. However, if the traveler arrives at Bahamas Immigration on a single ticket, the owner/operator of the boat must present himself/herself and the vessel's cruising permit. A copy of the cruising permit will be permitted for crew members who may be arriving by plane and returning by boat as their names will appear on the manifest. A letter will not suffice.
Upon your arrival to The Bahamas, you will be asked to fill out an Immigration Arrival/Departure Card, which you will keep until your departure. All visitors are required to be in possession of a return ticket.
A valid passport is required. A visa is required for stays exceeding eight months.
US Residents (non-citizens)
An Alien Registration Card (Green Card) AND a valid passport from their country of citizenship are required.
For visits EXCEEDING 30 days, a valid passport AND a Bahamas visa are required.
A valid passport is required for proof of citizenship. Voter registration cards, birth certificates and photo identifications are no longer accepted as proof of citizenship.
A Bahamas visa is required for stays exceeding three months.
United Kingdom Citizens
Citizens of the United Kingdom and colonies require a valid passport.
A visa is required for stays exceeding eight months.
All Other Countries
For entry formalities, please contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the nearest Bahamas Embassy, Consulate or High Commission.
Bahamas Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bahamas Embassy, Consulate and High Commission Offices
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Norfolk House, Frederick Street
P.O. Box N-3746
Phone: (242) 323.5578/5565
Fax: (242) 326.6186
Washington, D.C. | USA
Embassy of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas
2220 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20008
Phone: (202) 319.2660/7
Fax: (202) 319.2668
Miami | USA
Bahamas Consulate General
25 S.E. Second Avenue
Ingraham Bldg., Suite 600
Miami, FL 33131
Phone: (305) 373.6295
Fax: (305) 373.6312
New York | USA
Bahamas Consulate General
231 East 46th Street
New York, NY 10017
Phone: (212) 688.5926
Fax: (212) 688.5926
Bahamas High Commission
Metropolitan Life Centre
50 O'Connor, Suite 1313
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1 6L2
Phone: (613) 232.1724
Fax: (613) 232.0097
Bahamas High Commission
10 Chesterfield Street
London, W1J 5JL
Phone: (011) 44 207.408.4488
Fax: (011) 44 207.499.9937
When a private vessel arrives at a port of call in the United States, the Master or Captain of the vessel must report their arrival immediately upon first landfall to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) by calling the following toll free number or visiting the following website:
The Captain will be directed to the nearest Port of Entry and must physically present him/herself and their passengers for admission to the US.
Please visit www.dhs.gov for admission requirements.
When you call for clearance, have the following information available:
1) Vessel name and registration/document number
2) Vessel owner name and citizenship
3) Vessel commander/master name, date of birth and citizenship
4) Passengers' names and dates of birth
5) Foreign ports or places visited and duration of stay
6) Total value of all acquisitions and purchases made
More About Boating in The Bahamas.