Bahamas

Premier Areas of Coverage

Nassau Island

Country Details

The Bahamas, 'Great Land of the Valiant & Noble Lord', officially the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, is an island country consisting of more than 700 islands, cays, and islets in the Atlantic Ocean; north of Cuba and Hispaniola (the Dominican Republic and Haiti); northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands; southeast of the U.S. state of Florida and east of the Florida Keys. Its capital is Nassau on the island of New Providence. The designation of "Bahamas" can refer to either the country or the larger island chain that it shares with the Turks and Caicos Islands. 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.

It is important to know where to rent a property when moving to The Bahamas. The areas where affordable, desirable rentals are located within  The Bahamas are Lyford Cay, Old  Fort Bay, Ocean Club Estates, Caves Point, Caves Heights, Sandyport, Port New Providence, Palm Cay, Columbus Cove, Westwinds, Venetian West, Turnberry, Charlotte’s Ville.


Lease Information

  • Is a guarantor needed? No it is not required
  • Who pays rental commission? The landlord pays the rental commission
  • How much is the rental commission? One month’s rent + VAT
  • What is the standard lease term? Lease terms are usually 12 months
  • What currency is used to negotiate the lease and pay the rent? USD or Bahamian Dollars which are par with USD
  • How often is the rent paid? Minimum monthly however better terms may be available if paid quarterly, semi-annually, or annually.
  • Is there a security deposit required? Yes, one month’s rent
  • Who holds the security deposit?  The landlord
  • Is advanced rent required? Yes, 3 month’s rent (1st month, last month, & security deposit)
  • What language is the lease written in? English
  • Who is the lease normally prepared by? Usually by the Destination Services Provider; it is recommended to use a corporate template if one is available, to insure that all legal concerns have been addressed.
  • Is a cancellation clause accepted?  Yes, with 60 day notice

 

Utilities

In order to connect your utilities you will need a copy of your work permit and picture page of your passport.

Electricity

In New Providence, electricity is generated by The Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC).  Deposits, depending on the size of the home, will be required to establish service.

Telephone

Telephone services can be obtained from two main providers:

Cable

In the Bahamas there is one main provider of Cable television services:

Cell Phone

There is only one provider of cellular service in The Bahamas at this time. Their pricing and services vary based the promotions they are running at the time you purchase your cellular phone and service.  You will be required to pay a deposit with the provider to established postpaid services. Prepaid (pay as you go) service is also available.

The Bahamas Ministry of Education has oversight of the entire educational system. For International Students, the schools of note would be:

Schools in The Bahamas are categorized as follows:

  • Preschool - Ages 3 to 5
  • Primary - Ages 5 to 11
  • Junior (Lower Secondary) - Ages 11 to 13
  • Senior (Upper Secondary) - Ages 13 to 17
  • All Age - Ages 5 to 7
  • Special Eduaction - All Ages

 

Registering your Child/Children

Non-English records may need to be officially translated. Some schools will not require translation of these records or may translate them for free; this requirement will be determined based on the school your child/children will attend.

Required documentation

  • School records from the your home country

  • Original Birth Certificate

  • Proof of residency (either a utility bill or copy of a document showing you rent or own a home in the area).

  • Vaccination Records & Physical – you must bring the current vaccination records.

Keeping students in schools safe from infectious diseases is very important. Before entering a schools in the Bahamas, students must have the proper immunizations and a school physical examination completed by a licensed medical practitioner. Students may be exempt from the required immunizations for religious or other reasons; for more information on this you should contact the Bahamas Ministry of Health.

National Insurance Number

The National Insurance Act, 1972, established a system of national social insurance in The Bahamas.  Contributions must be paid for all employed persons, whether they are permanent, temporary or part-time.  Contributions are paid at a rate of 9.8% and shared as follows: 3.9% by the employee and 5.9% by the employer. NIB provides a wide range of benefits, long- and short-term, for qualified insured persons and their dependents.  Benefits are in the form of partial income-replacing payments in times of sickness, invalidity, maternity, loss of employment, retirement, and death. Once the application is submitted and approved you will receive a number that is unique to you which you will use for identification purposes and to obtain your local driver’s license.

Driver’s License

The Bahamas follows the British system of driving on the left-hand side of the road. You must be at least 17 to qualify to drive a car, motorcycle, or motor-assisted cycle equipped with pedals.  First-time applicants must obtain a learner’s permit (provisional license) for $15.00 USD and then take an oral/written test and a road test when they are ready to drive unaccompanied. Drivers holding a valid foreign driver’s license may apply to the Road Traffic Department for a Bahamian license. Bahamian driver’s licenses are issued only to Bahamians or persons who have Bahamian status, residency, or permission to work in The Bahamas.

Vehicle Inspection/Ownership

All vehicles must be inspected by the Road Traffic Department before being licensed to operate on the streets.   The fee is $35.   Private vehicles are inspected annually by the end of the owner’s month of birth. A vehicle ownership fee is paid annually by the end of the owner’s month of birth.  The fee ranges for $150-700 depending on the size (weight in lbs.) of the vehicle. Upon registration, vehicles will be issued with a Bahamian license plate bearing the name of the island where the vehicles was licensed.

Motor Vehicle Insurance

All motor vehicles in The Bahamas must be licensed and insured in accordance with The Bahamas Road Traffic Act. The cost of insurance depends on the driver’s age, driving experience, traffic convictions, accident record, the vehicle’s age, engine size and value,  number  of  drivers,  intended  use  of  the  vehicle  and  other criteria.

Bank Information

There are several retail banks in The Bahamas which provide the full list of banking services, deposit/credit facilities, safety deposit boxes, and trust & fiduciary services.   They include, Royal Bank of Canada, Scotiabank, CIBC/First Caribbean, and Bank of The Bahamas, British Fidelity and Commonwealth Bank of The Bahamas. The requirements to open your account are:

  • Passport with work permit

  • Letter of introduction from your employer confirming employment and proof of address

  • Current Country License (as a second form of identification)

  • Funds to open account – minimum $100 USD

Hospitals

There are two major hospitals in the Bahamas

There are also private and public clinics as well as specialist and general practice offices throughout the island.

Malls

Furniture Stores

Should you need to purchase any household furniture, there are several major furniture stores in New Providence such as:

 

Local Holidays

  • January 1st  – New Year’s Day

  • April 3rd  – Good Friday

  • April 6th  – Easter Monday

  • June 5th – Labour Day

  • July 10th – Independence Day

  • August 3rd – Emancipation Day

  • October 12th –National Heroes Day

  • December 25th – Christmas Day

  • December 26th – Boxing Day