The current Bahamas immigration law does not provide a direct path to permanent residency. The applicant first obtains a residence permit or homeowner's ID card and then applies for permanent residency after one year.
The new rules will allow investors to obtain permanent residency immediately. Holders of permanent residency cards will also be able to apply for Bahamian citizenship by naturalization.
How to Get a Permanent Residence in the Bahamas by investment
To apply for a permanent residence, adult investors with no criminal record are eligible.
Investment options include two options:
- Buying residential real estate on the islands;
- Investing in the Bahamian economy, such as in priority sectors for the country - tourism, marina construction, information technology, medicine.
A combination of both investment options is also possible: an investor can buy housing and finance a business in the Bahamas at the same time.
The minimum amount of investment is not specified in the law. It will be approved and reviewed by the head of the Ministry of Financial Services, Trade, Industry, and Migration of The Bahamas.
Under current rules, the amount of investment only affects the speed of processing the application. The fast-track procedure for processing a permanent residency application takes 21 days. But Bahamian government websites give conflicting information about the minimum investment amount for the expedited procedure for granting permanent residency.
The official website of the Bahamas Migration Service indicates an investment amount of $750,000 for an accelerated permanent residence. On the website of the Investment Authority, the amount is different – from 1.5 million dollars. It is noted that the office, in principle, does not consider applications for less than $ 500,000 for investments in the economy and business of the country.
The minimum investment amount for new applicants is also likely to be at least $500,000. The Secretary of State for Migration will announce the exact amount by July 1, 2021.
The period of ownership of the investment is 10 years. The investor also submits a declaration to the Bahamas Migration Service every 10 years. The declaration should confirm that the information on the Permanent Residence application is still up-to-date.
If the investor's circumstances have changed, such as his or her annual earnings or the amount of investment in the Bahamian economy, the investor will attach an affidavit to the declaration - a legal opinion of exactly what has changed and how. The affidavit also confirms that the investor still meets the legal requirements and is entitled to retain his or her residency.
Participation of family members of the investor. The investor's spouse and other relatives can receive a Permanent Residence Permit together with the investor if they:
- permanently live together with the investor;
- financially dependent on the investor.
The law does not set age limits for relatives.
The period for obtaining a permanent residence by investment is not more than three months from the date of application to the Migration Service of the Bahamas.
It is mandatory to live in the Bahamas to maintain permanent residency status. By law, Permanent Resident Card Holders must spend at least 90 days per year in the
Permanent residency can be revoked if an investor violates the terms of the program, such as selling a home before the ten-year holding period has expired. Also by law, the investor is deprived of permanent residency if he lived outside the Bahamas for more than three years or will be convicted in any country for a term of imprisonment of one year or more.
The investor's relatives will lose their permanent residency if they cease to be financially dependent on the principal applicant.
For a complete list of grounds for revocation of permanent residency, see paragraph 18 of the Immigration Act.
What a Permanent Residence in the Bahamas Gives
Change of tax residency. An investor becomes a tax resident of The Bahamas if he/she lives in the country for more than 183 days per year. Staying in the country for a long period of time allows the residence card.
A company automatically becomes a Bahamian tax resident if its head office is registered in the country.
Tax residents of the Bahamas do not pay income tax, as well as taxes on capital gains and transfers. There is no tax on income from dividends, interest, and royalties. The Bahamas also has no inheritance or estate tax.
Bahamian companies pay no income tax. But there is VAT: it is levied at a rate of 12%. New companies are exempt from taxes for 20 years after incorporation in the Bahamas.
Citizenship Perspective. Permanent Resident Card holders can only obtain Bahamian citizenship by naturalization. To do so, one must maintain permanent residency status for at least 10 years. Of those, a minimum of 6 years must be lived on the islands.
The Bahamas does not recognize second citizenship. Therefore, to get a passport to the country, you would have to give up your other citizenship in favor of Bahamian.
A Bahamian passport entitles you to travel visa-free to 155 countries, including Schengen Area, China, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. The Bahamas is part of the Commonwealth of Nations, so Bahamian citizens travel to the UK visa-free for 180 days a year. If a Bahamian citizen flies to the US through Nassau or Freeport International Airport, he or she does not need a US visa. Bahamian nationals also receive an electronic permit in lieu of a visa for travel to Canada.
Accommodations and vacations in the Caribbean. Permanent residents spend at least three months a year in the Bahamas. The best time to vacation on the islands is from September to May. During this time keep a comfortable air temperature of +18 to +22 ° C, water - about +25 ° C.
The most popular resort islands in the Bahamas are Bimini, Paradise, New Providence, Long Island, and Harbor.
Owners of luxury real estate in the Bahamas may be neighbors of world stars: Johnny Depp, Oprah Winfrey, Nicolas Cage, Sean Connery, or Kanye West.
Which Caribbean countries grant citizenship by investment?
Five countries in the Caribbean offer cosmopolitans not permanent residency, but citizenship by investment. They are St. Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Lucia, and Dominica.
The minimum investment amount for Caribbean citizenship programs is seven times less than for permanent residency in the Bahamas. Investors are not required to come and live in a second citizenship country either before or after obtaining a passport.
Caribbean countries with citizenship programs allow investors to hold two passports, so they do not have to give up Russian citizenship.
Conditions for obtaining Caribbean citizenship
|Country||Investment||Deadline to obtain a passport||Visit and accommodation in the country|
|St Kitts and Nevis||From $150,000||2 to 6 months||Not required|
|Grenada||From $150,000||2 to 6 months||Not required|
|Antigua and Barbuda||From $100,000||3 to 6 months||
|Dominica||From $100,000||2 to 6 months||Not required|
|St Lucia||From $100,000||3-4 months||Not required|
The Caribbean passport allows you to live and do business in a second citizenship country. You can become a tax resident of a Caribbean country if you have lived in the country for more than 183 days. A business becomes a tax resident if its head office is registered on the territory of the Caribbean state.
Participants in Caribbean citizenship programs can get back the money invested after five years, not ten years like Bahamian residency holders.
Caribbean passport holders travel visa-free to more than 140 countries, including the Schengen Area, Great Britain, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Grenada citizens can also obtain an E2 business visa in the U.S. and travel visa-free to China.
Benefits of Caribbean and Vanuatu citizenship
|Country||Number of countries with visa-free entry||Return on investment||Income tax for tax residents|
|St Kitts and Nevis||157||After 5 or 7 years||0% for individuals|
33% for legal entities
|Grenada||144||After 5 years||From 10% for individuals|
28% for legal entities
|Antigua and Barbuda||151||After 5 years||0% for individuals|
25% for legal entities
|Dominica||143||After 3 years||From 15% for individuals|
25% for legal entities
|St Lucia||146||After 5 years||From 0% for individuals|
30% for legal entities
❗Only for income derived from a source in Saint Lucia
Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for Caribbean and Vanuatu citizenship programs. If you want to travel freely around the world and start paying taxes abroad, seek advice from investment program experts.