Frequently Asked Questions

What services carry the new Value Added Tax?

Visitors and locals now pay 12% Value-Added Tax on most products and services. However, at special VAT-free authorized stores in major tourist areas, visiting overseas citizens can buy VAT-free souvenirs, clothing and luxury items over $25. On visitors accommodations, the old 10% Room Tax has been replaced by 7.5% VAT. It does not apply to gratuities. Also, visitors connecting flights and transport through the Bahamas is VAT-free if travel starts or ends overseas so long as any stopover here is less than 48 hours.

What documents do I need when my boat comes to The Bahamas?

You need:

  1. Vessel Registration documents.
  2. The Bahamas Customs Clearance Form. (See link to PDF form on www.bahamas.com/boating).
  3. One Bahamas Immigration Card for each person of any age.
  4. Proof of Citizenship Passport.

What is the cost to clear Bahamas Customs & Immigration?

A new fee structure will go into effect on January 1, 2020 : The following fees will be applied to boats staying in The Bahamas for up to 3 months:

  • Boats up to 34 feet: $150 (no change)
  • Boats 35-99 feet: $300 (no change)
  • Boats 100-149 feet: $500
  • Boats 150-200 feet: $800
  • Boats over 200 feet: $1,000
The fees cover both a cruising permit and fishing permit, as well as the departure tax for up to three people. Each additional person will be charged a $20 departure tax. The fee is good for a second re-entry within a 90-day period. For stays longer than 3 months:
  • Boats up to 34 feet: $300 annually
  • Boats 35-99 feet: $600 annually
  • Boats 100-149 feet: $1,000 annually
  • Boats 150–200 feet: $1,600 annually
  • Boats over 200 feet: $2,000 annually
For a stay longer than 12 months, special arrangements must be made with Bahamas Customs and Immigration. Please note that Attendance Fees, Fishing Permit, Transportation and Overtime fees are all included in the price of the cruising permit. The only additional fees would be for additional departure tax if there are more than 3 persons at a cost of $20 per additional person. It is illegal to tip government employees. Boaters are asked to report if they are ever asked for these types of payments to the local marina manger or dockmaster.

How long can I keep my boat in The Bahamas: what is the fee?

Owners of foreign registered boats (including the U.S.) may keep their vessels in The Bahamas for one year without paying duty and may extend this one-year stay to two years by paying a fee of $500. For further extensions, apply to Bahamas Customs.

Can I bring my pet and if yes, what is required?

Yes. An Import Permit of $10.75 (with VAT) is required for each animal. Dogs and cats must be six months of age and older, have current proof of vaccination and a health certificate. Apply to the Director of Agriculture, Gladstone Rd, P.O. Box N-3704, Nassau, Bahamas. Tel: (242) 325-7413. Fax: (242) 325-3960. For dog (or cat) permit form, see: goo.gl/HWHpwC. A fax service fee of $5 may apply. Email: departmentofagriculture@bahamas.gov.bs.

Can I bring firearms to The Bahamas on my boat?

Only three firearms (shotguns, rifles and handguns only) of not more than .308 caliber and only 250 rounds of ammo per firearm are allowed. All must be declared with Bahamas Customs. You must provide serial number, make and exact ammo count. You cannot remove the firearm from your boat. Weapons must be under lock and key at all times. Any infraction of this law will be dealt with severely.

Is there a fee to import parts to repair my vessel?

For use on vessel with a valid cruising permit, spare parts and replacement boat parts vital to the propulsion and systems of the boat may be brought in duty free. Parts imported as cargo are charged a 1% Customs Processing Fee (minimum of $10 to a maximum of $500).

Do I need a Fishing Permit and, if yes, how can I obtain one?

Yes. A sports fishing permit for deep sea or bottom fishing is included in your cruising permit fee. But please note that the Bahamas has introduced new regulations for fly fishing on flats from 1’ to 6’ deep for bonefish, tarpon, permit, cobia and snook, where each angler must buy a Personal Angler License For Flats Fishing. Licenses cost: $15 a day, $20 a week, $30 a month, or $60 a year. Also, boats going to the flats or on the flats with two anglers or more, need to hire a Licensed Bahamian Flats Fishing Guide. Please check https://bahamasmarinas.com/fishing/fishing-regulations/ for license application forms and news. License forms will be available at Customs at Ports of Entry or from the Department of Marine Resources & Fisheries in Nassau. Tel: (242) 397-7400 or email: fisheries@bahamas.gov.bs. See: http://goo.gl/XBENgZ

How much fish am I allowed to keep on board?

The catch limits (fillets or whole fish) on board the vessel at any time are: 18 Pelagic fish (Dolphins, Wahoo, Kingfish or Tuna), not more than 60 lbs. or 20 Demersal fish (Grouper, Snapper, Yellowtail, etc.), 10 Crawfish (Lobsters), and 6 Conchs. Billfish must be returned unless caught under a Sports Fishing Event Permit. No turtles are allowed.

How much fish can I take home when I leave The Bahamas?

Vessels leaving the country can take home the same limits as in point 8 above. Leaving by air, each person’s personal luggage can contain (fillets or whole fish): 6 Pelagic fish (Dolphin, Wahoo, Kingfish, or Tuna), 20 lbs of Demersal fish (Grouper, Snapper, Jacks, Porgy, Triggerfish, etc.), 10 lbs of Crawfish (Lobster), and 10 lbs of Conch.

Am I allowed to use a spear gun?

The use of spear gun is not allowed in The Bahamas. Only Hawaiian sling or pole spear can be used and must be applied for at time of permit. No hooka, scuba, compressor gear can be used for fishing but for sightseeing they are permitted.

When is Crawfish (Lobster) season?

Annual closed season is April 1 - July 31. Minimum size limits are: 3-1/4 inches carapace or 5 1/2" inches tail length.

To fish from a shore or a dock, do I need a fishing permit?

If you are fishing in the flats (which may include beaches and shallow docks adjoining flats) for bonefish, tarpon, snook, cobia or permit you will need a new Personal Flats Fishing Anglers License. See answer to the Fishing Permit FAQ above.

To rent a boat in The Bahamas, do I need a Fishing Permit?

You will only need a fishing permit if the boat you rent is not Bahamian-owned. Even when fishing from such a boat, a non-Bahamian or permanent resident must observe the per vessel fishing catch limits. See answer to the Fishing Permit FAQ above.

Is Shark Fishing allowed in The Bahamas?

No. Subject to Regulation 36D of the Fisheries Resources Regulations of 2001, no person shall possess fish for or land, any shark or shark parts with The Bahamas. For details see: http://www.bahamas.gov.bs/wps/wcm/connect/240f4bc0-ccd4-4ead-a21c-23e096eefac7/Shark+Fishing+Amendment+July+2011.pdf?MOD=AJPERES