Citizenship: Not as Easy as you Might Think
by Ester Napoli
Obtaining a Bahamas citizenship is not as easy
as you might think. Even if you were born in
the Bahamas, it does not mean that you are entitled
to citizenship. There are many strict rules
and regulations in the Constitution of the Commonwealth
of the Bahamas, dated July 10, 1973, with regard
to a Bahamian citizenship.
Entitled to a Bahamas Citizenship
- If you were born in the Bahamas before July
10th, 1973, the date the constitution, and
were a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies,
you are unquestionably a citizen of the Bahamas.
- If you were born in the Bahamas after July
10th, 1973, and your parents are Bahamian,
you are automatically granted citizenship.
- If your father is Bahamian but your mother
is not, you are still considered a Bahamian
- If you were born outside the Bahamas, your
father must be Bahamian for you to attain
a Bahamas citizenship or your mother has to
be Bahamian and unmarried.
- If your mother is Bahamian but married
to a non-Bahamian, it does not guarantee automatic
Individuals Eligible for a Bahamas
- Foreign women who marry a citizen of the
- Individuals born in the Bahamas, but whose
parents were not Bahamian citizens
- Individuals born to a Bahamian mother outside
- Children adopted by Bahamian citizens.
Individuals Eligible to Apply for a
It is possible to acquire a Bahamian citizenship
if you have resided in the Bahamas for an extended
period of time (approximately 6 to 9 years)
and have lived there for a minimum of 12 consecutive
Your chances of obtaining citizenship are even
greater if you plan to remain in the country
permanently and know the Bahamian language and
customs. You must also be a law-abiding resident
and an individual of ‘good’ character.
Can a Bahamas Citizenship be Revoked?
Even if you are a legal Bahamian citizen, the
government has the power to cancel your citizenship,
albeit, not without valid justification.
Citizenship can be revoked if an individual
voluntarily acquires another citizenship from
a foreign country. If you were born in a country
that awards citizenship at birth, that citizenship
must be cancelled before you can obtain a Bahamas
citizenship. There is an exception - anyone
under 21 years of age may retain dual citizenship
until the age of 21, at which time the individual
has 12 months to cancel their foreign citizenship,
otherwise their Bahamian citizenship will be
How do Visitors to the Bahamas Obtain
Being a Bahamian citizen has its advantages,
and many visitors to the islands end up wanting
to acquire citizenship. Visitors to the Bahamas,
who are not citizens, are typically not allowed
to reside in the country for more than 8 months
at a time, and have to prove that can support
themselves financially during that period of
The government regulates non-citizens diligently,
but international applicants are often granted
immediate attention if they invest or purchase
property valued at a minimum of $500, 000. To
obtain permanent residency, an individual must
consider investing over $500, 000 into the Bahamas.
Visitors applying for a Bahamas citizenship
cannot have a criminal record and must be individuals
of ‘good character.’ Non-citizens
are normally not eligible to work unless they
are given the right to do so by the government.
Most jobs prioritize Bahamian citizens.
If you are contemplating a move to the Bahamas
and have other questions, check the immigration
and visa requirements page for additional
Living and working in the Bahamas means life
under the warmth of a tropical sun, surrounded
by the incomparable beauty of white sand and
blue sea. Serenity does exist in the Bahamas.
About the author:
Ester Napoli: They say if you want to be happy, you have to do something
you are passionate about. One of my passions is traveling and the one
place I fell in love with was the Bahamas; the white sand, clear waters,
friendly environment. It is paradise on earth. I enjoy all aspects of
the Bahamas; the culture, the history, the countless sports and activities
to keep you busy, and of course, the fabulous weather. Website: Glorious
Bahamas Real Estate (www.gloriousbahamas.com).