Relocating to the Bahamas? What You Should Know

Posted by Helen Aaron Dupuch on Monday, November 28th, 2016 at 10:44am.

Who wouldn’t you want to live in the Bahamas? 340 plus days of sublime sunny weather on average each year. Beautiful sandy beaches. Laid-back island lifestyle. No income tax. The benefits are numerous.

But there are a few things you should know before starting to move toward relocating to this sunny tropical paradise. Here are a few things to consider.

Why move here anyway?

Let’s start off with an easy one. One has to simply take a look at the beautiful environment with its sunny climate, and friendly residents to understand why anyone would want to spend more time here.

It’s also close – relatively speaking. The sunny islands can be easily reached from numerous international locations via a direct flight, closest of all is Miami, only a short 40 minute flight away. Be aware though, many flights do fly through the United States, so you’ll need to ensure you qualify for any visa restrictions required to enter that country. There are direct flights to Nassau from the entire Eastern Seaboard, Canada and Europe.

Best of all, everyone speaks English; the Bahamas was a British Colony for centuries, as recently as 1973. No foreign language knowledge required.

Where do I want to live?

Another appealing aspect of considering a home in the Bahamas is the choice. The vast majority of the Bahamian population is centered around Nassau on the island of New Providence, and to a lesser extent Freeport in Grand Bahama. That’s nearly 70% of the total population of just over 392,000. This is the center of business and commerce.

In contrast, the Bahamas’ outlying islands provide a polar opposite experience. If you’re interested in the more traditional island lifestyle away from the tourist crowds of the main islands, then islands such as Abaco and Eleuthera could be just the ticket. With much lower population densities, these islands will allow you that degree of privacy and space to stretch out to explore the beach in peace.

bahamas real estateIs it easy to get a job or work permit?

Gaining a work permit or even a permanent residency can be quite difficult. If you plan on working, you’re required to have a work permit. The requirements can be quite stringent.

You’ll likely need a letter from your future employer as well as a notice from the government that no qualified local resident could be found to do the work. As a result of this requirement, competition for jobs is especially fierce for foreigners. To have even a chance, you’ll likely have to have some kind of advanced professional degree with ample supporting work experience.

How can I gain permanent residency?

Residency is an alternate route to take if you aspire to make a permanent home in the Bahamas. You’ll have to prove that you can support yourself without working however. Residency comes in two forms.

You can apply for annual residency as the owner of a residence valued at a minimum of $250K. With a property valued at least $500K, you become eligible for permanent residency status. If you’ve purchased a property valued at over $1.5 million, or made an investment of the same amount you can even enjoy an expedited application process.

What taxes are involved?

Taxes remain quite low in the Bahamas. In terms of personal taxes, Bahamians enjoy zero income or capital gains taxes. All taxes levied in the country are indirect taxes.

On the sale of a property, there is a 10% tax that is split between the buyer and seller. For property owners, there is an annual property tax, with various rates depending on the value of the home.

  • The first $250,000 of market value is tax exempt
  • More than $250,000 and not exceeding $500,000 of market value is ¾%
  • More than $500,000 and not exceeding $5,000,000 of market value is 1%
  • More than $5,000,000 of market value is .25%

If you’re seriously considering a move to the tropical Bahamas, we’d be happy to answer any questions you might have. Feel free to contact ERA Dupuch Real Estate online or call 242-393-1811 to consult a local professional.

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