Legal Resources by Halsbury Law Chambers

Frequently Asked Immigration Law Questions

Q: I have seen the phrase “engage in gainful occupation” on immigration forms, what does this mean?

Engaging in gainful occupation means: To take and continue in any employment; or To practice any profession; or To carry on any trade; or To engage in business; or To engage in such other form of occupation as may be prescribed, where such employment, profession, trade, or business is taken or continued, or is practiced, carried on or engaged in either directly or indirectly for reward, profit or gain.

Q: What are the functions of the Immigration Board?

To exercise a general supervision and control over matters concerning or connected with the entry of persons into the Bahamas, and the residence and occupation in the Bahamas of persons who are not citizens of the Bahamas or permanent residents.

Q: What is necessary for a person to qualify for Permanent Residence?

There are several requirements that must be met in order for an individual to be considered by the Board of Immigration for permanent residence in the Bahamas. A hopeful applicant must: a) Be 18 years or over b) Be of good character c) Have stated on his/her application the desire to reside permanently in the Bahamas

Q: When can a foreign spouse of a Bahamian apply for Permanent Residency?

Immediately if the applicant: Is married to a citizen of the Bahamas, Is not a citizen of the Bahamas or a permanent resident, Is not living apart from the other party to the marriage and, Being a husband, has so lived continuously with the other party to the marriage for a period of not less than five years.

Q: If a Certificate of Permanent Residency is granted to a spouse of a Bahamian, can that foreign spouse have any restrictions on the Permanent Residency Permit?

No, Section 14 of the Immigration Act provides that where a Certificate of Permanent Residency is granted under these circumstances, the Permanent Residency Permit shall not contain any condition restricting the right of the holder to engage in gainful employment.

Q: As a foreign male who has obtained permanent residency status in The Bahamas, can I apply to endorse my wife and children on the Certificate?

Yes, when a permanent residence certificate is granted under Section 13 of the Immigration Act, the Immigration Board may, in its absolute discretion, then, or on a subsequent application in the prescribed form endorse the certificate to apply to the wife or any dependent child of that person ordinarily resident with him.

Q: How long will a permanent residence certificate remain valid once I obtain it? Does it ever expire?

A Permanent Residence Certificate shall remain in force during the lifetime of the person to whom it is granted, when and unless revoked.

Q: When I apply for a work permit in the Bahamas can I request the permit to be for a specified time?

Yes, depending on the particular engagement, you can apply for a short term work permit or, indeed, you can apply for periods exceeding one (1) year.

Q: What do I do when I obtain a work permit for a person, and thereafter wish to terminate their employment?

You ought to advise the Director of Immigration of the termination, present his/her permit to the Director and show proof that the person has or will be leaving the country.

Q: When I apply for a work permit for a prospective employee and it is rejected, what do I do?

You can apply to the Director of Immigration for him to reconsider your application.

Q: If I am born in the Bahamas but my parents are non-citizens, can I become a citizen of the Bahamas?

You can apply on your 18th birthday or within 12 months thereafter to be registered as a citizen of the Bahamas.

Q: Can I become a citizen of the Bahamas if I was born outside of the Bahamas and my father is Bahamian and my mother is foreign?

Yes, you can become a citizen of the Bahamas at the date of your birth.

Q: Can I become a citizen of the Bahamas if I was born outside of the Bahamas and my mother is Bahamian and my father is foreign?

You can apply for citizenship at the age of 18 or before attaining the age of 21. If you are a citizen of another country, you must renounce the citizenship of that country.

Q: I am married to a Bahamian male. Can I become a citizen of the Bahamas?

Yes, Article 10 of the Constitution of the Bahamas states “any woman, who after 9th July, 1973 marries a person who is or become a citizen of the Bahamas shall be entitled, provided she is still so married, upon making application in such manner as my be prescribed, to be registered as a citizen of the Bahamas”.

Q: Do you have to apply for a spousal permit every year?

The spousal permit is only good for the first 5 years of marriage. So, if you apply for a spousal permit in your second year of marriage for example, and it is approved, your spousal permit will expire after 3 years.

Q: What is a general work permit?

A general work permit is a permit that allows a person to engage in unrestricted employment.

Q: I have just adopted a child who is not a citizen of the Bahamas. Can that child become a citizen of the Bahamas?

If the male adopter is a citizen of the Bahamas, the minor shall become a citizen of the Bahamas from the date of the adoption order made by a competent court.

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