Visiting boaters must clear customs and immigration in Alice Town, or nearby Cat Cay. As you enter port, fly the yellow quarantine flag. Once docked, the captain is permitted to leave the boat in order to clear the boat and crew with local customs and immigration. All crew are required to remain onboard until the captain returns with vessel clearance. All visitors entering The Bahamas must make a customs declaration upon arrival. Adult visitors are allowed to bring in 50 cigars, 200 cigarettes or one pound of tobacco, one quart of spirits and personal effects. Specifically, Bahamas Customs requires the following:
- Vessel's Registration
- Completion of the Maritime Declaration Form
- Completion of the Inward Report Form
Everyone on board must have proof of citizenship and fill out an immigration card. U.S. citizens can present a passport. Before leaving, be sure to surrender your copy of the immigration card. Specifically, Bahamas Immigration requires the following.
- Completion of Inward Passenger & Crew Manifest form
- Completion of an Immigration Card for each person arriving on the vessel.
If you have a firearm on board, you must declare it with Customs. You must provide the serial number and manufacturer, plus an exact count of ammunition. You are allowed to have a firearm on your boat, but you cannot take it off unless you have a permit from the Bahamian police ahead of time. Weapons must be under lock and key at all times. Any infraction of this law is dealt with severely.
The current fee is $150 for boats up to 30 feet in length and $300 for boats over 30 feet. This covers a vessel with Three persons or fewer. The fee covers the cruising permit, fishing permit, Customs and Immigration charges and the $25 per person departure tax for up to Three persons. The clearance fee entitles the vessel to two entries during a 90-day period. You must have the receipt when you return.
Each additional person above Three and over the age of Six is charged a $25.00 departure tax. If you plan to stay longer than 12 months, special arrangements must be made with Bahamas Customs and Immigration.
Regular hours for Bahamas Customs and Immigration Officers are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Officers are on-call during holidays and weekends. There is no overtime charge.
Cruising and Fishing Permits
You receive a Cruising Permit upon clearance and payment of entry fees. Upon issuance of your Cruising Permit you will also receive a Fishing Permit. Fishing gear is restricted to hook and line and you're allowed to fish with no more than six rods at a time per boat. While enforcement is irregular, cruising or fishing without the proper permits or in violation of bag limits can result in severe penalties. This includes stopping to fish or dive in the waters off Bimini prior to clearing.
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