Caribbean digital nomad visas became very popular during 2020-2021, as many countries have allowed digital nomads and even remote students to live and work in the Caribbean. The Bahamas has over 100,00 square miles of some of the world’s most pristine beaches and has had a successful digital nomad visa program since 2020. Applying for this digital nomad visa is an excellent way for digital nomads to enjoy spending time in one of the world’s most popular Caribbean destinations.
You can enjoy the crystal waters in Nassau's beach
DIGITAL NOMAD VISA OVERVIEW
The Bahamas launched a digital nomad visa called Bahamas Extended Access Travel Stay (BEATS) in October 2020. The Bahamas previously had over 7 million tourists visit the country in 2019 and is doing everything it can to help attract digital nomads, not just short-term tourists. However, these numbers dropped to below 2 million in 2020, encouraging the government to move forward with a new digital nomad visa. For example, some Caribbean destinations, such as Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat and The Cayman Islands, may be cheaper than the United States or Canada. The Bahamas is a different case, but still manageable.
The Bahamas digital nomad visa is one of many Caribbean digital nomad visas, but it is unique because it is one of few that allows students and digital nomads to apply. Moreover, the program does not have any minimum income requirements, although you should carefully plan to be able to support yourself, as the country has somewhat higher living expenses. This fact means that people who are semi-retired could technically use this digital nomad visa to live in the Caribbean if they prove they are financially able to support themselves, while other programs would require an income of $50,000 USD or above in some cases.
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The cost of living in Nassau could be a bit pricey
LIVING IN THE BAHAMAS
The Bahamas can be a wonderful place to live, whether you are travelling alone or with your family. While the cost of living may be slightly more expensive than in the United States, especially because of imported items, living in the Bahamas is still not terribly expensive. The lifestyle and beaches make it worth it for most digital nomads interested in this option. The proximity to the United States and Canada is another bonus for digital nomads who frequently want to travel back home for holidays or other events.
Internet Speed: The internet speed in the Bahamas is acceptable in most areas and is slightly slower than in some Caribbean countries. The country’s fixed broadband download speed is 45.11 Mbps, compared to 78.27 Mbps in Barbados, 82.11 Mbps in Dominica, and 64.02 Mbps in Grenada.
Crime is a risk: Some types of crime are common in the Bahamas, typically in crowded tourist areas, but crime has been on a downtrend since 2018. This is one of the main factors to monitor when living in the Bahamas and can be avoided by staying away from specific areas.
Cost of Living: In most cases, the cost of living will only be slightly higher or lower than what you typically spend if you live in Western Europe, Canada, or the United States. Sometimes, your rent may be cheaper, but you may pay more for imported food or drinks. For example, Numbeo notes that the cost of rent is 15% lower relative to the United States, while the cost of living is 25% higher. The cost for some medical procedures could be 30-40% less than in the United States, but costs vary significantly depending on the type of hospital.
Tourist Attractions: If you plan to live in the Bahamas for up to one year, you will have plenty of time to travel and explore the country. There are plenty of natural parks, islands, and other attractions to visit, including the famous Swimming Pigs and Thunderball Cave featured in the recent James Bond movie. Water taxis and ferries are easy options to help Island hopping, as there are multiple attractions to explore that can only be accessed this way.
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Eleuthera Island, Bahamas
Applying for this digital nomad visa is very straightforward, as the entire application process can be completed online. In order to apply, you will need to gather the following documentation:
- Copy of your passport;
- Passport-sized photos;
- Health insurance that covers you during your stay in the Bahamas;
- Work documentation, including contracts from your employer or clients if you are self-employed;
- Bank statements or other financial documents that can help support your application;
- Proof that you are enrolled in university and can study in the Bahamas if you are planning to apply as a student;
- Dependent information if you are bringing your family.
Length: This digital nomad visa is only valid for 12 months, but you can renew it twice for a total of 3 years.
Taxes: You do not have to worry about paying any capital gains or income taxes in the country. However, you will have to pay VATs, and many items in the Bahamas will be more expensive.
Application Fee: The application fee is cheaper than that of other Caribbean digital nomad visa programs. It only costs $25 USD to apply, and the permit fee is $1,000 USD.
Bringing Your Family: Another benefit of this digital nomad visa is that you can bring your family with you. It only costs an additional $525 USD per family member ( $25 USD application fee and $500 USD permit fee). You will need to submit additional documentation verifying your relationship with your family members.
Infinity Pool at a Hotel in Freeport, Bahamas
Permanent residency and citizenship options in the Bahamas are not very favourable, and it is better to consider other Caribbean destinations if this is your endgame. You can typically become a permanent resident through marriage or work and often have to spend 10-20 years in the country working before being eligible. You may be able to expedite the process by investing $750,000 USD. However, this amount is not very attractive relative to other countries that offer citizenship if you invest a fraction of this amount.
Related Content: The Basics Of How To Get A Second Passport Or A Second Residency
The sunset in Freeport is one of the most beautiful things to enjoy
The Bahamas digital nomad visa is comparatively superior to other Caribbean digital nomad visas in several ways, including its lower application fee and relative ease of extending the visa for up to three years. This digital nomad visa easily allows remote workers, semi-retired individuals, and even students to spend time living and working in the Bahamas. If you only plan to stay in the Bahamas for a year and are not interested in a second residency further down the line, then this is a solid option to consider.