Includes information on business customs, travel advisory, visa requirements, and other aspects of international travel.
The national language of The Bahamas is English. Due to the proximity of the country to the United States and close cultural ties business customs tend to mirror those in the United States. Business dress is often formal; suit and tie are recommended for men and conservative business attire for women. Bahamians shake hands when meeting, sometimes exchange business cards, and address first-time business acquaintances by their titles and last names. Business relationships move to a first name basis more slowly than in the United States.
Decision-making is usually done at the highest levels and middle-ranking government, or business officers will generally require approval from more senior officials. Firm appointments for business meetings are advisable. Business lunches are preferable to dinners in The Bahamas. Bahamians usually expect the lunch to last between an hour and an hour-and-a-half.
For the latest State Department travel advisory, visit https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/the-bahamas.html.
While Americans do not require travel visas to enter the Bahamas, all U.S. travelers require a passport for re-entry to the United States.
The Bahamian dollar is pegged one-to-one to the U.S. dollar. U.S. currency is also widely used in The Bahamas. Debit and credit cards are accepted primarily in major population centers.
The Bahamas uses the same electric current as the United States (110/120V) and U.S. appliances work in the country without a need for adapters. Cellphone and internet services, including access to Wi-Fi, are widely available at competitive rates on all major islands. Surge protectors are recommended for electronic equipment during the summer months.
International air connections: Regular and seasonal direct air service is available to The Bahamas into the Sir Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau from many U.S. cities, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Detroit, Ft. Lauderdale, Ft. Myers, Houston, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York JFK, Newark, Orlando, Philadelphia, Tampa, Washington D.C., and West Palm Beach. There is also direct service from some U.S. airports to Grand Bahama and other Bahamian islands. In addition, there are direct air service between Nassau and the UK, Canada, and several Caribbean nations.
Service is available from Nassau to other Bahamian islands via the government owned BahamasAir and privately owned companies Sky Bahamas, Western Air, Pineapple Air, and Flamingo Air, among others. Charter companies service less-frequented airports.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection maintains a pre-clearance facility at the airport in Nassau.
Car rental is available through Hertz, Avis, Budget, Dollar, and other franchises. Several competitive local operators are also available at airport locations on the major islands. Pick-up from a hotel anywhere in New Providence, including Paradise Island, is often free of charge.
The public bus system costs $1.25 in the city, and more for outlying areas. Bus stops are marked but often not used, and buses can be flagged down by waiving one’s hand. Service is generally from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.; however, time schedules may be unpredictable.
English is the official language of The Bahamas.
There are government-operated hospitals on New Providence and Grand Bahama islands. Government clinics are available throughout New Providence, Grand Bahama, and all major Family Islands. The government subsidizes health care, and residents and non-residents pay only nominal fees at government clinics and hospitals.
Health insurance is available through local and international insurance companies. Group plans are available where employers arrange a health insurance plan on behalf of their employees. Most local insurance carriers include coverage for Bahamians seeking medical care in the United States. Local hospitals accept most U.S. health insurance but may require a cash or credit card security deposit for medical services.
While the number of COVID-19 cases has decreased, travelers are encouraged to visit the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before planning international travel.
Local Time, Business Hours, and Holidays:
The Bahamas operates on U.S. Eastern Standard Time and observes U.S. daylight savings time. Normal business hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The following public holidays will be observed in The Bahamas in 2022:
New Year’s Day – January 1
Majority Rule Day – January 10
Good Friday – April 15
Easter Monday – April 18
Randol Fawkes Labor Day – June 3
Whit Monday– June 6
Independence Day – July 10
Emancipation Day – August 1
National Heroes Day – October 10
Christmas Day – December 25
Boxing Day – December 26
Holidays falling on a Saturday or Sunday are usually celebrated the following Monday.
Banks/businesses and many shops are closed on public holidays.
Temporary Entry of Materials and Personal Belongings:
Visitors may bring personal effects, a limited amount of alcoholic beverages, and other articles into The Bahamas duty-free. Exhibit materials, salesmen’s samples, photographic and cinematographic equipment belonging to members of the press and special tools for repair work may be imported on a temporary basis, but a bond or deposit may be required.
Questions should be referred to:
The Comptroller of Customs
Customs and Excise Department
P.O. Box N 155
Tel: (242) 302-3302 or 302-3415
Fax: (242) 325-7409 or 322-6223