The Bahamas International Travel Information (2024)


Commonwealth of The Bahamas

Travel Advisory January 26, 2024 The Bahamas - Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution


Exercise increased caution in The Bahamas due to crime. 

Updated with additional water safety information.

Exercise increased caution in The Bahamas due tocrime. 

Country Summary:The majority of crime occurs on New Providence (Nassau) and Grand Bahama (Freeport) islands. In Nassau, practice increased vigilance in the “Over the Hill” area (south of Shirley Street) where gang-on-gang violence has resulted in a high homicide rate primarily affecting the local population. Violent crime, such as burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assaults, occur in both tourist and non-tourist areas. Be vigilant when staying at short-term vacation rental properties where private security companies do not have a presence.   

 Activities involving commercial recreational watercraft, including water tours, are not consistently regulated.Watercraft may be poorly maintained, and some operators may not have safety certifications.  Always review and heed local weather and marine alerts before engaging in water-based activities. Commercial watercraft operators have discretion to operate their vessels regardless of weather forecasts; injuries and fatalities have occurred. Due to these safety concerns, U.S. government personnel are not permitted to use independently operated jet-ski rentals on New Providence and Paradise Islands.   

Never swim alone, regardless of your age or level of swimming skills. Keep within your fitness and swimming capabilities. Be mindful of sharks when swimming and engaging in water activities, as there have been recent fatal and non-fatal incidents involving sharks. Be aware of weather and water conditions and heed local warnings.

Read the country information pagefor additional information on travel to The Bahamas.

If you decide to travel to The Bahamas:  

  • Do not answer your door at your hotel/residence unless you know who it is.  
  • Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.  
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.  
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  
  • Review the Country Security Reportfor The Bahamas.  
  • Preparea contingency plan for emergency and medical situations.  Review the Traveler’s Checklist.  
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.


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Quick Facts


Passports must be valid at time of entry through departure (throughout the duration of stay).


Two pages are required for entry stamp.






Visitors must declare currency and other negotiable instruments of $10,000 or more upon entry.


Visitors must declare currency and other negotiable instruments of $10,000 or more upon exit.


Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Nassau

P.O. Box N-8197
#42 Queen Street
Nassau, The Bahamas
+(242) 322-1181
Emergency After-Hours Telephone:+(242) 322-1181

Destination Description

Learn about the U.S. relationship to countries around the world.

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Visit theBahamas Immigrationwebsite for the most current visa information. U.S. citizens are generally required to present a valid U.S. passport when traveling to The Bahamas, as well as proof of anticipated departure from The Bahamas. Those traveling to The Bahamas on a cruise may use anotherWestern Hemisphere Travel Initiative(WHTI) compliant document, such as a U.S. passport card. However, we strongly recommend you obtain a passport before travel in case of an unforeseen emergency that requires you to disembark and return by air. U.S. travelers coming for tourism will not need a visa for travel up to 90 days. All other travelers will need a visa and/or work permit.

The Bahamas requires compliance with regulations to divert child abduction similar toU.S. policies. Review those policies before traveling.

HIV/AIDS restrictions:The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of The Bahamas.

Find information ondual nationality,prevention of international child abduction,andcustoms regulationson our websites.

Safety and Security

Crime:The Department of State rates the criminal threat level in New Providence Island (includes Nassau and Paradise Island) as critical. The vast majority of crime occurs on New Providence (Nassau) and Grand Bahama (Freeport) Islands. Criminal activity on the outlying Family Islands does occur, but to a much lesser degree than on New Providence or Grand Bahama. In Nassau, exercise caution in the “Over the Hill” area (south of Shirley Street). Violent crime such as burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assaults occur, but generally not in tourist areas. For the latestsecurity messages, visit our website.

Find more information about common safety and security concerns in The Bahamas includingcredit card fraud,real estate matters, andwater sport and scooter safetyon our website.

Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance. Report crimes to the local police at 919 or 911, and contact the U.S. Embassy at +(242) 322-1181. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.

See our webpage onhelp for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide information onvictim’s compensation programs in the United States
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence:U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.

Adventure Tourism:Activities involving commercial recreational watercraft, including water tours, are not consistently regulated. Watercraft are often not maintained, and many companies do not have safety certifications to operate in The Bahamas. Reconsider going on the water in rough seas or inclement weather, as accidents and fatalities have occurred in such conditions. U.S. citizens seeking to engage in adventure tourism-related activities, including boat tours, are strongly encouraged to confirm the following with any tour operator:

  • Credentials and certification to operate in The Bahamas
  • Liability in the event of an accident
  • Safety and rescue protocols for guides

Jet-Ski Operators:Jet-ski operators have been known to commit sexual assaults against tourists. As a result, U.S. government personnel are not permitted to use independently operated jet-ski rentals on New Providence and Paradise Islands.

Watersports Advisory: Carefully assess the potential risks of recreational water activities and consider your physical capabilities and skills. Be aware of sharks when in or on the water, as shark bites do occur and can result in serious injury or death. Never venture out alone, particularly at isolated beaches or far out to sea. Avoid entering the water above your waist if you have been drinking and always be mindful of jet ski and boat traffic in the area. Do not engage in water activities during times of inclement weather or rough seas. Commercial watercraft operators have discretion to operate their vessels regardless of weather forecasts; injuries and fatalities have occurred.

Hurricanes:Hurricane season generally runs from June through November, although hurricanes can occur outside that period. Monitor local weather reports closely. Airports and seaports cease operations well before a predicted storm arrives, and seats on most commercial transportation may sell out far in advance.

For more information on hurricane preparedness, please refer to the Department of State’s page onCrisis Abroad and the U.S. Embassy Nassau’sHurricane Preparednesspage.

Tourism:The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in/near major cities. First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities and to provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

Local Laws & Special Circ*mstances

Criminal Penalties:You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business.

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website oncrimes against minors abroadand theDepartment of Justicewebsite.

Drugs:Marijuana and all products that contains its derivatives such as cannabidiol (CBD) andtetrahydrocannabinol(THC) -- to include gummies, oils and other edible products -- are NOT legal in The Bahamas.Having a prescription or medical card for cannabis/marijuana does not exempt you from being prosecuted under Bahamian law, which makes no distinction between medical and recreational use of marijuana.

The possession or use of illegal drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, and ecstasy, is a criminal offense in The Bahamas and can result in time in prison. While visiting The Bahamas, you are subject to Bahamian law.Drug violators are regularly arrested, even for possession of small quantities. All persons 16 years of age or older in The Bahamas are tried as adults in court. If you are arrested for drug possession, you should expect to spend at least one night, and possibly longer, in custody. Stay away from drug traffickers, who may be often armed and violent. Do not accept packages from people you meet during your stay.

Firearms, Ammunition, and other weapons are not permitted in The Bahamas. According to The Bahamas Firearms Act, individuals found to have a firearm or ammunition in their possession without a legally issued Bahamian gun license face a penalty of up to 10 years’ incarceration and $10,000 fine. Declaring the weapon in your luggage with an airline carrier does not grant permission to bring the weapon into The Bahamas.

If you have a firearm or ammunition onboard a boat entering Bahamian waters, you must declare it with Bahamian Customs at the first point of entry. Only declared shotguns and handguns are allowed in Bahamian waters. You must provide the serial number, name of the manufacturer, and an exact count of ammunition. Declared firearms cannot be removed from your boat and must be kept locked at all times.

If a U.S. citizen illegally brings a firearm or ammunition into The Bahamas, the U.S. Embassy will not be able to secure their release. All foreign nationals are subject to Bahamian law and must follow local law enforcement procedures. Please read more information on the Department of State’s page for Travelers With Firearms here.

Arrest Notification:If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See ourwebpagefor further information. Travelers should also be aware that Bahamian laws do not include a right to a public defender in lower courts. Any legal representation is at the expense of the visitor.

Faith-Based Travelers:See the following webpages for details:

  • Faith-Based Travel Information
  • International Religious Freedom Report– see country reports
  • Human Rights Report– see country reports
  • Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
  • Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad

LGBTI Travelers:There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in The Bahamas.

SeeourLGBTI Travel Informationpage and section 6 of ourHuman Rights reportfor further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance.Accessibility and accommodations in The Bahamas are very different from in the United States. Newer buildings, especially in tourism-centric areas are accessible, but many older buildings are not.

Students:See ourStudents Abroadpage andFBI travel tips.

Women Travelers:See our travel tips forWomen Travelers.

For more information aboutcustoms concerns,boating, andwildlife, please visit our website.


Medical care is available on New Providence and Grand Bahama islands. However, serious illnesses or injuries might not be treatable locally. Serious health problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost tens of thousands of dollars in up-front costs. Outer islands have only small clinics, and medical care is limited.

Ambulance service is available on the major islands, but traffic congestion on New Providence Island can cause delays.

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

If traveling with prescription medication, check with the government ofThe Bahamasto ensure the medication is legal in The Bahamas. Always carry your prescription medication in its original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: Driving in The Bahamas is on the left-hand side of the road. Traffic congestion in Nassau is severe, and drivers frequently display aggressive or careless tendencies. Accidents involving pedestrians on New Providence Island are common. Drive defensively and be alert to cars pulling out from side streets. Local practice is to allow this on an individual basis. It is not uncommon to see poorly maintained or excessively loaded vehicles on roadways. Rural roads can be narrow, winding, and in poor condition.

Road flooding occurs frequently in many areas, including Nassau and Freeport, during and after rainstorms. Be alert for unmarked or poorly marked construction zones.

Traffic Laws: Seatbelts are required for drivers and passengers in The Bahamas. Wearing helmets on a scooters and motorbikes is also compulsory.

Public Transportation: Public transportation is available by minibus (known as jitneys) and taxi. Jitneys stop frequently and often without warning at undesignated stops. Taxi fares are based on zones and surcharges can apply for additional passengers and luggage. It is important to agree on a fare prior to departing for the destination.

See ourRoad Safety pagefor more information. Visit the website ofThe Bahamas’Ministry of Tourismfor more information.

Aviation Safety Oversight: Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessedthe government of The Bahamas’ Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of The Bahamas’ air carrier operations. Further information may be found on theFAA’s safety assessment page.

Maritime Travel:Mariners planning travel to The Bahamas should also check forU.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to theU.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and theNGA broadcast warnings.

Fact Sheet

Please see Fact Sheet for this country/area.

The Bahamas International Travel Information (2024)
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