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Old 31-12-2011, 13:04   #1
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Miami to Bimini

Do I need to check in and out of immigration to go to Bimini for a week or so?
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Old 31-12-2011, 13:24   #2
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Re: Miami to Bimini

Yes. If you are a US citizen, you don't check out of the US as you leave, you DO check into the Bahamas when you arrive, you check OUT of the Bahamas when you leave, and you check back INTO the US when you get back.
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Old 31-12-2011, 13:27   #3
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Re: Miami to Bimini

Thank you so much.
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Old 31-12-2011, 13:27   #4
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Re: Miami to Bimini

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Aaronjr.

What mjwarner said.
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Old 31-12-2011, 13:57   #5
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Re: Miami to Bimini

I was under the impression that it was not neccessary to check out of the Bahamas to return to the US, but checking back into the US was required. (For US citizens)
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Old 31-12-2011, 14:19   #6
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Re: Miami to Bimini

captain465, Yes you must check out of the Bahamas. This can be done in person (and since the OP was saying they were going to Bimini, and Bimini has a customs and immigration office(s) it would make sense for them to do it while there) or it can be done by mailing the immigration form back to the Bahamas after returning to the States. Your choice on how/when it is done, but it must be done.
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Old 31-12-2011, 15:23   #7
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Re: Miami to Bimini

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Originally Posted by mjwarner View Post
... Your choice on how/when it is done, but it must be done.
The Bahamas require that you check out (as above); but may not be able to enfrorce that requirement.
Over 10 years, I think I may have "checked out" (by mail) once; without any consequences.
Notwithstanding ...
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Old 02-01-2012, 11:16   #8
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Re: Miami to Bimini

Welcome aboard, Aaron.

We forgot to check out one of the times we left the Bahamas, without consequences, but you might as well do it the right way!
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Old 02-01-2012, 12:21   #9
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Re: Miami to Bimini

Oh, I agree totally with you guys, there seems to be little to no oversight and no repercussions to not checking out of the Bahamas.

But my thought process on the matter is thus: Say someone starts to consider that maybe 30-40% of the USA cruisers never check out or send their papers back. And someone in the government decides that they need to "rectify" that. It could result in new, more difficult checkout procedures and higher checkout fees for all cruisers.

That's the main reason I do the checkout procedure. I remember how the Bahamian marinas reacted to the downturn in the economy and resultant fewer cruisers... they raised their rates so as to not lose money overall. I could see the same thing applied at a national level.
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Old 02-01-2012, 12:27   #10
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Re: Miami to Bimini

I didn't check out once and then when I returned the next year (checking in at Bimini), the young, gracious customs officer figuratively rapped my knuckles for it. She made me complete a check out form for the previous year, before accepting the new one! However, she did wag her finger at me with a most attractive smile on her face. So, I guess it really isn't a big deal, but know that there are computers, databases and networks everywhere these days!

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Old 02-01-2012, 13:11   #11
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Re: Miami to Bimini

Never have checked out of the Bahamas when returning to US. I think you're required to mail them the little slip they give you when you enter the Bahamas. No harm if you don't.
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Old 02-01-2012, 13:15   #12
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Re: Miami to Bimini

Explorer Chartbooks even say that it is not neccessary to check out of the Bahamas. Don't think that they would put that into print if were not so!
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Old 02-01-2012, 14:15   #13
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Re: Miami to Bimini

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Explorer Chartbooks even say that it is not neccessary to check out of the Bahamas. Don't think that they would put that into print if were not so!
Yep! Everything I've ever read has always been gospel truth!!!

"But your Honor, Explorer Chartbooks said it was OK!"
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Old 02-01-2012, 14:40   #14
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Re: Miami to Bimini

At the end of our 2010 cruise to the Bahamas, we had the pleasure of meeting and getting to spend several days in Bimini with Monty and Sara. (Explorer Chartbooks authors)

Crappy weather had everyone stuck. Since it had on my mind, I took the opportunity to broach this very thing with them. They stated that there is no requirement for one to present themselves at a checkout point to authorities when leaving the Bahamas. But, they added, of course you have to meet the requirements of the Bahamas immigration form, which says to mail it back when you reach USA.

Since the OP stated he would be in Bimini, it is cheaper and more fun to take one last stroll down the street to immigration, where they took my form back with a big smile, asked when we would be leaving, (following morning, if the weather forecast remained true) and thanked us for visiting their country.
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Old 03-01-2012, 19:41   #15
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Re: Miami to Bimini

We have been to the Bahama's over a dozen times and never check out. You can also expedite the check in process back into the US if you get an LBO (Local Boater Option) Card. When we return to the US, all we have to do is call an 800 number, answer a few questions, and they give us a clearance number.

It has worked flawlessly for years.

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