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Old 01-02-2016, 06:57   #1
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Bahamas Customs Check In

Where is the best place to check into the country to get a 6-month permit vs a 3-month?

We are leaving Miami to Gun Cay, across the bank to NW Channel then toward Staniel Cay.
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Old 01-02-2016, 07:07   #2
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Re: Bahamas Customs Check In

I can't answer your question specifically, but your cruise permit will be good for a year, and if they give you a shorter permit for immigration, you only need to visit an immigration office when the time comes to get it extended?
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Old 01-02-2016, 07:33   #3
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Re: Bahamas Customs Check In

Nassau. Definitely not Gun, Bimini or Chubb. The officers in the smaller ports do not have authority to grant note than 90 days.


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Old 01-02-2016, 07:34   #4
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Re: Bahamas Customs Check In

More than 90 days.

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Old 01-02-2016, 07:36   #5
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Re: Bahamas Customs Check In

The problem with an extension is that it can only be done close to the expiry date, usually a week and you might not be near an island that is a port of entry.

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Old 01-02-2016, 07:50   #6
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Re: Bahamas Customs Check In

How do you get to Nassau without passing by one of the closer port-of-entry's, when you're legally required to stop at the closest one on the way in? i.e. it's illegal to sail past West End, Bimini, Mayaguana, Gt. Inagua, Green Turtle etc. on your way to Nassau if you haven't cleared in. Couldn't the very fact that you're applying for the initial permit in Nassau be evidence you didn't follow their regulations? Otherwise, you'd have your permit before ever getting there.

Maybe Nassau is the place to get your first renewal?

The officer at West End told me she had authority to go up to 60 days. Has that changed?
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Old 01-02-2016, 08:27   #7
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Re: Bahamas Customs Check In

Both North and South Bimini have done 120 days. I have also received an extension in Georgetown 2 weeks prior to our visas expiring. It's really not a big deal. Wherever you check in, be polite and ask for however long you want. If they don't give it to you, you'll find somewhere to get an extension. Customs wants you there to spend money, they're not trying to keep you out of the country.

As far as checking in at Nassau, the same thing applies. If that's the first place you stop, check in there. The Bahamas gov't doesn't have an army patrolling making sure all cruisers check in asap. If your planned course is straight to Nassau, go there. Why else would they have a customs office there?
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Old 01-02-2016, 08:32   #8
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Re: Bahamas Customs Check In

Uh, perhaps because it's the capital of the entire nation? kinda like asking why we have Customs and Immigration departments in Washington DC.
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Old 01-02-2016, 08:55   #9
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Re: Bahamas Customs Check In

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Uh, perhaps because it's the capital of the entire nation? kinda like asking why we have Customs and Immigration departments in Washington DC.
Yes you're right. It's exactly the same.
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Old 01-02-2016, 09:06   #10
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Re: Bahamas Customs Check In

You may also have a better chance of getting 120 days initially if you go to C&I wearing a button-down shirt and long pants.
One year, we didn’t make it to C&I to renew before the expire date. We took a taxi to the Freeport office and the lady was offput that we didn’t knock on the door before coming in (it was the main door to the C&I office) – but she granted us the extension without issue or additional fee.
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Old 01-02-2016, 09:08   #11
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Re: Bahamas Customs Check In

Remember people arrive most often in airplanes.
So it's acceptable to sail by other points of entry to go to the one you desire? I know it is in aircraft, just don't stop anywhere along the way
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Old 01-02-2016, 09:30   #12
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Re: Bahamas Customs Check In

Back in 2012, the Royal Bahamas Defense Force was boarding cruising boats around Memory Rock (north of West End, Grand Bahama) and directed boaters to return to Old Bahama Bay at West End to clear customs before continuing onto Marsh Harbour, Abaco. A letter was issued by the Bahama Govt. saying that it had told the RBDF that vessels should be allowed passage to continue on and make Marsh Harbour their first port of call, and that the RBDF would allow boats to do so. I haven't heard of any boats being hassled since, other than people in dinghies w/o their paperwork – a separate set of incidents that I think was cleared up, too. These policies can change without notice and without consistency across the islands, but the government considers anyone on "the banks" as "in the country" – so keep that in mind when you think about anchoring for a few days or going ashore before you check in.
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Old 01-02-2016, 09:46   #13
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Re: Bahamas Customs Check In

It depends on the seniority of the Immigration official. The Jr ones can only approve 90 days. Customs in the smaller offices without an immigration officer can only give 90 days. Getting an extension is no big deal, and never a problem.
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Old 01-02-2016, 09:48   #14
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Re: Bahamas Customs Check In

Quote:
Originally Posted by hover2sail View Post
Where is the best place to check into the country to get a 6-month permit vs a 3-month?

We are leaving Miami to Gun Cay, across the bank to NW Channel then toward Staniel Cay.
===

We had no problem getting a 6 month permit at North Cat Cay. They charge $100 for dockage since it is a private club but the whole process was very quick, friendly and efficient. That was three years ago so things may have changed.
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Old 01-02-2016, 09:52   #15
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Re: Bahamas Customs Check In

There is no problem sailing straight to Nassau or Morgan's Bluff, Andros to clear customs. We clear in at either of these locations, even if we anchor off North Cat Cay or on the banks when too tired to sail straight to Nassau.
We often get 180 days from either port of call.
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