Originally Posted by redneckrob
In that case the passengers can not originate in the Bahamas. The OP talks about running short charters out of Georgetown, those aren't going to fall under the foreign charter license
unless he goes to FL or Turks and Caicos
(more problems there) to pick up and drop off. If you're picking up your passengers in the Bahamas your crew are going to need Bahamian work visas.
Getting deported for violating work visa laws is no fun and has long term repercussions for any future travel outside the US. And I can tell you from having worked pretty extensively with them, the RBDF is pretty well equipped and trained as a side effect of the drug war, so it's probably one of the hardest places at least in the hemisphere to slip under the radar
on a charter like that. Just want to make sure the folks getting visions of white sand beaches and warm weather
while getting paid know what they're getting into and ask their own very specific questions of Bahamas Immigration or an immigration attorney. I.e. "I'll be working for pay on a foreign vessel embarking and debarking paying passengers in the Bahamas. Do I need a work visa?" Instead of relying on the assurances of someone with a bit of a conflict of interest who may have asked slightly less blunt questions in trying to convince themselves they could operate in a category they really maybe can't. Again, this is serious stuff, someone you don't know saying they "talked to the guy in charge and he said it was fine" isn't going to provide any cover for you when your ass is on the line.
You can absolutely begin and end your charter in the Bahamas as long as you have a foreign charter license (see below). It is illegal however to solicit business within the Bahamas - so for instance donít put up flyers in the Exuma Market. A fee of 4% of the charter cost goes to the Port Department after the charter is completed. I worked in the Bahamas for 2 years on a family
island (work permit required). I also crewed on a charter boat
in the Bahamas for 3 years (no work permit required). The crew is essentially working for a foreign owned company and donít need a work permit for a boat that travels to the Bahamas for a season.
The following is from the Government of the Bahamas - Port Department website:
Registering a Foreign Charter
It is a requirement of The Government of The Bahamas that all foreign charters secure a licence in order to utilise Bahamian waters. Most foreign charter applications to The Bahamas are from yachts seeking to explore our beautiful seas. To accommodate these Ďsun seekersí the Port Department has simplified the chartering process as detailed below.
Non-Bahamian yacht owners.
for a Foreign Charter License the applicant must fill out and submit an application Form to the Port Department Office on New Providence or any of the other Port Department offices listed below.
The applicant must provide all supporting documents and pay the appropriate Boat Registration
and Inspection Fees
at the time that the application is submitted.
The Port Department evaluates the vessel to ensure that it has adequate crew and determine a limit the maximum amount of passengers that can be safely transported on boat.
The boat MUST then be inspected by a Port Department Inspector.
Once approval is granted by the Inspector the Foreign Charter License is issued.