Moving Checklist January 28, 2020

5 Things to Expect When Moving to the Bahamas

By writer-marijana

Many people across the world share the same dream of living on some beautiful tropical island with clear turquoise water. Well, for those who are making those dreams come true and actually moving to the Bahamas, we’ve prepared a small guide for relocating to this paradise on earth.

Did you know that the archipelago of the Bahamas consists of more than 700 islands spread over some 500 miles in the Atlantic Ocean? However, only 30 of them are inhabited, and two-thirds of the entire population is living in Nassau on New Providence Island. Stay tuned to find out more about this piece of paradise located just 300 miles off the coast of Florida.

1. Moving to the Bahamas and Finding a Place to Live In

Although hundreds of small islands are a part of this archipelago, most people live on only one of them, and in its capital town called Nassau. If you want to become a Bahamian, the best choice would be to go to Nassau. There are plenty of real estate agents that will save you time and help you find a good apartment, neighborhood, quality schools, etc. If you are not sure, narrow your selection to three or four islands and spend some time or a few days on each one to see where you like it the most. Still, the vast majority of expats eventually opt for New Providence and Nassau due to accessibility and quality of schools, financial centers, and shopping options.

Moving to the Bahamas – the Cost of a Home

According to the data provided by Numbeo, rent prices in the Bahamas are around 10% lower than in the US. You can find a one-bedroom apartment in the center of Nassau for around $900 per month, which compares to nearly $1,300 in the US. Meanwhile, buying an apartment in the center of Nassau will cost you 50% less than in the States. Of course, it all depends on the size and style of the property you want to rent or buy. According to some expats who moved to Nassau, you can find luxurious apartments for $3,000 or more.

On the other hand, electricity and other basic utilities are very expensive, even for American and Canadian standards. You will have to pay around $250 a month for basic utilities such as electricity, water, cooling and garbage disposal for a 915 sq ft apartment.  Always check whether the maintenance fee is included in your rent, as well. Also, expect that most landlords will demand three monthly rents in advance before they sign the lease. The apartments for rent are typically partially or completely furnished.

Most apartments for rent come furnished

2. The Cost of Living in the Carribean

According to Numbeo, consumer prices on the islands are almost 16% higher than in the US, while the purchasing power of the local population is 50% lower. Basic groceries like eggs, milk, white bread, are slightly more expensive, but on the bright side, the cost of fruits and vegetables is lower in most cases.

As we’ve already mentioned, the most striking difference is in the cost of electricity and other utilities, where prices are around 80% higher than in the US. On the other hand, education is significantly cheaper, including kindergarten, international schools, daycare, etc.

If It’s Expensive, Why Is It so Popular to Relocate There?

One of the reasons why international relocation to the Bahamas is so popular is that the Bahamian government levies almost no taxes on citizens and residents, in an effort to attract foreigners and their capital. You can forget about income tax, estate tax, corporate, and capital gains taxes. They have a mandatory payroll tax and a value-added tax on specific services and goods, and that is it.

Renting is cheaper, but utilities are more expensive than in the US

3. A Brief Guide to Obtaining Bahamian Residence

The Bahamian government is very open to international visitors and people who are looking to settle down on some of the islands. You can obtain an annual and permanent residency permit. The cost of the former one is only $100, and it has to be renewed each year. To become a permanent resident, you have to purchase a property on an island and apply for the home owner’s card, or legally work and live in the country for more than 20 consecutive years. That is unless you have a family there, or you are married to a Bahamian, in which case you’ll be eligible to apply for Bahamian citizenship, which is otherwise very hard to qualify for.

How to Work From Your New Home

If you are looking to get a job on the island, we recommend you start searching before you arrive. You cannot apply for a work visa on your own; your employer has to do that for you. Many people come here with a tourist visa and then search for a job during those three months. Medical workers can expect to find a job easily.

To become a permanent resident, you’ll need to buy a property

4. Yes, You May Need a Car on the Island

Although many people would assume that there is no need to ship your vehicle overseas when you are relocating to an island, it is actually pretty convenient to have one, especially if you are relocating to New Providence, for example. You can purchase a used vehicle, or import one, but keep in mind that you will have to pay duty.

What About My Personal Belongings

Today, international moving by sea allows us to relocate our entire household. If you want to leave something behind, you can place some of your personal belongings in storage or organize a garage sale before you move to your new home. Just make sure you check which items you can bring – you don’t want some belongings like candles and plants taken away. In both cases, make sure you have enough boxes and moving supplies because you are packing your entire life. That is, if you are going to the Bahamas permanently.

Driving around the island is an unforgettable experience

5. Make a Month’s Plan Before Arriving

Expect that your first month is going to be relatively expensive; you will need to purchase a lot of new things, but luckily, pretty much every apartment on the island comes furnished. So you would not waste time and money on furniture, but you will need some details and food. And do not forget the amount of three monthly rents you have to pay as soon as you find an apartment.  So, make a plan. If you are on a budget, or you do not want to spend too much, calculate your costs, write down the prices, check local markets for groceries, etc.

Don’t Believe Everything You Can Read in an Article or Online Posts

We imagine this country’s islands as a paradise on earth. We dream about their tropical lifestyle and strive to live and work like Bahamians. But life over there is not always so dreamy, and although we want to relocate and forget about our daily struggles like long commuting or bad weather, we often forget that they have hurricanes over there. And traffic can be a real nightmare on the island where there are not enough roads. So keep your expectations realistic, and you will be all good.

Is this really heaven on earth?

Exotic Lifestyle, Here I Come

We hope our little Bahamas guide was helpful and that we did not break your hopes and dreams about living on these dreamy islands. If you are ready to start your international adventure, you could not have picked a better place and country. This Caribbean nation has a lot to offer. We mean a lot besides those 340 sunny days per year. So if you are ready to invest in your bright and sunny future, the islands of the Bahamas are waiting for you.

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