Moving to the Bahamas
What are the Bahamas?
The Bahamas is a sunny Atlantic archipelago with no income tax
The Bahamas consists of over 3000 islands, cays and islets, and is located very close to Miami (southeast of Florida) and north of Cuba.
It’s a former British colony which became independent in 1973. As such, the official language is English.
The Bahamas is one of the most prosperous countries in the Americas (behind US and Canada) and has an economy which is largely based on tourism (50% of its GDP and provides jobs for half the country) and offshore finance (the most offshore entities or companies in the world).
This should come as no surprise, because the Bahamas is considered a tax haven: no income tax, corporate tax, capital gains tax, or wealth tax.
However, its currency (the Bahamian dollar) is tied to the USD, which isn’t an ideal situation at all. In addition, it maintains strong bilateral relationships with the US and the UK.
The capital is Nassau, and the total population is around 400.000 people, of which 90% are of African descent.
The Bahamas is a very sunny and dry country, with an average of 340 days of sunlight per year. Yeah, that’s a lot.
Its climate can be described as a warm and winterless tropical savannah climate, with a hot and wet season.
Unfortunately, its location also means that tropical storms and hurricanes do occur, and this is definitely something you should take into account.
Some of the Bahamian islands are absolutely stunning, with loads of beaches, coral reefs and pristine waters.
Requirements for moving to the Bahamas
Moving to the Bahamas isn’t hard at all.
First off, for Americans and Canadians there’s the proximity factor: The Bahamas lies to the southeast of Florida, and you can just take a boat to get there.
For Europeans it’s a much farther trip, but fortunately most of us can stay in the Bahamas for up to 8 months without needing to get a visa in advance.
You can then extend your stay, or apply for Annual Residency which costs around $1,000 per year.
If you invest in real estate here, you can also get a Home Owner’s card.
Real estate is moderately expensive here, so this might not be an option for everyone.
Once you make this real estate your home, you can apply for permanent residence.
Other options to attain this are investing half a million dollars in the country, or reside there for at least 10 years with a work permit.
In addition, once you get permanent residence, citizenship becomes an option.
The only real requirement for moving to the Bahamas is having (multiple sources of) international, location independent income.
You won’t have to pay taxes on this income when you’re living here, which is a massive advantage.
However, the cost of living in the Bahamas is elevated compared to many of the other countries I’ve talked about.
What is the cost of living in the Bahamas?
The cost of living in the Bahamas lies around $2,000 per month for a single person, so I would advise you to at least make double that if you intend to move here.
In addition, if you live in a cheaper but less-prosperous neighborhood, you will be faced with higher crime rates.
Benefits of living in the Bahamas
Downsides of living in the Bahamas
Moving to the Bahamas - by the numbers
|Hours of sunshine (10/10)
|Rainy days (8/10)
25 C – 77 F
Cost of Living: 6/10
Taxes on international income: 10/10
There is no income tax in the Bahamas.
Economic growth: 3/10
Average GDP growth over the last 10 years: 1%
How is life for expats in the Bahamas?
Life for expats in the Bahamas can be a dream come true.
If you’re looking for a sunny island to move to upon escaping the West – but you don’t want to go too far from the US or Canada, then the Bahamas should be near the top of your list.
There’s the very enjoyable climate (although a bit too humid), the beautiful beaches and the high biocapacity (which means the country is doing well for the environment compared to the rest of the world).
Having English as its primary language definitely comes as an advantage if you are unwilling or unable to learn another language.
The major benefit of course is its status as a tax haven, and if you dislike paying taxes, you’ll be very happy here.
However, the downsides of the Bahamas shouldn’t be taken lightly.
If you plan to move there, you do have to keep in mind the higher cost of living compared to other options, the similarly higher crime rates, and the fact that this country has strong ties to the collapsing United States.
In short, the Bahamas is pretty awesome, but I would not live there.
If you want to start a business, basing it in the Bahamas isn’t a bad idea at all – tax wise.
You can also go for residence or open a bank account, but I wouldn’t go further than that.
Avoid too strong ties to the nation, because unlike countries such as Paraguay, when the West starts to enter later phases of its collapse, The Bahamas will certainly feel the effects.