Subject*: Bahamas Cruising Permits
Cruising News*: We are in Vero Beach staging to cross to the Bahamas. Everyone is talking about the “new” rules that are supposed to be happening in the Bahamas. We are getting reports that you can only get a permit for a maximum of 30 days and other stories are that you might get 90 max. Seems that it all depends on were you check in at as to how long you can stay and the fee is still $300 ?????? Does anyone know exactly what is happening?
Yesterday (11/29) Sam the Skull went back to Nassau to protest his 30 day permit, from two weeks ago. After lengthy pleading, he finally got 90 days, after deducting the two weeks he has already been in the Bahamas. He was told at the end of those 90 days, he would have to leave the Bahamas, clear into another country, and then could return and start the process all over again, (INCLUDING paying another $300.00???).
Also yesterday, Blue Pearl went to the Bahamas Consulate in Miami, and got 180 day visas, at the cost of $65 per person.
Also yesterday, Swell Horizon was given 30 in Nassau, but realized, on the way back to the boat, what it meant, and went back to plead for 180 days, as they don’t intend to return until May. The gal was quite firm, but when they finally asked to speak to her supervisor, she gave them 90 days, and subsequent pleading only caused an unpleasant confrontation.
11/28: Nice ‘N Easy apparently had no problem getting 90 days in Nassau, but were flatly told “That is ALL.”
11/27: Option III was only able to get 30 days at Bimini. I don’t know how hard they tried for more, because I had told them to just take it, and go to some other port and ask to have it extended, which is what they are going to do. (This is the port where s/v Valkyrie got 180 days just two weeks before.)
And, in a previous email, I have listed some others who have had widely divergent experiences, at various ports of entry. We are starting to hear questions about “What if I don’t check in at all?” and “What if I just take the 30 days, and simply stay for four or five months?”.
And a few are in Florida, rethinking a visit to the Bahamas until this is straightened out…. I love the Bahamas, but Cuba is looking more tempting all the time! Sea you later…
s/v “St. Jude”
The Immigration system for incoming boats is now back to what it has been for years, after a brief confusion related to the airport. Whatever boaters are given, they can visit Immigration Head Office in Nassau to have it extended to what they want. Otherwise they can do so at a port of entry within the last week of their initial period. That can be difficult re weather, so we recommend the former.
In case of confusion over Cruising Permit length, they are still using forms which say 6 months, after decades of it really being 12 months. As it says that over the owner’s signature, just change it to read 12. C Ps may be extended for an additional two years, for $500 each year if desired.
I guess I understand….back to organized disorganization I have known since the ’80s, and just learned to deal with it. I guess we will have to educate a whole new generation of cruisers to the old ways! (Truly “SNAFU”!)
The policy is: there is no policy, and boats can be given anything from 30 days to 8 months, at the whim of the issuing officer. And we will remind folks to change the Cruising Permits to one year…
And, that they can take their paperwork to Immigration in Nassau for appeal…
And, if we don’t get another chance to say it, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, from Dover, NC!!!
Judy and Dick
As of this morning, a couple of boats clearing in at Nassau got 180 day permits. This is undoubtedly as a direct result of Carolyn and Nick Wardle (BASRA) speaking to the officials, on behalf of the cruisers, who are being inconvenienced, and the Bahamian merchants, who are losing business. I don’t ,as yet, know how long it is going to be before the 180 day policy gets out to all of the Ports of Entry. But, the “safe” places to clear in now include Nassau, and Lucaya, and a longer list will surely be added soon.