We arrived at Bimini last week and received a 30 day permit. Others who arrived received 120 plus. It was purely based on who was at the desk at the time. However, when we arrived in Nassau, the dockmaster told us that
there is a new policy to allow only 30 days, but US citizens can get it extended if you go to an immigration office (not customs) 3 or 4 days before it expires for to up to 6 months. He strongly encouraged all US citizens to
write the immigration office and complain loudly, as it has already affected his business.
He indicated that the policy is directed at Canadian citizens who seemingly take more from the Bahamas than they bring (his words, not mine). He pointed out that there were no Canadian boats in his marina, but the anchorage was full of them.
So, it is politics as usual here, but it is also warm and sunny.
We went to both the Immigration Office and the Customs office at the docks in Bimini. The other advice we received from the Customs folks (after we complained there) was to clear in at the central administration office downtown for immigration. Apparently, that office is much more lenient and interprets the “new” policy in their own way.
We cleared in earlier this year at Bimini downtown. We docked at the Sea Crest Marina and Hotel (http://www.seacrestbimini.com) next door to the government docks. Gave us 120 days for our $300. It was a slow day. Customs guy was asleep behind the desk. With much trepidation, I woke him up. Said nothing, just took my papers, stamped them, handed them back and went back to sleep. Immigration lady behind the glass was incredibly public relations savvy and public service oriented. She made sure everything was in order and offered up the extra 30 days when I told her we were headed to the Exumas on our trawler.
So it seems like you can get anywhere from 30 days to 120 days depending on where you check in and who checks you in. I wonder what’s up with that?
Gerry, I finally figured it out. I know what it is!!!!! You tried to teach them how to play “Butt Darts” didn’t you? Where is Capt. Sterling when you need him.
As a boater, who happens to be Canadian, I think that maybe there is another side to this. If we boaters spend all our money on marinas then only one business makes money, but if more boaters anchor out then more then likely they will spend that marina money instead, at many businesses and more then one person will make money. Maybe it’s time to look at the big picture of where and how we spend our money and on who. Maybe it’s time for the Gov’t to see this and act with responsibility.