Bahamas - An Amendment to the Immigration Act was passed in the House of
Assembly, providing for eliminating the five-year period for a foreign
spouse to seek citizenship in The Bahamas.
seek to provide an enabling power, as right now it is not possible to
give anything other than the five years,” said the Minister of Foreign
Affairs and Immigration the Hon. Fred Mitchell who introduced the
amendment and wrapped up the debate on Wednesday, August 8, 2012.
“It is important for the Government to move the process along and make it better than it was before,” he said.The Immigration Act was amended on February 3, 1997 to provide for Resident Spouse Permit, under Section 29 (3).The
permit entitles foreign spouses of Bahamian citizens to apply, if
married for less than five years. And once granted, the Resident Spouse
Permit is issued for a period of five years from the date of marriage,
at a cost of $350 including a $100 non-refundable processing fee.
purpose of the spousal permit was to serve as a filler to reduce the
number of persons applying for citizenship and give foreign spouses of
Bahamians a period of “trial-ship”, before applying and eventually
becoming permanent residents or citizens.
5 (1) of the Bahamas Constitution states that any woman who, on July 9,
1973 is or has been married to a person who becomes a citizen of The
Bahamas, or who having died before July 10, 1973 would, but for his
death have become a citizen of The Bahamas, shall be entitled, upon
making application and upon taking the oath of allegiance or such
declaration in such manner as may be prescribed, to be registered as a
citizen of The Bahamas.Section
10 states that any woman who, after July 9, 1973 marries a person who
is or becomes a citizen of The Bahamas shall be entitled, provided she
is still married, upon making application in such manner as may be
prescribed and upon taking the oath of allegiance or such declaration as
may be prescribed, to be registered as a citizen of The Bahamas,
provided that the right to be registered as a citizen of The Bahamas,
shall be subject to such expectations or qualifications as may be
prescribed in the interest of national security or public policy.
existing policy is that when the Bahamian spouse of a foreign national
applies for a Resident Spouse Permit within the first five years of
marriage, the Department acknowledges receipt of the application in
writing and invites both husband and wife to visit the office for an
interview,” Mr. Mitchell said.The
application file is reviewed by the Director of Immigration and a
decision is made to issue one of the following: Resident Spousal Permit
$250, General Work’s Permit, $1,000 and Permit to Reside, $25.
advantages to the proposed legislation is first, the new permit will
eliminate the limitation period of five years, and those approved for
such permits will have the option to apply for citizenship.
the introduction of this permit will be a financial savings of $250 for
Bahamian families for an indefinite period, as opposed to five years
and will reduce/eliminate long lines and crowds seeking services at the
regards to those already in the system, a policy decision will be taken
to request holders of spousal permits to apply for extension under the