NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Department of Immigration has issued updated guidelines detailing how non-residents and foreigners can apply electronically for an extension of stay in The Bahamas, due to challenges caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The offices have been temporarily closed to the public as the country continues to endure a state of emergency and lockdowns until April 30.
“Under normal circumstances, visitors must depart the country prior to the expiration of time granted upon initial entry,” the department advised on Monday.
“Further, applicants who qualified and desired to remain in the country longer than the time granted would seek an extension on their stay from the department in a timely manner.
“However, we recognize that due to COVID-19 and the closure of borders around the world, many visitors may have unexpectedly remained in The Bahamas beyond the intended period.”
Immigration advised that applicants that while an electronic extension on visitors’ stay may be granted to applicants who qualify, the process does not nullify the usual process that requires applicants to be interviewed in person by an officer.
Applicants are being asked to provide the biographical data page of their passport, the page bearing the entry stamp granted upon arrival into The Bahamas, immigration landing card, return ticket if traveling via airplane, cruising permit if traveling via sea, a copy of the page bearing the initial extension if one was previously granted and sponsor’s information if applicable.
“Once application is submitted in a timely manner and applicant meets all requirements, a favorable response is more likely to be to granted,” the statement read.
“However, consideration will be given to those applications submitted late once analyzed and the time line as it relates to COVID-19 is assessed.”
The statement noted that the length of stay must commensurate with the period of crisis and that credible. Once a decision has been made, applicants will be notified via email.
The United States Embassy in Nassau advised its citizens in The Bahamas of these options available via its Twitter yesterday.
“These are trying and uncertain times, particularly when it comes to travel;” it said. “We will continue to keep you informed so that you can stay safe and stay healthy,” the embassy said.