WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Rick Scott released the below statement after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released clarification regarding visa requirements for Bahamian citizens traveling to the United States. This announcement follows Senator Scott’s call yesterday for Customs and Border Protection and the Bahamian government to work together to clarify the current rules regarding visas in the Bahamas.

Senator Rick Scott said, “I applaud DHS for responding to our request and clarifying visa requirements for Bahamians fleeing the destruction on the islands to temporarily come to the United States. We should all be supporting our friends from the Bahamas, and we want to make sure there is no confusion. I look forwarding to further discussions about my proposals to help the people of the Bahamas.”

According to DHS, all travelers applying for admission to the United States via air or sea must meet the following document requirements for admission to ensure a lawful and orderly arrival to the United States:

  • Bahamians must be in possession of a valid, unexpired passport or a Bahamian Travel Document listing nationality as Bahamian. All other travelers arriving from the Bahamas (U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, and individuals of other nationalities) must possess a valid, unexpired government–issued passport.
  • Bahamians arriving to the United States by vessel must be in possession of a valid passport AND valid travel visa.
  • Detailed information on all visa application requirements and processes, as well as a step-by-step guide to visa applications for Bahamians, can be found at https://bs.usembassy.gov/visas/nonimmigrant-visas.
  • Bahamian citizens may apply for admission to the United States without a visa at one of the CBP Preclearance facilities located in Nassau or Freeport International Airports, IF they meet the following requirements:
    • Be traveling on a flight that CBP completes immigration and customs inspections in Nassau or Freeport. (*Note - Bahamians traveling on to another country and expecting to transit the United States on their return will need a visa);
    • Be in possession of a valid, unexpired passport or a Bahamian Travel Document listing nationality as Bahamian;
    • Have no criminal record nor any legal ineligibility or inadmissibility as defined by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (click here);
    • Be traveling for business or pleasure (tourism, visiting relatives, shopping, etc.) purposes for a short duration;
    • All persons 14 years of age and older must be in possession of a police certificate issued within the past six months;
    • Bahamians traveling through the United States to a third country must possess a valid visa for return travel through the U.S.

The U.S. Embassy in Nassau is also open for emergency visa appointments and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Ports of Entry are prepared, should Bahamians request to temporarily relocate to the United States.

Read more about the visa requirements from DHS HERE.