An Era of Change for The Bahamas

"It is said that, 'Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. Bahamians are ushering in a new era of change for The Bahamas through digital transformation. Together, we are building the foundation for a country in which Bahamians have the opportunity to thrive as citizens, living in a country within which they can realize their full potential."

Elise D. Delancy (Miss)
Permanent Secretary

Increasing The Global Competitiveness of The Bahamas

MyGateway is part of the Government of The Bahamas’ digital transformation initiative to provide more efficient and effective government services and create a path of sustainable economic development for Bahamians.

The Digital Transformation Unit (DTU) has been mandated to carry out the Government’s IT transformation through a project called the Government Digital Transformation to Strengthen Competitiveness project. This project will provide 200 government services on a centralized online portal over 5 years increasing the accessibility and convenience of requesting and receiving government services. Under the parameters of the project, DTU must also oversee the creation and implementation of a national IT strategy, and an IT blueprint; the creation of a national Cybersecurity Incident Response Team (CIRT); and the improvement of transparency in government.

The goal of this groundbreaking project is to foster the competitiveness of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas by reducing the costs of conducting business with the Government.

Specific objectives of the project are:

  1.  Streamlining government procedures and making them available online to reduce the cost of government bureaucracy.
  2. Increasing the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in the public sector.
  3. Increasing transparency of government activities and strengthening auditing and control mechanisms.

Guiding Principles

The Government intends to reach its overarching goal of increasing The Bahamas’ competitiveness by implementing key guiding principles throughout the project.

  1. “Making Government Work For You” – The single vision and message of the Government of The Bahamas to provide more efficient services to its clients.
  2. Single window facility through which we can transport inquiries, requests, documents etc. to transact business
  3. Electronic Identification for client verification, enabling persons to communicate and transact business with the Government of The Bahamas from anywhere in the world.
  4. Interoperability for transporting data securely between the relevant agencies and the user or citizen.
  5. Once Only concept enshrined in legislation, ensuring that once one Government agency has the information no other agency can ask for it.
  6. Twice at Least which ensures that client information is useful for more than one government agency.
  7. Data Ownership in which the client retains personal data ownership and can see agency requests to access their data.
  8. Public Awareness and Education for the preparation of citizens and public officers.

Project Leadership and Management

The Government Digital Transformation to Strengthen Competitiveness project is managed by the Digital Transformation Unit, a unit within the Department of Transformation and Digitization, Office of the Prime Minister. The Executive Sponsor is Elise Delancy, Permanent Secretary, Department of Transformation and Digitization, who has oversight responsibility for the Digital Transformation Unit. The project execution team collaborates with local private sector entities as well as international organizations to contextualise and implement global best practices.

Passport Photograph Specifications:
  • The photograph should be no more than six (6) months old at the time of the application.
  • The photograph should be 2×2 inches at 600 dpi.
  • The photograph should be in colour with a plain white or an off-white background.
  • No selfies.
  • Photographs must show a neutral facial expression, the applicant must not be smiling and the        mouth must be closed.  
  • Makeup should be neutral and jewelry modest.
  • The photograph must show a full face view; the applicant must be facing the camera directly.
  • Hairline and ears must be visible and not covered.
  • Covering of the head is prohibited unless for medical or religious purposes and a formal written request is presented to and approved by the Passport Office.
  • The applicant’s clothing should be in colour with his/her shoulders covered.
  • The applicant’s clothing must not bear any form of military or civil servant badges or ornaments.
  • Applicants may request photo labs to provide a digital copy of the photograph using one of the following options: e-mail, CD or USB.
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Initially, the Centralized Collection Centre will enable the collection of documents from the Road Traffic Department and the Registrar General’s Office for the services of renewing or replacing a driver’s licence, renewing a learner’s permit, and requesting certified copies of birth, death and marriage certificates. Additional documents for collection will be included in the coming weeks. All documents must be collected in person and one form of a government-issued identification must be provided for verification. 
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Nationality
  • Bahamian citizens, 18 years old or older, residing in The Bahamas or abroad

Business Licence
  • The applicant must currently possess a business licence

Sales Turnover
  • Must have a turnover of less than 5 million dollars per annum
  • Should applicant be a limited company, please give the name(s) of beneficial shareholders

Application and Approval Period
  • The applicant is allowed exemption within a one year period.
  • Applicants approved for the exemption on items within the period of one year may not apply for the same items until the following year. i.e. One-time approval within a one year period.

Supporting Documents 
  • Applicants must provide the following support documents: business national insurance number, tax compliance certificate, business licence number, invoice, income statements
  • Once approved, the applicant can then use the exemption document (certificate) to present to customs.
  • If rejected, the applicant is required to pay the normal duties stipulated by the Customs Department.
  • Documents and items are also subject to physical inspections and review by the Revenue Section.

Start-up Business Exemptions
  • First Time Inventory - There is a limit on a first time inventory. Only startup businesses are eligible for exemption.
  • Inventory may be granted to existing businesses if opening a new or secondary location
  • Equipment/Machinery must to relate to the business

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Nationality
  • Bahamian citizens, 18 years old or older, residing in The Bahamas or abroad

Exemption Period
  • Applicants have up to two years to claim approved concessions. This exemption is available for two years, ending in December 2023.

Location & Prerequisites
  • Applicants must be approved for government service lots throughout The Bahamas.

Frequency of Application
  • Applicants may apply only once for building supplies and furniture on the initial application. Furniture concessions will be approved subject to receipt of the occupancy certificate.

Supporting Documents
  • Applicants must provide the following support documents: 
  • Passport 
  • NIB card 
  • Government land approval letter 
  • Stamp or certification from the Department of Housing 
  • Architectural plan 
  • Copy of invoice(s) or quote 
  • Copy of location/site plan from the Department of Housing

Terms and Conditions
  • The value of furniture and appliances will be equal to the amount of rooms in the house, likewise for appliances per room/per household. They are subject to inspection and review.
  • Applications without the required attachments will be considered incomplete. 
  • Applicants have up to 30 days after submission to provide the relevant information. 
  • If rejected, the applicant is required to pay the normal duties stipulated by the Customs Department.
 

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Nationality
  • Bahamian citizens, 18 years old or older.
Location
The business must operate in qualifying locations and on a qualifying island. 
Qualifying islands are:  
Ragged Island, San Salvador, Rum Cay, Cat Island, Long Island, Mayaguana, Inagua, Crooked Island, Acklins, Long Cay and Andros.
The applicant does not have to be a resident to apply but exemption items must remain in the islands specified or in the approved zone. 

Supporting Documents
Individuals
Individual applicants must provide the following support documents: 
  • Valid passport or voters card
  • NIB Card
  • Copy of invoice(s) or quote
  • The value of furniture and appliances must be equal to the amount of rooms in the house, likewise for appliances per room/per household. They are subject to inspection and review.

Once approved, the applicant may use the exemption document (certificate) to present to customs.

Businesses 
Business applicants must provide the following support documents: 
  • Valid business licence 
  • Business NIB number 
  • Invoice(s) or quote

Terms and Conditions
  • There is no minimum turnover rate for businesses to qualify.
  • If rejected the applicant is required to pay the normal duties stipulated by the customs department.  
 

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Nationality
  • Bahamian citizens, 18 years old or older.
Location
Business must operate in the qualifying locations on qualifying islands. Qualifying islands include Abaco and Grand Bahama.
The applicant does not have to be a resident to apply but exemption items must remain in the islands specified or in the approved zone.

Supporting Documents
Individuals
Individual applicants must provide the following support documents: 
  • Valid passport or voters card
  • NIB Card
  • Copy of invoice(s) or quote

Terms and Conditions
  • The value of furniture and appliances must be equal to the amount of rooms in the house, likewise for appliances per room/per household. They are subject to inspection and review.
  • Once approved the applicant may use the exemption document (certificate) to present to Customs.
Businesses 
Business applicants must provide the following support documents: 
  • Valid business licence 
  • Business NIB number 
  • Invoice(s) or quote

Terms and Conditions
  •  There is no minimum turnover rate for businesses to qualify
  • Businesses may subject to inspection and review
  • Once approved, the applicant may use the exemption document (certificate) to present to Customs.
  • If rejected the applicant is required to pay the normal duties stipulated by the customs department.
 

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Nationality
• Applicants must be Bahamian citizens

Residency
  • • Applicants must be resident in The Bahamas.
  • Family Island residents can apply
  • This home must be your primary residence

Professional
  • For the purposes of this project, a professional is “someone who is accomplished in his or her field, sufficient independently to sustain a mortgage or the financial responsibility for a residential dwelling in the community”.

First –time homeowner
  • The applicant must be a first-time homeowner.

Age Requirement
  • The applicant(s) must be 18 to 45 years old at the time of application.
Financial Suitability
  • The applicant (s) must show proof that he or she can qualify for a loan from a financial institution to purchase and build on their property if chosen; or,
  • The applicant (s) must provide a letter from a financial institution stating that they currently hold the required cash and have the regular income needed to purchase the property, build and maintain the building.
  • The government will not be providing guarantees for mortgages.

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Special Voter – Must Complete Form K
A person who is a registered voter may, subject to application, vote as a Special Voter where:

 
  • The person is 65 years old or older
  • The person is or is likely to be, on the day appointed for the taking of the poll, a patient in the hospital, nursing home, home for the aged or other institution for the treatment of any chronic illness or disability, except a person suffering from any mental disorder, psychopathic disorder or any subnormality of the mind, as defined by the Mental Health Act (Ch. 230), and such person is likely to be prevented by such illness, infirmity or disability from traveling to the polling place;
 
  • The person is or is likely to be, on the day appointed for the taking of the poll, a patient in the hospital, nursing home, home for the aged or other institution for the treatment of any chronic illness or disability, except a person suffering from any mental disorder, psychopathic disorder or any subnormality of the mind, as defined by the Mental Health Act (Ch. 230), and such person is likely to be prevented by such illness, infirmity or disability from traveling to the polling place;
     
  • The person is by reason of illness, infirmity, pregnancy or recent childbirth unable to vote in the constituency in which he or she is registered on the day appointed for the taking of the poll; the person, not being a person who qualifies to enroll as an overseas voter under section;
     
  • The person expects to be overseas on the day appointed for the taking of the poll;
     
  • The person is a candidate or the spouse of a candidate contesting the respective election;
     
  • The person is an election day worker, an election official or an employee of the Department of the Parliamentary Commissioner.

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Overseas Voter – Must Complete Form J
Persons applying to register overseas may do so at any embassy, high commission, or any other foreign mission of The Bahamas provided that he is otherwise qualified to register in accordance with the Law.

Overseas voter categories are: 
  • A student, or the spouse accompanying such student, pursuing a bona fide programme of study outside of The Bahamas;
  • A member of staff of any embassy, high commission or other foreign mission of The Bahamas who is posted overseas, or the spouse or any immediate member of the family living within the household of that member of staff;
  • A public officer or a member of staff of the Ministry of Tourism or any delegation of The Bahamas who is on official duty overseas or the spouse of such person or any immediate member of the family living within the household of that member of staff; 
  • A member of staff of The Bahamas Maritime Authority or any other agency of the Government of The Bahamas or the spouse of such person or any immediate member of the family living within the household of that member of staff;
  • Persons applying to register overseas may do so at any embassy, high commission, or any other foreign mission of The Bahamas provided that he is otherwise qualified to register in accordance with the Law.
 
Overseas Voter – Form J Required Supporting Documents 
  • Proof of employment or job letter 
  • Copy of transcript and or a letter from college or university
  • Student visa for students studying abroad

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ADVANCED POLL LOCATIONS
 
BARBADOS
St. James
Barbados University
of The West Indies, 
Arts Lecture Theatre, 
Cavehill Campus, Cavehill,
Barbados Honorary Consul's
Telephone: (246) 429-8285
CANADA
Ottawa
The Bahamas High Commission, 
Metropolitan Life Centre, 
50 O'Connor Suite 1313, 
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1P 6L2 
Telephone: (613) 232-1724
JAMAICA
Kingston
University of The West Indies, 
Mona Campus,
Kingston, Jamaica 
Honorary Consul's
Telephone: (876) 997-0249
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
Port of Spain
Computer Loft, 
Eric Williams Sciences Complex, 
Trinidad and Tobago 
Honorary Consul's Telephone: (868) 680-3039
UNITED KINGDOM
English
The Bahamas High Commission, 
10 Chesterfeld Street, 
London, England, W1J 5JL 
Telephone: 011-442-07-408-4488
UNITED STATES
Atlanta, Georgia
The Bahamas Consulate, 
Park Central Building, 
2970 Clairmont Road, NE Suites 690, 
Atlanta, Georgia, 30329, 
Telephone: (404) 214-0492
UNITED STATES
Miami, Florida
The Bahamas Consulate,
Ingraham Building, 
Suite 818, 25 South East Second Avenue, 
Miami, Florida, 33131, 
Telephone: (305) 373-6295
UNITED STATES
New York, NY
 
The Bahamas Consulate, 
Bahamas House, 
231 East 46th Street, 
New York, NY 10017, 
Telephone: (212) 421-6420
UNITED STATES
Washington, DC 

The Embassy of The Bahamas, 
2220 Massachusetts Avenue, North West 
Washington, DC, 20008 
Telephone: (202) 319-2660
UNITED STATES
Houston Texas
Wyndham Hotel
8686 Kirby Drive, 
Houston Texas, 77054, 
Telephone: (713) 748-3221
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New Firearm Licence Eligibility Criteria
 
  • Bahamian citizen, residing in The Bahamas
  • 18 years or older
  • Clean criminal record 
  • The intended use of the firearm must be hunting, security for a business, or employment purposes.
 

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Applicants are eligible to apply for Economic Empowerment Zone exemption if they meet the following requirements:
 
  • Bahamians citizens and legal residents, 18 years or older and residing in the specified zone for no fewer              than 12 years. 

Applicants must provide the following support documents: 
  • First four pages of valid passport 
  • Voters card
  • Copy of National Insurance Card
  • Land approval letter 

These items from the Department of Housing must be provided:
  • Stamp or certification 
  • Architectural plan
  • Copy of invoice(s) or quote(s)
  • Copy of location/site plan 

Important Information to Know Before You Apply
  • Exemptions can be applied to international purchases.
  • The approval must be stamped and signed by the Revenue Analyst.
  • If rejected, the applicant is required to pay the normal duties stipulated by the customs department. 
  • Applicants are subject to physical inspections and review by the Revenue Section.
  • If the location of the business is rented, tenants must provide a letter of consent from the landlord, copy of       the landlord’s identification and proof of the landlord’s ownership of the property. *Tenants and landlords            may apply for the same property or building. 
  • Applicants have up to 30 days after submission to provide relevant information.
  • There is no minimum turnover rate for businesses to qualify.
  • Should the applicant be a limited company, the name(s) of beneficial shareholders must be provided.
  • Once approved, the applicant may use the exemption document (certificate) to present to customs.
 

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Applications for existing businesses must meet the criteria below and provide the following supporting documents:  
 
  • Businesses must have an annual sales turnover of five million dollars ($5,000,000) or less
  • The exemption is applied to the value of the items
  • Applications to support location expansion must provide proof of expansion: copy of the building permit/ government issued document, lease, business licence, certificate of deposit (receipt of first month rent), NIB contributions
  • Applications to support inventory expansion must provide the value of the inventory for one time use
 

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