WPCNR REFUGEE REPORTER. From the Department of Homeland Security. September 10, 2019:
The U.S. Embassy in Nassau is 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.
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 bottom line is that all travelers must possess government-issued identity documents, such as passports. All travelers who arrive directly to a U.S. Port of Entry by air or sea must possess a U.S. visitor’s visa. Travelers who would otherwise qualify for the Visa Waiver Program and who travel by air from a CBP Preclearance facility in Freeport or Nassau may not need a U.S. visitor’s visa.
CBP Port Directors may use discretion and will consider all exigent circumstances on a case by case basis, in accordance with existing laws and regulations.
CBP recommends that all carriers coordinate evacuations with the Bahamian and U.S. government authorities so that CBP facilities are prepared to quickly and efficiently process arriving passengers. Carriers are also reminded of their Notice of Arrival requirements.
The American Red Cross and the Salvation Army continue to also work with local Florida governments to address any needs of evacuees who seek temporary relocation in the United States.