Getting Through Customs in the Bahamas

Know current Bahamas customs regulations to minimize delays

Photo credit: © Nick Perez

Bahamas Customs

The Bahamas offers countless shopping opportunities, and there's a special souvenir for any and every taste. Knowing the Bahamas' customs regulations, as well as the customs regulations of your home country, will guarantee a hassle-free travel experience.

As a Caribbean visitor, be aware of the following Bahamas customs tips and rules before entering the region:

  • You may bring up to two liters of alcohol and two cartons of cigarettes to the Caribbean islands.

  • You may bring a "reasonable" amount of duty-free goods for personal use; anything deemed in excess of "reasonable" may incur an import tax.

  • All prescription drugs must be accompanied by an official prescription.

It is illegal to import a firearm or ammunition into the Bahamas or to possess a firearm in the country without appropriate permission. Tourists who arrive by private boat are required to declare firearms to Bahamian Customs and leave firearms on the boat while on land. Penalties are strict, and can involve heavy fines, lengthy prison terms, or both. For further information, U.S. Citizens can contact the Embassy of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas in Washington, D.C. or the Bahamian consulates in Miami or New York. Citizens of other countries can contact these as well, or may be able to find embassies or consulates in their own countries by visiting our guide to Embassies and Consulates in the Bahamas.

United States citizens: To avoid paying duties on the foreign-made high-ticket items you already own and take with you on your Caribbean trip, register them with customs before you leave the U.S. Consider filing a Certificate of Registration for items such as laptop computers, cameras, watches, and other digital devices identified with serial numbers or other permanent markings; you can keep the certificate for other trips. Otherwise, bring a sales receipt or insurance form to show that you owned the item before you left the United States.

As an island shopper, and before returning home, remember these things:

  • Keep receipts for all items you buy in the Caribbean.

  • Upon departing your island getaway, make sure your purchases are easily accessible in case your home country's customs officials request an inspection.

  • If you have any questions or complaints about your customs experience, write to the port director at your point of reentry.

The following additional reentry rules apply for United States citizens:

  • You may bring back to the U.S. up to one liter of alcohol (if you are 21 or older) or perfume containing alcohol, up to 200 cigarettes, and up to 100 non-Cuban cigars. If you stay in the Caribbean for less than 48 hours, you may bring home up to 150 ml of alcohol, up to 50 cigarettes, and up to10 non-Cuban cigars.

  • The following items may be brought home duty-free: original works of art such as paintings, drawings, and sculptures, along with antiques, which are officially defined as objects more than 100 years old.

  • You may send packages home duty-free, with a limit of one parcel per addressee per day, with the exception of alcohol or tobacco products, or perfume worth more than $5(USD).

  • You can mail up to $200(USD) worth of goods home to the U.S. for personal use; be sure to write "PERSONAL USE" on the parcel and attach a list of its contents and their retail value.

  • If you send home a parcel containing personal belongings that have been used, write "AMERICAN GOODS RETURNED" on the package to avoid a duty fee.

  • You may send up to $100(USD) worth of goods as a gift to someone in the U.S. provided you write "UNSOLICITED GIFT" on the package.

Note that mailed items do not affect your duty-free allowance upon your return.

Since customs regulations are subject to change from time to time, it is best to check with your country's specific entry requirements before you leave.


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