In our business of providing luxury concierge services to clients in the Bahamas we have heard our fair share of "if I had just known before moving here" comments. The Bahamas is a beautiful island nation that offers privacy and exclusivity to those who want it but it comes with challenges.
For starters it’s an island nation meaning almost everything you consume or want needs to be imported. If you are considering one of the outer islands or a private island for your new residence, then transportation, electrical service, and skilled maintenance service (electrical, HVAC, etc.) also become challenges that need to be overcome. If you are not prepared for life on the islands, life can become very complicated.
And that’s where we come in. At Windridge Olen Exports we have been making life in the Bahamas simple for our private clients.
With that in mind we’d like to share some of the more common questions that people have when moving to the Bahamas:
- What are the residency requirements? To obtain a permanent residency status is fairly simple. All you need to show is an investment of $500,000 (usually a residence) and have a clean criminal record. Guests from North America and most European countries do not require a visa if they have proof of nationality and are staying 3 weeks or less.
- What is the tariff rate for imported household goods? The Bahamas does not collect a personal or corporate income tax, sales tax or capital gains tax as most nations do. So how do they get revenue? Import taxes. Nearly 65% of the nation’s income is derived by import taxes. On average the tax is 30% to 35% of the assessed value of the import plus a 7% tax stamp.
- How reliable is electrical service on the islands. As you might imagine electrical service is spotty on the islands. This year the government hired an outside power management firm to assist in improving reliability and lowering rates. However, the smart move is to have your own generators to ensure a steady supply of power.
- How easy is it to deal with the government for permits, licenses, etc. The short answer is it’s not. The government is a major employer in the islands and there is a vested interest in nurturing the bureaucracy. If you are new to the islands you will be in for a time consuming and expensive lesson in local law. Using a concierge service that is intimately acquainted with government protocols will save you both time and money.
- What’s the best way to shop for the things we want? The short answer is to call us. With the exception of some incredible seafood, you will have to look outside the islands for items ranging from gourmet delights to spare parts for your HVAC. The easiest and fastest way to get what you want is to use a proven concierge service. No hassle with customs, no excessive broker fees just the items you ordered delivered to your door.
Do you have a question you need answered? Give us a call or send us an email today and let our 25 years of doing business in the Bahamas work for you.