There have been incidents of violent crime including robbery, which is often armed and sometimes fatal, in residential and tourist areas of New Providence, Grand Bahama and Freeport. The number of break-ins and robbery incidents reported to the British High Commission has increased. There are police patrols in the main tourist areas.
Be vigilant at all times and don’t walk alone away from the main hotels, tourist areas, beaches and downtown Nassau, particularly after dark. Take care if travelling on local bus services after dusk on routes away from the main tourist areas. Don’t carry large amounts of cash or jewellery. Robbers may be armed. Don’t resist in the event of an attempted robbery. If you need the police in an emergency, call 911 or 919.
The outlying islands of the Bahamas (known as the Family or Out Islands) have lower crime rates.
Before booking any excursion or activity make sure that health and safety precautions are evident and that the operator has adequate insurance cover.
The water sports industry in The Bahamas is poorly regulated. Be careful when renting jet skis and other water sports equipment as many companies and individuals offering water sports activities are unregistered. People have been killed or seriously injured using jet skis and other watercraft carelessly, or by the reckless behaviour of others. There have been reports of sexual assaults on foreign nationals by jet ski operators in Nassau.
You can drive in The Bahamas on a UK licence or an International Driving Permit. Although traffic drives on the left-hand side of the road most vehicles are imported from the United States and are left hand drive.
There is no British High Commission in the Bahamas. Please address queries to the British High Commission in Kingston, Jamaica. In the event of a genuine consular emergency in The Bahamas, telephone +1 242 225 6033 or +1 876 936 0700. This number should not be used for passport or visa queries.
There is a low threat from terrorism. But you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be in public areas, including those frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.
There is considered to be a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.
Find out more about the global threat from terrorism, how to minimise your risk and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack.
Visit your health professional at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Country specific information and advice is published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre on the TravelHealthPro website and by NHS (Scotland) on the fitfortravel website. Useful information and advice about healthcare abroad is also available on the NHS Choices website.
In an emergency dial 911 and ask for an ambulance. Medical treatment is of a good standard but can be expensive. Emergency medical facilities are limited on all the Family Islands and serious cases are transferred to Nassau, Freeport or Miami by air ambulance. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
UK health authorities have classified the Bahamas as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For more information and advice, visit the website of the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.
Dengue fever is endemic to Latin America and the Caribbean and can occur throughout the year.
In the 2013 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic the UNAIDS/WHO Working Group estimated that around 7,600 adults aged 15 or over in The Bahamas were living with HIV; the rate was of infection was estimated at around 3.2% of the adult population. This compares to the prevalence rate in adults in the UK of around 0.3%. You should exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS.
Penalties for possessing or trafficking drugs are severe. Tourists may be offered drugs in pubs and bars. Police are vigilant and you could face a substantial fine, deportation or imprisonment.
Pack all luggage yourself and do not carry anything through Customs for anyone else.
Carry photocopies of your passport and travel insurance documents and keep the originals in a safe place.
The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.
The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
British nationals visiting are usually allowed entry into the Bahamas for up to 21 days. This can be extended up to a maximum of 8 months by applying to the Department of Immigration in Nassau. Penalties for overstaying include fines and detention pending deportation.
For all other types of travel, seek advice from The Bahamian High Commission in London.
If you are travelling via the USA, you may need to apply for an ESTA. The Bahamas counts as part of the ‘contiguous territory and islands’ for US visa waiver purposes and time spent in The Bahamas counts towards the 90 day maximum permitted stay in the US under this waiver. If you travel to The Bahamas via the USA under US visa waiver arrangements and are in any doubt about your US visa status, you should seek advice from either the US Immigration and Naturalisation Service or any US diplomatic mission before starting your return journey.
You must hold a valid passport to enter The Bahamas. Your passport should be valid for six months from the date of departure from The Bahamas.
Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.
All visitors leaving The Bahamas are subject to a departure tax of $15.00 (US or Bahamian Dollars), which may or may not be included in the price of your ticket.
UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry to and exit from the Bahamas. However, UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are not valid for entry into the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). If you’re planning to enter or transit the US the Bahamas using a UK Emergency Travel Document you must apply for a US visa before you travel.
The hurricane season in The Bahamas normally runs from 1 June to 30 November. A hurricane watch has been introduced for Southeastern Bahamas, including the Inaguas, Mayaguana, Acklins, Crooked Island, Long Cay and Ragged Island. You should monitor local and international weather updates from the US National Hurricane Centre website.
See our Tropical Cyclones page for advice about what to do if you are caught up in a storm.
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London on 020 7008 1500 (24 hours).
Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.
The FCO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.
When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.
Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.
If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.
For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.
If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.