Getting Your Business Started In Freeport

Process to Start a Business in Freeport



Building & Development

Process to Start a Business in Freeport

Bahamas Immigration

The following are general requirements to obtain a work permit from the Bahamas Government:


Bahamas Customs

The following are general requirements to import goods duty free as a Licensee of GBPA:

Ready to invest?

Non-Bahamian Licensing Process

The following are general requirements to obtain a License from The Grand Bahama Port Authority:

  • Application form completed and submitted (see Appendix)
  • Appendix “A” form completed and submitted (see Appendix) (In the event of partnership, this form must be completed by each Shareholder)
  • refundable $1,500.00 a VAT processing fee
  • Submission of Financial, Business and Personal References for each Shareholder, with personal identity data to enable independent background search and verification
  • Any other pertinent Information that may support the application, including Business Plan and explanation of goods/services to be produced/provided. (see Appendix).

Upon acceptance of the terms and conditions as confirmed in the Letter of Offer, the following is required:

  • Full payment of first year’s ken. fee
  • Payment of $25.00 for inspection of approved premises
  • A letter of occupancy or Lease Agreement from Landlord
  • Confirmation of Business Trade Name (If any)
  • Documents of Incorporation (if Company)

Application Form

(a) Each application shall include the following Information:

  • A legal description and address of the land on which the work shall be done
  • The use or occupancy of the building or structure
  • The value of the proposed work
  • Estimated time of construction

Other information as required by the Development Agent to describe the proposed work.

(b) Each application shall be accompanied by plans andspecifications as required by The Grand Bahama Port Authority Limited Building & Sanitary Code,1983.

Plans & Specifications

Each application for a permit shall be accompanied by two sets of plans and specifications, except the Development Agent may issue a permit without plans and/or specifications for small or unimport­ant work of a non-structural nature.


  1. Plans shall be drawn to a scale which indicates with sufficient clarity the nature and extent of the work proposed.
  2. Plans and specifications together shall contain sufficient information to indicate that the work proposed will conform to the provisions of this Code. Such information shall be specific and this code shall not be cited in whole or part as a substitute for specific information.
  3. The Development Agent may require computations, stress diagrams, shop draw­ings, test results, additional details, or other data necessary to show compliance with this Code, or verify the sufficiency of plans and specifications.
  4. Plans and specifications shall be identified with the address of the work, the name and address of the owner, and the name and address of the person or persons who prepared them.
  5. Plans shall include a site plan prepared by a qualified land surveyor on which shall be clearly indicated the property boundaries and dimensions, critical elevations, existing structures, right of way, easements, street and property zoning, general block or area plans, and legal description of property, except that the Development Agent may not require such site plan if property stakes are existing and the work involved is minor and/or is clearly within the building lines.
  6. Architectural drawings shall include:
    1. Architectural floor plans for each floor and building roof plan including a tabulation breakdown of areas of each floor
    2. Exterior elevations of all walls
    3. Typical sections through entire building
    4. Typical wall sections to large scale
    5. Structural framing plan for each floor and roof
    6. Foundation plan
    7. Column, beam, and footing schedule and typical details
    1. Electrical plan showing lighting and electrical distribution
    2. Tabulation of electrical load and riser diagram
    3. Plumbing plan
    4. Plumbing isometric.
    5. Septic tank or sewage disposal unit and location.
    6. Mechanical plans as required if building is air conditioned refrigerated, etc.
    7. Telephone layout on projects of over 8 units or large commercial buildings.
    8. Landscaping proposals and site layout plan.
    9. Parking layout.
    10. Details of all special conditions, e.g. connections to existing structures.


  • Complete the application form.
  • Notarize completed form, affixing a BS$10.00 stamp.
  • Attach the completed and notarized form to the support documents and submit to the Department of Immigration.


(The following information is subject to change as per government policies. Please visit for any recent revisions)

Supporting Documents

  • A letter of request from the prospective employer stating reasons for the application, the position and the period of time required.
  • A copy of the bio-data page of the applicant’s passport.
  • 2 passport-sized identical colour photographs of the applicant, with the applicant’s name printed on the reverse side.
  • A police certificate of character covering 5 years residence in the Bahamas (issued not more than six months prior to the submission of the
  • A medical certificate dated not more than 30 days prior to the submission of the application.
  • Written reference(s) from previous employer(s) (no more than 2 in total).
  • Copies of certificates of examinations referred to in the application form.
  • Copies of applicable job vacancy advertisements in the local newspaper, with replies and results from interviews, if any.
  • A certificate from the Department of Labour, with Notification of Vacancy attached, indicating that a Bahamian is not available to fill the position.

Commercial Enterprises Act

This legislation liberalizes the granting of work permits to an enterprise that wishes to establish itself in The Bahamas.

It provides accelerated granting of work permits for persons holding executive or managerial positions or those with specialized knowledge relating to the commercial enterprise.

To Qualify:

Minimum investment of $250,000 – Business must fall within one of the following areas:

  • Captive Insurance
  • Reinsurance
  • Mutual Fund Administration
  • Arbitration
  • Wealth Management
  • International Trade
  • International Arbitrage
  • Computer Programming
  • Software Design & Writing
  • Bioinformatics & Analytics
  • Nano Technology
  • Biomedical Industries
  • Boutique Health Facilities
  • Data Storage or Warehousing
  • Aviation Approved Maintenance Operations
  • Aviation Registration
  • Call Centers
  • Manufacturing or Assembly of Manufactures
  • Maritime Trade

Permanent Residency

There are two types of Permanent Residency which offer slight variances in rights to the non — citizen in The Bahamas which are shown in the value of investment in real property. Minimum investment for this consideration is $750,000.00.

Accelerated consideration of applications for permanent residence will be given to major international investors as well as fit and proper owners with an investment of $1,500,000.00 or more.

  • Permanent Residence (without the right to work):

A non — citizen holding this instrument will be allowed to live in The Bahamas, but it does not permit them to be employed in The Bahamas.

  • Permanent Residency (with the right to work):

A non — citizen holding this instrument will be allowed to live and be employed in The Bahamas.The applicant must state in his application that he intends to reside in

The Bahamas permanently. In this particular instance, the application for permanent residency would be made under the category of economic applicant, that is, one who seeks permanent residency because of investment in a residential home in The Bahamas.

The prospective applicant will also have to meet the other immigration requirements for permanent residence as well, i.e. the applicant must be of good character and must show evidence of financial support. Persons holding valid Certificates of Perma­nent Residency prior to the Immigration Act 1975 will continue to hold such status automatically.

To initiate an application the requisite application form should be completed in duplicate, notarized, and submitted along with the following documents to the Department of Immigration:

The following is a list of general requirements when making an application:

  • A completed application form completed and notarized by a Justice of the Peace or a Notary Public, with a B$10 Bahamian postage stamp attached;
  • A financial reference, citing a figure range, and verifying economic worth from a reputable bank or financial institution;
  • Parents’ Birth or Marriage Certificates*, where applicable;
  • If the applicant is/was married, he/she is also required to submit an original certified copy of the marriage certificate*, spouse’s birth*/death certificate*, legal separation document* or final divorce decree*, if applicable; and
  • A non-refundable processing fee of B$100.
  • Two (2) passport – size photographs (in colour) with full name printed on the reverse side;
  • Photocopy of the data page of applicant’s passport (must be valid up to six months)
  • An original birth certificate, Bahamian or notarized foreign copy* with a B$10 Bahamian postage stamp affixed to the translation;
  • An original Police Certificate*, issued not more than six (6) months prior to the submission of the application;
  • An original Medical Certificate*, issued not more than thirty (30) days prior to the submission of the application;
  • Two original character references, by Bahamian citizens who have known the applicant for at least five


*Note: Notarized translation of all non-English documents


To enjoy duty-free concessions, The Grand Bahama Port Authority and its licensees must apply to Bahamas Customs for Open Warehouse Status and a bond number.

The application most include:

  1. A copy of the License Agreement.
  2. A duly executed C.B.9 Bond Surety guaranteed by a local bank.

The amount of security is determined by Customs, and varies depending on the nature of business. However, the minimum requirement is Five Thousand ($5,000.00) Dollars.

Open Warehouse Status

Once the application is approved, the licensee Is given an Open Warehouse Status/Certificate and a bond number. The open warehouse status allows the licensee to Import, enter and have full control of conditionally duty free goods for the operation of business. The bond number, peculiar to the licensee, must be noted on all import entries.

*The above information is subject to change as per government policies. Please visit for any recent revisions.

Contact Us