Requirements for Children Traveling to the Bahamas
Do your kids like tropical islands? The Bahamas has islands, over 700 of them, in fact, plus 2,400 cays. Many of the islands are uninhabited, gorgeous and rimmed with coral reefs and deep ocean gorges, great for adventuring, snorkeling, diving or kayaking. Of course there are a few people who live in the Bahamas, in cities like Nassau, the lively capital on the island of New Providence that is popular with cruise ship passengers. Assuming your children are eager to visit and explore the Bahamas, all you have to do is gather the requisite documentation to get them across the border.
Passport Yes, Visa No
Be they 6 months old or 17 going on 18, your kids will each need their own U.S. passport if you arrive by air. If you arrive on a boat, all of you could get by with other documents that are compliant with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, like Trusted Traveler Program cards, such as NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST, but the U.S. State Department recommends that each person carry a passport anyway, in case something unexpected happens and you have to leave by airplane.
The good news is that no visas are required to enter the Bahamas. You can stay and play for up to three months just by showing your passport and "proof of anticipated departure," which means a ticket out. This could be the back half of a round-trip ticket, your cruise ship continuing itinerary or an alternative flight or boat reservation.
Letter from Absent Parent
If you are taking your kids to the Bahamas, but their other parent isn't going along, that raises red flags as to the potential for parental child abduction at the border. The Bahamas requires that you carry a letter from the other parent signed in front of a notary giving consent for the children to take the trip. The letter does not have to follow any particular format, but must state that the parent knows that his children are traveling with the other parent to the Bahamas, and should state the kids' names, your name and the dates of travel.
If the other parent is deceased, carry a certified death certificate. If your child is traveling with a grandparent, with a teacher or with another adult, send along a written notarized consent letter from both parents or separate letters, one from each parent. This will be sufficient for your child to enter the Bahamas.