How to Travel to the Bahamas with Your Cat - Step by Step Process for the Entry Permit for Pets
The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, or The Bahamas (its less formal name), is probably one of the most visited places in the Lucayan Archipelago. I’m betting every tropical weather-loving tourist has “visit The Bahamas” entry in their bucket list! With its (and I cannot stress this enough) pristine beaches and breathtaking views, it’s pretty understandable why a lot of people dream of visiting The Bahamas.
I have been lucky enough to visit and explore the beauty of The Bahamas with my husband and Captain Ahab The Sailor Cat. While I’ve already written here my How-To’s on getting yourself a visa to The Bahamas, I haven’t shared yet my How-To’s on bringing your cat/s with you! SO HERE IT IS!
Securing The Bahamas Pet Permit
Basically, to be able to bring your cat to The Bahamas, you will need to secure a Pet Permit issued by The Bahamian Department of Agriculture. This and the accompanying pet-parent are required at the time of import or when you arrive in The Bahamas. This is a mandatory requirement and failure to present one would result to you and your cat getting refused entry into the islands (or worst case scenario is your cat getting confiscated and disposed when found out to be a health risk. WE DO NOT WANT THAT. OH MY GOD.).
STEP 1: Cat Microchipping
In order for your cat to be allowed entry into The Bahamas, he/she must be at least 6 months or age or older and that your cat must not be one of the pure breeds (and their mixes) which the Bahamian government has restricted from entry, which are: Savannah Cat, Bengal Cat, and Chausie.
If you are not part of the aforesaid restrictions, then your cat must have pet microchip implanted. If you have not had your cat implanted with an ISO compliant (11784 and 11785) microchip, then you must have this done first since this is a general requirement for you to be able to travel with your cat and that all vaccines must be done after this procedure, otherwise, they will be disregarded. These new types of microchip which contain 15-digit numbers and are recognized the scanners used in almost all entry points in the world.
STEP 2: Vaccination
Once implanted with a microchip, you may then have your cat’s vaccine/immunization updated. It is worth noting that The Bahamian Department of Agriculture specifically require immunization against the following diseases:
Also, it required that your cat must be vaccinated against rabies “within not less than one (1) month and not more than ten (10) months prior to importation [or arrival] for the one year vaccine” and “no less than one (1) month and not more than thirty-four (34) months prior to importation [or arrival]” for the three (3) year vaccine. (source: www.bahamas.gov.bs)
STEP 3: Fill-up Application Form
Just like any other entry permits/visa, an application form must be submitted to the Bahamian Department of Agriculture. According to the website of the Department of Agriculure, the processing of the application form “usually takes two (2) business days” once received at the processing unit. I advice that te sending of the application form be done through fast courier service providers such as FedEx or UPS since it is much faster than postal mail, which according to the website, would usually take 6-8 weeks! That’s a long wait, if you ask me. And besides, the Department of Agriculture allows such means, and if you want to receive your permit much faster too, you can specifically request that it be sent back to you through fax for a fee of $5.00.
Speaking of fee, an international money order for the payment of processing fee ($10.00 plus 10% VAT for each pet) must accompany your application form. Personal cheques are not accepted. You may send your application form and international money order to this address:
Director of Agriculture
Department of Agriculture
Gladstone & Munnings Roads
P.O. Box No. N-3028
New Providence, The Bahamas
STEP 4: Veterinary Health Certificate
Once the microchipping is done and vaccination/immunization are updated, you must ask your veterinarian to fill-up and sign the Form IMP1-B, which is a Veterinary Health Certificate 48 hours prior to your arrival in The Bahamas. Upon arrival at the port of entry, the Veterinary Health Certificate signed by your veterinarian must then be submitted to an Agricultural Officer and Customs Officer for compliance. (Click here to download the IMP1-B form)
Once all is cleared, you and your lovely cat/s shall be allowed entry to the beautiful islands of The Bahamas!
A bit of advice is that you must pay strict attention to the submission of your application form and the permit’s return to you via fax as well as the 48-hour requirement for the Veterinary Health Certificate. A little bit of work in exchange for an amazing vacation you’ll share with your lovely cat!
P.S. The procedures and permits may vary since from the time that I was writing this article, the Bahamian Veterinary Services of the Department is currently reviewing and updating their import requirements “s a part of our continuing effort to keep abreast of changes in technology and recommendations by the International Standard Setting Bodies (ISSBs) such as the World Animal Health organization (OIE) and also as The Bahamas is seeking to join the WTO.”
For more information and inquiries, you may reach The Bahamian Department of Agriculture at:
Department of Agriculture, Darville’s Business Complex, Gladstone and Munnings Roads, P.O. Box N3028, Nassau, New Providence, The Bahamas
Tel. (242) 397-7450/325-7438, Fax. (242) 325-3960
Opening hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday, except public holidays