Moving and Shipping Your Household to the Bahamas
Did you know that more and more Americans are choosing to move to The Bahamas? It’s true! And the good news is that the process of moving there can be relatively easy, especially if you connect with a top-tier international moving and shipping company. In fact, there are currently around 30,000 Americans who have made The Bahamas their home!
Retirement: The Bahamas offer a warm climate, beautiful beaches, and a relaxed lifestyle, making it an ideal destination for retirees.
Second homes: Americans have been investing in second homes in the Bahamas for many years. Owning a home in the Bahamas provides a vacation destination and can also be used as a rental property.
Business Opportunities: The Bahamas has a growing economy with a stable government, making it a favorable destination for business opportunities.
Tax Benefits: The Bahamas does not have an income tax or capital gains tax, making it an attractive destination for those looking to reduce their tax liability.
Lifestyle: Many Americans are drawn to the laid-back island lifestyle, which offers a slower pace of life and an escape from the hustle and bustle of city living.
It is important to note that each destination has its unique culture, lifestyle, and amenities, so it is essential to do thorough research before deciding on a location to move to.
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So, how straightforward is it really to pull the trigger to make this happen? The answer is that it can be very straightforward, provided you have done a little homework, have made the decision, and are working with an experienced, reputable, and responsive international shipping company. SDC is an international shipping company that stays with you every step of the way, from start to finish!
What to Look for in a Top-Tier Door-to-Door International Moving Company
Expertise and Experience
This is obvious. The company you work with should be very experienced and have all the expertise necessary to navigate all the elements that come along with completing a trouble-free shipment from the USA to The Bahamas. Failure to work with a company that is truly knowledgeable and experienced can result in rather unpleasant, negative outcomes. SDC has been moving household goods and personal effects to The Bahamas for our clients for over 20 years.
A Dedicated Support Team Working with You from Start to Finish.
Shipping household goods and personal effects to The Bahamas from the USA is often confused as being “simple”. If all your T’s are crossed, I’s dotted and you are working with a very experienced shipping company, it can be. From door to door, including navigating customs in The Bahamas, SDC International Shipping guides you every step of the way. We stay in communication and advise you on the paperwork and documents we need to make sure we clear customs for you at the port of entry in The Bahamas. Further, we deliver to your new residence (or delivery location).
Superior Online Reviews
Online reviews are an important and effective way to better understand the sort of company with whom you are considering working. It is our advice to only work with companies who have 4+ star ratings.
Visual Survey / Question and Answer Meeting (meet your shipper)
In order to accurately quote a client, it is critical for any international moving company to thoroughly understand both the volume of items being shipped, as well as any other important considerations. To do this, a virtual or in-person visual survey, conducted by an experienced shipper and estimator, is usually necessary. This critical step ensures that the quotation is based upon the actual volume estimate as well as all the client’s needs.
Things to Watch Out for When Choosing a Shipping Company
Are You Working with a Genuine International Moving Company? (Caution)
Unfortunately, there are companies out there who represent themselves as an actual moving company, perhaps even specializing in moves to Ireland. Is this always the case? Often it is not. They (the broker posing as a moving company) may gain your trust and booking, only to hire a 3rd party/s for the lowest possible cost to them. Avoid the broker posing as a true international moving company.
Bait and Switch (low-ball) (Caution)
This is just as it sounds. Beware of the very low quote. Have you ever seen a new car advertised as “starting as low as…”? Does that mean the steering wheel, transmission, and tires will cost extra? Kidding aside, the “bait and switch” or “low-ball quote” is a real thing; and you should understand it. SDC has been at this for a long time, and we know that too often the lowest quoted price may ultimately end up as the costliest. It may be a red flag when a shipping company quickly provides a quote, often a lower quote than others, but didn’t take time to understand all the inventory, let alone the client’s needs. Those “surprise” costs add up!
At SDC we strive to thoroughly understand all your needs and expectations. From there, we provide a clear, professional quotation that is as low as our many years of experience, shipping relationships, and efficiencies allow.
Up-Front $ Deposits (Caution)
Beware of any company that requires an up-front deposit. A credit card authorization (as security) is fine, but an actual deposit could be a red flag. SDC Intl. Shipping does not require up-front deposits, nor do we charge a credit card up-front, for 99+% of our jobs.
Consistently Poor Online Reviews (Caution)
Just as you should look for an international moving and shipping company that has outstanding online reviews, the opposite is obviously just as important. Look to Yelp and Google to understand what others have to say about the international shipping company that you are considering.
Lack of a Professional, Comprehensive Quote (Caution)
SDC will provide a comprehensive, professional proposal for your shipment to The Bahamas. This will spell out precisely what service is being quoted (e.g., door to door, door to port, port to port, etc.). Further, all elements which are included, as well as any which are not included, will be clearly stated. Be very cautious of any outfit that does not provide such a proposal!
Top The Bahamas Destinations for Expats
What are the top cities in The Bahamas, for expats?
There are many beautiful destinations in the Bahamas which are extremely popular with US expats. Some of the top destinations include:
Nassau: As the capital of the Bahamas, Nassau is a bustling city with a mix of colonial and modern architecture. It is a popular destination for expats due to its proximity to the United States and its vibrant culture.
Grand Bahama Island: Grand Bahama Island is the fourth-largest island in the Bahamas and offers a mix of beautiful beaches, shopping, and nightlife. It is also home to Freeport, a major city with a bustling economy and plenty of business opportunities.
Abaco Islands: The Abaco Islands are a group of islands in the northern Bahamas, known for their crystal-clear waters and beautiful beaches. The largest island, Great Abaco, has a thriving expat community and offers a range of amenities.
Exuma: The Exuma Islands are a chain of islands and cays in the central Bahamas, known for their stunning beaches, clear waters, and abundant wildlife. It is a popular destination for expats who want to enjoy a more laid-back lifestyle.
Eleuthera: Eleuthera is a long, thin island in the eastern Bahamas, known for its pink sand beaches and beautiful scenery. It is a popular destination for expats who want to live a quieter, more relaxed lifestyle.
The SDC Shipping Process to The Bahamas
SDC International Shipping is your best choice when it comes to selecting international movers to The Bahamas. We take extra time to first fully understand our client’s needs. This helps to reduce or even eliminate “surprise” charges and/or other potential troubles. From there, the process, depending on the desired level of service (e.g., door to door, door to port, port to door, port to port, air freight, etc.) is handled by SDC Intl. Shipping. That is from your point of origin all the way to the desired destination. As an example, let’s consider a full household move, using ocean shipping, from door to door, including full professional packing, wrapping, and protecting all household goods.
- First, it is a great idea to conduct the Visual Survey to get to know each other better, and for SDC to understand the client’s needs and inventory. This is also an opportunity to answer any questions the client may have. ß Very important Sometimes a visual survey isn’t possible. In that case, it is still important for SDC to understand your needs. Sometimes we use pictures; or in certain cases, we agree on an amount and service. That said, for most shipments of household goods from door to door, a visual survey is an important part of the process.
- After the survey is complete and analyzed professionally, SDC Intl. Shipping will then provide a Professional Quotation. This quote will clearly explain all elements of your move that are included as well as those which are not or may not be.
- If everything looks good, the next step would be for your SDC Intl. Shipping Relocation Specialist to provide you with an Order for Service. This is the actionable booking document that initiates the shipping process. The order for service will clearly spell out not only the price but also all details, including what is included, what is not, etc.
- Internal Support and Logistics Team gets involved- Once your job is booked, an internal Support Expert for The Bahamas is assigned. This Specialist will provide constant communication, and guidance, request the proper documents /paperwork that might be required, and stay with you from start through finish.
- Packing, Wrapping & Protecting, and Pick-Up- Sometimes this (packing and pick-up) is done on the same day. Sometimes, for larger and more complex jobs, professional packing (if part of your requested service), wrapping, protecting, and prepping could be 1-3 days before the actual pick-up/loading.
- Shipping– The next step is to ship your household inventory.
- Customs– Unless otherwise requested, SDC Intl. Shipping will clear customs at the destination port of entry. Long before this point, your SDC Intl. Shipping Specialist will have taken care of all of the necessary paperwork. This way, clearing customs at the destination port of entry should go smoothly.
- Final Delivery– Unless otherwise requested, SDC Intl. Shipping then delivers your household goods to your destination residence or desired delivery location. All furniture is reassembled (if applicable), unwrapped, and placed where you would like it. All boxes are delivered to the room or area of your home that you wish. We then clean up all trash and depart.
SDC International Shipping’s Logistics and Support Team works with you and helps with the documents necessary to ship your household goods, clear customs, and deliver to your residence in The Bahamas. Below is a list of documents that are commonly needed –
- Passport – You will need a valid passport to enter The Bahamas. Ensure that your passport is not expiring soon.
- Visa – Depending on your nationality, you may require a visa to enter The Bahamas. Citizens of many countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, do not need a visa for stays of up to 90 days.
- Work Permit – If you plan to work in The Bahamas, you will need a work permit. Your employer in The Bahamas will have to apply for this on your behalf.
- Residence Permit – If you plan to stay in The Bahamas for an extended period, you will need to obtain a residence permit. You can apply for a residence permit at the Department of Immigration in Nassau.
- Police Certificate – You may be required to provide a police certificate from your country of origin or any country where you have lived for an extended period.
- Health Certificate – You may be required to provide a health certificate that confirms you are free from infectious diseases.
- Proof of finances – You may be required to provide proof of sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay in The Bahamas.
These are just some of the essential documents you should consider when planning to move to The Bahamas. It’s advisable to research the specific requirements for your situation and consult with the relevant authorities in The Bahamas.
What Can’t I Ship from the USA to The Bahamas, with My Household Goods?
It is important to note that when moving to a foreign country, there may be restrictions on what items you can bring with you. Some common items that are often restricted or prohibited when shipping household goods internationally include:
- Firearms and ammunition
- Illegal drugs
- Plants and plant products
- Dangerous chemicals
- Pornographic materials
- Loose gems
- Large amounts of precious metals
- Large sums of cash or marketable securities
Please engage with your SDC International Shipping Relocation Specialist for further information regarding what may not or should not be sent along with your household goods and personal effects.
Here is a helpful link for more information-
Packing and Protecting Your Household Goods
- Standard Service (protecting your larger items/furniture)- SDC International Shipping, by default will wrap and protect all of your furniture items. This would include items which would not normally be boxed. For example, desks, sofas, dining tables, credenzas, beds, etc. All furniture items will be protected in a manner necessary to ensure transit from door to door, with complete protection.
- Special Enhanced Protection for Delicate and/or Specialty Items- SDC International Shipping will always provide the appropriate level of protection for your different inventory items. Items such as glass and marble tops, statues, glass china cabinets, etc., will receive the appropriate level of enhanced protection for the shipment. At SDC, our mandate is to do everything in our power to ensure your items arrive in the exact same condition in which they left. We are experts at making this happen.
- Packing of Boxes– There are basically 3 options when it comes to packing your boxes.
- Full Professional Packing Service by SDC– When it comes to boxes, the client may elect to have SDC International Shipping professionally pack all boxes, or only some of them, and create a professional inventory list. This is often helpful with customs at the port of entry in The Bahamas.
- Self-Pack- Alternatively, the client may elect to self-pack (or partially self-pack) boxes for the shipment. In this case, you need to create an inventory list. SDC Intl. Shipping will help.
- Hybrid- This is an option when the client would like to self-pack most of their boxes but leave some delicate items to be packed by the agent (SDC Intl. Shipping). For Example- the client will pack most boxes but would like SDC to pack the framed wall art, TVs and fine china. This is a common arrangement.
- Framed Art- SDC can pack framed wall art for our clients. Alternatively, the client may choose to pack themselves. SDC can provide everything from standard wrapping and boxing of art to acid-free wrapping and soft crating, all the way up to creating full, custom hard crates for your fine art.
- White Glove Service- If needed, SDC International Shipping’s teams of expert packers and un-packers are happy to provide full white-glove service.
Art, Pianos, Billiard Tables, and Sculptures to The Bahamas
When shipping your Piano, Billiard Table, Fine Art, and other specialty/collectible items, they must be handled properly by an experienced, knowledgeable, and capable shipping and relocation company. If you need to ship a musical instrument, oil painting, a pool table, collectible pinball machines, or any other high-value specialty item, our team has the knowledge, experience, skills, and equipment to handle any specialty shipment, door-to-door.
Shipping Your Household Goods to The Bahamas by Ocean or by Air
Household shipments to destinations outside North America are usually shipped by ocean freight. A benefit is that ocean shipping is a more economical mode. The downside however is that the total transit time is longer. SDC Intl. Shipping is an expert in both shipping by air and shipping by way of the ocean. Often, a combination of both may be utilized.
Shipping Your Car to The Bahamas
Can I ship my vehicle from the USA to my new home in The Bahamas? Yes, it is possible to bring your car with you when moving to The Bahamas from the USA.
Here are the general guidelines when importing your vehicle to the Bahamas:
- All automobiles must be insured before reaching customs.
- If the vehicle comes from a right-hand drive country, you must adjust the headlights to dip left.
- The vehicle must pass inspection after clearing customs.
- You will require entry forms for the vehicle.
- Other important documents include:
- Valid driver’s license
- Original vehicle documents such as the registration and invoice
Please consult with your SDC International Shipping Relocation Specialist for additional details.
Drive-side standard in The Bahamas- Left-Hand Drive (same as USA)
Some Helpful Links for you-
Importing Your Motorcycle to The Bahamas
Can I ship my motorcycle to The Bahamas? Yes, SDC International Shipping can ship your motorcycle to the Bahamas when you are relocating there. However, there are several steps you will need to take to ensure a smooth import process:
Obtain the necessary paperwork: You will need to obtain the original title of the motorcycle, a bill of sale, and the motorcycle’s registration. You may also need to obtain a letter of authorization from the lienholder if the motorcycle is financed.
Meet import requirements: You will need to meet the import requirements set by the Bahamian government, which may include having a valid driver’s license and proof of insurance, as well as paying any necessary import duties and taxes.
Choose a shipping method: You can either ship your motorcycle by sea or air, depending on your preference and budget.
Pet Relocations to The Bahamas
Can I bring my pet to The Bahamas as part of my move? Yes! SDC International Shipping can help with this process. It is possible to bring your pet to The Bahamas, but you will need to follow certain regulations and requirements. A couple of general requirements to be aware of include-
Obtain the necessary documentation: You will need to obtain a veterinary health certificate from your veterinarian, which certifies that your pet is healthy and up to date on its vaccinations. The health certificate should be issued within 48 hours of your pet’s travel.
Meet import requirements: You will need to meet the import requirements set by the Bahamian government, which may include having your pet microchipped, receiving a rabies vaccination, and passing a veterinary inspection upon arrival.
Marine Insurance for Your Household Goods
SDC International Shipping offers both Total Loss as well as Full Coverage insurance options which cover your possessions from door to door. Please contact SDC International Shipping at 888-779-3962 for details.
Healthcare in The Bahamas
As an expat moving to the Bahamas, you can obtain health insurance to cover your medical expenses while living there. There are several options available for health insurance in the Bahamas, including private health insurance plans and the National Health Insurance Program (NHI).
Private health insurance plans are offered by various insurance companies in the Bahamas and can provide coverage for a range of medical services, including hospitalization, doctor visits, and prescription medication. The coverage and cost of these plans can vary depending on the provider and the level of coverage you choose.
The National Health Insurance Program (NHI) is a government-run program that provides basic health coverage to all Bahamian citizens and legal residents. The program covers a range of medical services, including primary care, specialist care, and some prescription medication. As an expat, you may be eligible to enroll in the NHI program if you meet certain residency requirements.
It is recommended to research different health insurance options and consult with a healthcare professional or insurance agent to determine the best plan for your needs and budget.
Electrical Standard in The Bahamas
The residential power standard in The Bahamas is the same as in North America (120v and 60Hz). The power outlets are style A or B.
Moving internationally can be a challenging process, but with careful planning and the right support, it can also be an exciting adventure.
At SDC International Shipping, we understand the complexities of international moves and are here to provide the support you need. From packing and shipping to customs requirements and more, we offer a range of services to help make your move as stress-free as possible.
Contact us today to learn more about our white glove packing service and other moving solutions. Let us help you prepare for your international move and start your new life abroad on the right foot.