The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration announced that on February 19, 2016 all handwritten Bahamians passports will be “canceled and become null and void.” The Bahamas Information Service additionally advised that all Bahamians, “in possession of those passports should immediately surrender them and obtain an electronic passport.”
As a result of this notice, on February 19th all handwritten Bahamian passports will no longer be recognized as legitimate travel documents at the U.S. Embassy in Nassau for visas and any other services.
Individuals with visas in handwritten Bahamian passports may continue to use those visas for the duration of their validity, but will be required to also present a valid Bahamian e-passport for travel starting on February 19th. As a matter of law, the expiry of a passport does not automatically cancel a United States visa contained within the travel document. The unexpired visa may continue to be used as long as it is presented with a valid passport.
The U.S. Embassy in Nassau strongly encourages residents of The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands to apply NOW for a U.S. visa BEFORE the busy visa season begins! There are currently visa interview appointments available with little or no wait time, providing plenty of opportunity to get the travel documents needed for planned summer travel. During the summer, the wait time for an interview can be more than two weeks. Please note that visas are not printed the same day as the interview appointment. The majority of successful visa applicants can expect to receive their visas within one week. Some applications require additional processing, which can take several weeks or months before the visa can be issued.
For information on how to make an appointment, please see our website which has a link to a complete step-by-step video on the visa application process.