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Marriage aspect of Immigration Act to be amended

An amend to the Immigration Act will eliminate the five-year limitation on spousal permits. Once approved a foreign spouse can then seek citizenship in The Bahamas. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Tuesday, August 14, 2012

An Amendment to the Immigration Act was passed in the House of Assembly to eliminate the five-year limit for a Resident Spousal Permit and allow spouses to seek citizenship in The Bahamas.

“We seek to provide an enabling power, as right now it is not possible to give anything other than the five years,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Fred Mitchell (pictured), who introduced the amendment to the House of Assembly August 8, 2012.

The Immigration Act was amended on February 3, 1997 to provide for Resident Spousal Permit, under Section 29 (3).

At present, the permit entitles foreign spouses of Bahamian citizens to apply, if married for less than five years. Once granted, the Resident Spousal Permit is issued for a period of five years from the date of marriage, at a cost of $350 including a $100 non-refundable processing fee.

The existing policy is that when the Bahamian spouse of a foreign national applies for a Resident Spousal Permit within the first five years of marriage, the Department acknowledges receipt of the application in writing and invites both husband and wife to visit the office for an interview.

The application file is reviewed by the Director of Immigration and a decision is made to issue one of the following: Resident Spousal Permit $250, General Work’s Permit $1,000 or Permit to Reside $25.

The advantages to the proposed legislation is that the new permit will eliminate the limitation period of five years, and those approved for such permits will have the option to apply for citizenship.

As regards to those already in the system, a policy decision will be taken to request holders of spousal permits to apply for extension under the new amendment.

Preparations are underway for the annual Speed Week, which will take place in November. The vintage racing car racing event was revived last year. Watch an interview with Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe here.

The summer festival season kicked off in Nassau at the weekend with hundreds of locals and visitors attending the Goombay Summer Festival. Watch a report on the event here.

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