Bahamas cruise - Visa requirements

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Jun 14, 2017
I have a question regarding Bahamas visa requirements.

I am planning to undertake a 3 night closed loop cruise from Port Canaveral, US which includes ports of call at Nassau and Castaway Cay and returns back to Port Canaveral, US. We will be on each of the islands during the day only for about 8 hours on each of the islands. There is NO overnight stay scheduled on the islands.

I am a citizen of India working in the US on H-1B visa. Other members in my group includes Indian citizens with B1/B2 (Tourist) visa holders in the US. We all have valid US visa and I-94 on our Indian passports.

Could you kindly let me know if any one of us (H-1B visa holders or B1/B2 - US Tourist visa holders) need a Bahamas visa for this trip?

Jul 27, 2016
According to the following it appears to me that you do not need a Visa for this trip ...
That's all about what's required to get back into the US, not if the Bahamas will require anything.

According to the below list from the Bahamian government, citizens of India do need to apply for a visa to visit the Bahamas, unless they're US permanent residents (i.e. have a green card).

It appears there may have been special provisions for cruise ship passengers, but, based on the letter linked below, those no longer apply, and Indian citizens who aren't US permanent residents do need a visa even if they're on a closed loop cruise.
Jul 27, 2016
We had a similar case recently:

and when the traveler contacted Bermuda Embassy, he was told:

Bermuda entry visa are no longer issued for travel to Bermuda.​

Also see:

"Unfortunately, at this time VisaHQ does not provide service for tourist visas to Bermuda"
Finally there is this:

where it says:

As of 1 March 2014, Bermuda entry visas and visa waivers will no longer be required for tourist and business visitors and work permit holders.

The link I posted above refers to I-94 not needing a visa, which I took to mean they are okay.
That's Bermuda. This letter writer is asking about the Bahamas. Totally different countries.
Jun 14, 2017
Thank you all for the quick response to my question.

I have called the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and they said I do not need a visa since I will be on the island only for a couple of hours during the day and hence I am considered a transit visitor. I called the Bahamas Immigration Department and they mentioned I will not need a visa if I am arriving by cruise ship. But when I emailed the Bahamas Embassy, they completely ignored the closed loop cruise thing. Instead they sent a list of countries whose citizens need a visa and India is one of them and they also sent me the Visa Application Form.

I checked different forums where Indian citizens living in the US have taken closed loop cruises without getting a Bahamas visa and those that got the visa, most of them said it was never checked. I am confused if I should be getting the visa or not.

I mean, if it is illegal to travel without the visa, then I am willing to get it even if it does not get checked. But if it is completely legal for travelers from the US with multiple entry US visa to travel without it on closed loop cruises, then I would prefer not spending $100 per person + shipping for something that is absolutely not required.

I have not been able to find anything that clearly states about the visa requirements for closed loop cruise travelers that have multiple entry US visa.


Verified Member
Sep 1, 2015
Other advocates have provided recommendations and guidance- however we cannot provide specific answers to immigration/ visa/ passport issues. There are many legal details and exceptions since 3 or more countries are involved. An official answer from the government(s) or an immigration attorney is necessary. Get everything in writing!

I'm a US citizen and a US Passport is required to visit many Caribbean countries, but I've never had it checked at any port. It very well might have been checked as a random inspection, and more importantly the cruise lines *do* check for complete and proper travel documentation and will deny boarding if you do not have it.

A bigger concern is re-entry to the US and not accidentally jeopardizing your H1-B or LPR status. I'm sure you will be fine but you need confirmation that we can't provide. Hope this helps!


Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
San Francisco
It's a shame this is all so complicated. I'd rely more on websites that you can keep screen shots of than phone calls. We absolutely cannot advise you, I'm sorry to say. When travelling internationally, I always err on the safe side, so I'd get the visa.

I do want to bring up a point, something that my colleagues have brought up in the past. If you would become injured or very ill, you would not be able to get off the ship and fly to a hospital for treatment. I realize that this is a remote possibility, but if my leg were broken in 4 places I would not want to be restricted to the ship for the rest of the cruise, I'd want to get to the closest trauma center.

Neil Maley

Staff Member
Dec 27, 2014
New York
You should also contact the US embassy to make sure you wo t have problems returning.

We are not in any way qualified to give you advice on what type of visas or travel
documents you need to travel.

Make sure you have all the information the embassies gave you in writing and you bring it with you.