I just realized we’ve been bringing Wrigley to Abaco for more than ten years! Over that time, we’ve learned a lot about bringing a pet to the Bahamas, and I’m happy to share with you some of what we’ve learned.
Today, we’ll focus on the Bahamas Pet Import Permit.
Bahamas Pet Import Permit
The first step in bringing a pet to the Bahamas (temporarily or permanently) is to obtain a pet import permit from the Bahamas Ministry of Agriculture.
The application process is pretty straightforward. Essentially, you fill out an application form and mail it, along with an international money order for $10 + VAT to the Ministry of Agriculture’s office in Nassau. Once your application is processed, the Ministry mails (or for $5 more, faxes) your permit to you. A separate permit is required for each animal and each trip, and a permit is valid for a year after it’s issued.
Until recently, this was the process we followed for Wrigley — with varying degrees of success. Sadly, the Bahamian post isn’t always as reliable as one might hope. Once, our application apparently never reached the Ministry of Agriculture. Another time, they mailed a permit to me in the U.S., but the document never arrived.
I began sending applications from the U.S. to Nassau by FedEx and paying the extra $5 to have the permit faxed to me. It was a more reliable system, but insanely expensive — usually well over $100.
A Faster, Easier Option
Fortunately, a few years back, Bahamian entrepreneur Wellington Saunders launched Bahamas Pet Permit, an online service that helps people apply long-distance for pet permits. (I should point out that beyond being a satisfied, repeat customer, I’m not affiliated in any way with Wellington or his business.)
To use Wellington’s service, visit the Bahamas Pet Permit website. Print off the pet import permit application, complete it and return by email to Wellington. He’ll review your application to make sure all is in order, then send you an invoice that can be paid via Zelle or credit card.
Wellington then submits your application to the Bahamas Ministry of Agriculture office near him and collects the permit, which he scans and emails to you. Total cost per animal is $57, including Wellington’s services and the application fee.
Not only is Wellington’s service considerably less expensive than the FedEx/fax route, but it’s easier and faster. No more trips to the post office for money orders, or to the FedEx office. And we usually receive our permit in less than a week. (I understand that the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down the Ministry of Agriculture’s processes, so allow as much time as you can for permit processing.)
Whether you obtain your import permit through Wellington’s service or direct from the Ministry of Agriculture, here’s what it will look like:
Sometimes, a second page (shown below) is also included with your permit. It’s a Form IMP/1B (also known as Form AGR/VS/1A or the Veterinary Health Certificate), which must be completed by your veterinarian no more than 48 hours before your trip.
If a Form IMP/1B doesn’t come with your permit, you can click HERE to print it off.
Arriving in the Bahamas With Your Pet
When arriving in the Bahamas, you’ll need to present to the customs agent:
- A hard copy of your import permit
- A hard copy of Form IMP/1 B completed by your vet no more than two days before your trip.
- A vaccine record, to demonstrate that your dog is current on all required shots listed on the import permit
For more information about the Bahamas Pet Import Permit, contact the Ministry of Agriculture at (242) 325-7502 or (242) 325-7509.
To learn more about Wellington Saunders’ services, contact him by phone or Whatsapp at (242) 544-1698 (between 9am and 7pm Eastern time) or email him at email@example.com.
Next time, I’ll tell you a bit more about the necessary pre-trip vet appointment.
In the meantime, I hope you’ll share your own experiences travelling to Abaco with your pet — or your questions about doing so — in the comments section below!