Bringing a pet, service animal or Emotional Support Animal (ESA) into the Bahamas is controlled by the Bahamas Dept. or Agriculture as importing pets into the Bahamas. Click this link for the application form that has to be completed, signed and sent to the Bahamas Dept. of Agriculture. There is a $10 fee for a pet import license. If you mail the form with a money order (personal checks not accepted) be sure to send it via Priority Mail or Express Mail.
If your pet is an Emotional Support Animal then the fee is waived but you still have to send in the application and receive the permit to bring the pet into the Bahamas. The pet must be at least 6 months old and have current rabies vaccination. You must have the pet examined by a Veterinarian within 48 hours prior to arriving into the Bahamas and the Vet must complete the health certificate form the Bahamas will send you along with the import forms they send to you.
You can pay an extra $5 for the Bahamas to fax you the pet import forms, which is much faster than having them mail it to you. Also, if it’s an emotional support animal you can fax the application to the dept. of agriculture, since no fee is needed and they’ll fax back the permit at no additional fee, just indicate on the application if that’s the case. If you don’t receive the import permit within two weeks call the Dept. of Agriculture Tel: (242) 325-7413 and Fax: (242) 325-3960.
Always check with your airlines on their pet, service animal and ESA policies, as they all differ slightly. ESA and Service Animal fly free, whereas a fee is charged for pets, whether in the cabin or in checked baggage. Airlines require advance notice of any animal traveling with you. Always make extra copies of any ESA letters from your doctor and all the pet health certificates and vaccination records, as some airlines want to keep a copy of each and it will save time if you have them already.
SkyBahamas has always accepted the same Emotional Support Animal letter the US airlines require. But there is a form you have to fill out when you check in for the flight. You don’t have to inform SkyBahamas ahead of time you are traveling with an ESA. Otherwise, if your pet is not an ESA, then SkyBahamas will charge for the pet.
The import permit is only good for one entry for up to one year and is surrendered at Bahamas Customs after you pick up your luggage. It is recommended to make extra copies of the permit and the health exam, etc. as US customs likes to see it on the return flight. Also, if you bring any pet treats or pet food in your luggage, keep it in its original packaging as the US customs requires it to be in its originally packaging, even if open, else they will seize it as it isn’t properly labeled.
Returning to the US with a pet is much more lax than entering the Bahamas. US Customs and Border Patrol don’t require anything other than the shot record that shows the pet is current with its vaccinations. No vet health exam is require to return to the US.