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Bahamas – Buying or Importing a Car

The Bahamas is a beautiful archipelago located in the Caribbean known for its pristine beaches, clear blue waters, and vibrant culture. If you are planning to move to the Bahamas or stay there for an extended period, you might want to consider buying or importing a vehicle. In this article, we will discuss the procedure for buying a new or used car in the Bahamas, importing a vehicle, and selling a car.

Buying a Car in the Bahamas

If you are a foreign national planning to buy a car in the Bahamas, you need to have a valid driver’s license and a passport. Once you have met these requirements, you can start looking for a car.

Procedure for Buying a New Car

If you are buying a new car in the Bahamas, the process is relatively straightforward. You can visit a car dealership and choose the model that you want to buy. The dealership will provide you with a sales contract, and you will have to pay a deposit. The deposit is usually 10% of the car’s price.

Once you have paid the deposit, the dealership will order the car from the manufacturer. The delivery time depends on the model and availability. When the car arrives, you will have to pay the remaining amount and sign the sales contract. The dealership will register the car in your name and provide you with the necessary paperwork.

Procedure for Buying a Used Car


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Buying a used car in the Bahamas requires more effort than buying a new car. You can find used cars for sale online, in newspapers, or at car dealerships. When you have found a car that you are interested in, you should arrange a meeting with the seller to inspect the car.

When inspecting a used car, you should check the car’s condition, mileage, and history. You should also take the car for a test drive to see how it handles. If you are satisfied with the car, you can make an offer to the seller.

If the seller accepts your offer, you need to sign a sales contract and pay a deposit. The deposit is usually 10% of the car’s price. You should also check if the car has any outstanding debts or fines. The seller should provide you with the necessary paperwork, including the car’s registration certificate.

When you have paid the remaining amount, the seller will transfer the car’s ownership to you, and you will receive the car’s registration certificate. You should also register the car with the Bahamas Transportation Authority and obtain car insurance.

Importing a Vehicle in the Bahamas

If you want to import a vehicle into the Bahamas, you need to follow specific procedures and regulations. The import process depends on the vehicle’s origin and age.

Importing a Vehicle from the United States

If you are importing a vehicle from the United States, the process is relatively straightforward. You need to obtain the following documents:

  • Original vehicle registration document
  • Original bill of sale or proof of ownership
  • Declaration for Free Entry of Unaccompanied Articles (Form CF3299)
  • Bill of lading or airway bill

You should also check if the vehicle meets the Bahamas technical requirements, including emissions and safety standards. You can obtain more information about the technical requirements from the Bahamas Customs Department.

When you have obtained the necessary documents, you should present them to the Bahamas Customs Department. The Customs authorities will verify the documents and check the vehicle’s condition. If the vehicle meets the technical requirements and the paperwork is in order, you can register the vehicle in the Bahamas.

Importing a Vehicle from Other Countries

If you are importing a vehicle from other countries, the process is more complex. You need to follow the following steps:

  1. Obtain a Roadworthiness Certificate: You need to obtain a roadworthiness certificate from an authorized inspection center in the country of origin. The roadworthiness certificate ensures that the vehicle is in good condition and meets the Bahamas technical requirements, including emissions and safety standards.

    1. Check the Technical Requirements: You should check if the vehicle meets the Bahamas technical requirements, including emissions and safety standards. You can obtain more information about the technical requirements from the Bahamas Customs Department.

    2. Obtain the Necessary Documents: You need to obtain the following documents:

    • Original vehicle registration document
    • Original bill of sale or proof of ownership
    • Declaration for Free Entry of Unaccompanied Articles (Form CF3299)
    • Bill of lading or airway bill
    • Roadworthiness certificate
    1. Pay the Taxes and Duties: You need to pay the following taxes and duties:
    • Value Added Tax (VAT): 7.5% of the vehicle’s value
    • Import Duty: if the vehicle’s value exceeds $10,000, which is the threshold for duty-free imports
    1. Present the Documents to the Customs Authorities: When the vehicle arrives in the Bahamas, you should present the necessary documents to the Customs authorities. The Customs authorities will verify the documents and check the vehicle’s condition. If the vehicle meets the technical requirements and the paperwork is in order, you can register the vehicle in the Bahamas.

    If you have any questions about the import process, you can contact the Bahamas Customs Department or an authorized inspection center.

    Selling a Car in the Bahamas

    If you want to sell a car in the Bahamas, you need to follow specific procedures and regulations.

    Procedure for Selling a Car

    When you want to sell a car in the Bahamas, you need to follow the following steps:

    1. Obtain a Roadworthiness Certificate: You need to obtain a roadworthiness certificate of the car. The roadworthiness certificate is valid for 6 months.

    2. Advertise the Car: You should advertise the car in newspapers, online classifieds, or at car dealerships.

    3. Negotiate the Price: When a buyer is interested in the car, you should negotiate the price and sign a sales contract.

    4. Transfer the Ownership: When you have received the payment, you should transfer the car’s ownership to the buyer. You need to provide the buyer with the car’s registration certificate and the roadworthiness certificate.

    Paperwork Required for Selling a Car

    When you sell a car in the Bahamas, you need to provide the following paperwork:

    • Sales Contract: The sales contract should include the names and addresses of the buyer and seller, the car’s details, the price, and the payment terms.
    • Registration Certificate: The registration certificate should be signed by the seller and the buyer.
    • Roadworthiness Certificate: The roadworthiness certificate should be valid and signed by an authorized inspection center.

    If you have any questions about the selling process, you can contact an authorized inspection center or the Bahamas Transportation Authority.

    Buying or importing a vehicle in the Bahamas requires following specific procedures and regulations. If you are a foreign national, you need to have a valid driver’s license and a passport before buying or importing a vehicle. If you are importing a vehicle, you need to obtain the necessary documents, pay the taxes and duties, and present the paperwork to the Customs authorities. If you are selling a car, you need to obtain a roadworthiness certificate, advertise the car, negotiate the price, transfer the ownership, and cancel the insurance and road tax. By following the procedures and regulations, you can buy or sell a car in the Bahamas without any legal issues.

    If you need more information about buying or importing a vehicle in the Bahamas, you can contact the Bahamas Customs Department, the Bahamas Transportation Authority, or an authorized inspection center. These government departments and agencies can provide you with the necessary information and guidance to ensure a smooth and legal process.


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