Do you need a passport to go to the Bahamas?
The Bahamas is considered international travel, and most international destinations require a passport to travel to, whether by sea or air.
However, some Caribbean countries are considered a part of the U.S. when it comes to traveling to, and don’t need a passport in order to enter or exit.
However, the Bahamas is NOT one of those countries.
So YES, you do need a passport if you want to visit the Bahamas.
Below is the official word from U.S. Passports & International Travel
Air Travel: All U.S. citizens are required to present a valid U.S. passport in order to enter The Bahamas, as well as to enter or re-enter the United States when traveling by air. U.S. citizens do not need visas for short trips to The Bahamas for tourist/business purposes, however, Bahamian regulations require that air passengers entering for tourism have a round trip ticket. Travelers should be prepared to show return/onward travel arrangements to immigration authorities if requested. Passengers arriving with one way tickets could be denied entry.
Sea Travel: U.S. citizens traveling to The Bahamas by sea on private watercraft or most commercial vessels must have a valid passport. Those traveling by sea on an officially-designated “closed-loop cruise”, meaning that the port of entry is the same port as the port of re-entry upon return to the U.S., may enter using a passport, passport card, or other Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) compliant document, however, we strongly recommend visitors obtain a passport before travel in case of an unforeseen emergency that requires a cruise passenger to disembark and return by air. (Please verify with your cruise line if your intended cruise is designated a closed-loop cruise.) Travelers arriving via private watercraft are charged docking fees.
We strongly encourage all U.S. citizens to apply for a passport book or passport card well in advance of anticipated travel. You can call 1-877-4USA-PPT (1-877-487-2778) for information on how to apply for passports. If you are planning on an extended stay, be prepared to present evidence of financial solvency upon entry to The Bahamas. Contact the Embassy of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas for the most current visa information.
Embassy of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas
2220 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008
So to summarize the above information presented by Passport U.S., you need a passport to travel to the Bahamas when traveling by air. You MAY enter the Bahamas without a passport under certain circumstanced when traveling by sea, but it’s recommended that you obtain and bring a passport with you. The example they gave is if something were to happen and you needed to dock in the Bahamas, you may need to return to the U.S. on your own and will obviously need a passport to do this.
What about minors? Do minors need a passport to go to the Bahamas?
Again, below is from the U.S. Passport & International Travel website:
Minors traveling unaccompanied or accompanied by a guardian or chaperone: What is required to enter The Bahamas may vary greatly from what is required to re-enter the country of origin. In general, a child under 16 years of age may travel into the Bahamas merely with proof of citizenship. Proof of citizenship can be a raised seal birth certificate and preferably a government issued photo ID if on a closed loop cruise or a U.S. passport if entering by air or private vessel.
The Bahamas requires compliance with regulations to divert child abduction. Any child traveling without one of the parents listed upon the birth certificate must have a letter from the absent parent granting permission for the child to travel. This should be sworn before a notary public and signed by the absent parent(s). If the parent is deceased, a certified death certificate may be necessary.
It is advisable to have the minor carry a written notarized consent letter from both parents (if both are listed on the child’s certificate of birth) before sending your child to travel as a minor with a guardian or chaperone.
Also, I want to note that you don’t need a VISA to enter the Bahamas.