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Know the Law Before Going!
Currently, ALL visitors, including US Tourists, must have a passport. No visa is necessary, that form can be filled out when you arrive at the airport, or on the airplane. You MUST have a place to stay; the Bahamas does not want vagrants sleeping on the beach. So, even if you do not know where you are going to stay, for sure, have a name of a hotel where you might be staying. You cannot simply say, "I don't know". You might be required to make a reservation at a hotel, in front of the agent.
What You Can Bring into The Bahamas
Bahamian Customs allow you to bring in 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, or 1 pound of tobacco, plus 1 quart of spirits (hard liquor). You can also bring in items classified as "personal effects," and all the money you wish.
What You Can Take Home from The Bahamas
-- Visitors leaving Nassau or Freeport/Lucaya for most U.S. destinations clear U.S. Customs and Immigration before departing The Bahamas. Charter companies can make special arrangements with the Nassau or Freeport flight services and U.S. Customs and Immigration for preclearance. No further formalities are required upon arrival in the United States once the preclearance has taken place in Nassau or Freeport. Collect receipts for all the purchases you make in The Bahamas. Note: If a merchant suggests giving you a false receipt, misstating the value of the goods, beware -- the merchant might be an informer to U.S. Customs. You must also declare all gifts received during your stay abroad.
If you purchased an item during an earlier trip abroad, carry proof that you have already paid customs duty on the item at the time of your previous reentry. To be extra careful, compile a list of expensive carry-on items and ask a U.S. Customs agent to stamp your list at the airport before your departure. Returning U.S. citizens who have been away for 48 hours or more are allowed to bring back, once every 30 days, $800 worth of merchandise duty-free. You'll be charged a flat rate of 10% duty on the next $1,000 worth of purchases. Be sure to have your receipts handy. On gifts, the duty-free limit is $100.
You cannot bring fresh foodstuffs into the United States; canned or packaged foods, however, are allowed, and you can bring back 1 liter of alcohol. For specifics on what you can bring back, download the invaluable free pamphlet Know Before You Go online at www.cbp.gov. (Click on "Travel" then "Know Before You Go Online Brochure.") Or contact the U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20229 (tel. 877/28...) and request the pamphlet.
For a clear summary of Canadian rules, write for the booklet I Declare, issued by the Canada Border Services (tel. 80... in Canada, or 204/983-3500 ; www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca). Canada allows its citizens a C$750 exemption, and you're allowed to bring back duty-free 1 carton of cigarettes, 1 can of tobacco, 40 imperial ounces of liquor, and 50 cigars. In addition, you're allowed to mail gifts to Canada valued at less than C$60 a day, provided they're unsolicited and don't contain alcohol or tobacco (write on the package "Unsolicited gift, under $60 value"). All valuables should be declared on the Y-38 form before departure from Canada, including serial numbers of valuables you already own, such as expensive foreign cameras. Note: The C$750 exemption can only be used once a year and only after an absence of 7 days.
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