The Bahamas Customs & Excise Department has launched its electronic submission portal for cruising permit applications on the Click2Clear platform. Visitors traveling by boat can now complete and submit declaration forms and make a cashless payment in advance of arrival. “This is all a part of our digital transformation agenda. It addresses a long-standing pain point for boaters who have been clamoring for a fully digital process. It also minimizes the opportunity for revenue leakage,” says Minister of State for Finance Kwasi Thompson. While we love living on island time, the new Cruising Permit module is expected to dramatically improve the processing time for boaters when clearing customs at the various ports of entry across the archipelago.
“We’ve been sitting here at Spanish Cay since Thursday. Flat crossing, but windy now as you know,” says Capt. Dean Adler of the 72’ ACY Don Teo. “I tried the new Click2Clear platform prior to our departure. For the most part it worked as expected. After subjecting myself to the process here are my thoughts. It is best in my opinion to upload everyone’s passport info/photo page, vessel documents and proof of negative Covid tests to a folder on your computer prior to attempting this whole process. You will be asked to upload the files with .jpg or .pdf format during the process,” Adler says.
Once you fill in the six or so category sections the last Summary tab displays two blue buttons at the bottom of the page. “Verify” which you do first. This confirms or notifies if you are missing any info. Then you can click the Submit button.
“At this point a new tab to the right of Summary will appear. Giving you the status of pending, approval or rejected. If approved congratulations. Now go back to the panel on the left side and find the Payment module. Upon clicking you will be directed to another website to submit your credit card info. Once you pay and print the receipt you still need to stumble through and discover the buttons to print your cruising permit and fishing license. The fishing license print button is located on the bottom of the header page tab section. The cruising permit print button is somewhat hidden in a small drop-down window on the top right of the Summary page. Finding this takes some searching. As you complete the steps you will receive an email letting you know the status of the application.”
With cruising permit, fishing license and payment receipt printed you are about halfway there. “Next, you will next need to fill out the online health certificate. This is a little more straightforward. If you are doing this for your entire crew, then you will have to create a separate username/email and password for each individual. Each input requires some wait time until you can proceed to the next step. Upon completion you will be directed to a different web page to submit a $60 payment per person,” Adler says.
“After navigating the digital submission process, there’s still one head scratcher – you still have to fill out immigration cards for each person onboard and bring those as well or fill them out upon arrival. When you arrive bring all these papers to the Customs office along with everyone’s passports. You will then get all of your papers stamped and will be on your way.”
To access the new Click2Clear portal and also view quick tip video tutorials, point your browser to bahamascustoms.gov.bs.