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The Belonger’s Permit and Child Adoption

Posted by M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola | Aug 01, 2018 | 0 Comments

If you are planning to adopt a child born in The Bahamas who does not have citizenship here or in another country, it is time to learn more about obtaining a Bahamian Belonger's Permit for your adopted child. The Belonger's Permit gives a legal status and documentation to children who are born in The Bahamas to parents who do not have Bahamian citizenship.

Currently, automatic citizenship is granted to people who are born in The Bahamas to parents who are married if at least one parent is a Bahamian citizen. Children born in or outside The Bahamas to unmarried Bahamian women also receive automatic citizenship, as do those born outside The Bahamas to married Bahamian men who were born in The Bahamas. Children born in The Bahamas to parents who do not have Bahamian citizenship do not qualify for automatic Bahamian citizenship.

If children born to non-Bahamian citizens remain in The Bahamas, they may not be able to establish citizenship status in another country. If not, the child may face difficulties with obtaining official identification, applying for passports, travelling, and more. These challenges are addressed by the Belonger's Permit. The Permit is not the same as citizenship, but it provides children with a protected status until they are able to apply for citizenship.

Currently, Belonger's Permits to help these children are available until they reach age 18. Children must apply to the Bahamian government with the help of their parents or adoptive parents to receive permits. The Bahamian government is considering extending the Belonger's Permit age limit to allow sufficient time for children to apply for and be granted citizenship, which can take several years. Otherwise, a Permit may expire long before a child obtains citizenship.

If you are thinking about adopting a child born in The Bahamas to parents who are not Bahamian citizens, inquire whether the child already has a Belonger's Permit or has obtained citizenship here or in another country.

To learn more about child adoption in The Bahamas, visit Gonsalves-Sabola Chambers online or call the office at +1 242 326 6400.

About the Author

M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola

M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola is a civil and commercial litigation attorney and an accredited civil and commercial mediator. Margaret has over 21 years' experience in legal practice in the United Kingdom, Jamaica and The Bahamas.


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