LettersOpinion

A plea from Ukrainians in The Bahamas

Dear people of The Bahamas,

This is a plea letter from the Ukrainian people who legally and lawfully reside in The Bahamas.

As you all know, the current situation, and what is happening right now in Ukraine, is dire — the aggression, shootings, explosions, mass killings that have continued for weeks now on the territory of Ukraine.

People are trying to escape for their lives from their country.

There are a few Ukrainians who lawfully and legally reside in The Bahamas.

Some of them still have their closest relatives – parents, brothers/sisters – who are stuck in the Ukraine.

These people would like to help their closest relatives and give them a shelter in their homes for a short period of time, just until the situation would become more manageable — until the bombing and shootings have stopped.

However, practically, it is very difficult, almost impossible, due to the visa process for the Ukrainians who would like to visit The Bahamas.

Currently, any Ukrainian visitor who would like to enter the country is required to apply online and undergo the following process:

1. Complete an application form

2. Submit the completed Bahamian visa application form along with all supporting documentation

3. Appear in person at the nearest Bahamas consulate or embassy

4. Bahamian citizens who wish to sponsor a foreigner to visit with them in The Bahamas must apply for a Bahamian visa in person at the Bahamas Consular Division, Nassau, The Bahamas

Visa application form and its supporting documents are as follows:

• Valid passport — All visa applicants must be in possession of a valid passport, with more than six months remaining, and a return ticket.

• Two passport photos on white background

• A job letter/business license

• An original bank reference letter/statement

• Police report

• Flight itinerary/ticket copy

• Copy of conference/invitation letter

• Copies of previously held visas

• Copy of children’s birth certificate to prove parental relations

• Copy of a valid work permit (for companies applying for a foreigner to take up employment in The Bahamas)

• All foreign marriage, birth, and death certificates submitted in support of a visa application must be legalized/apostilled in the country of origin before submission.

Best case scenario is a two-week wait on approval.

As you can see, it is quite a lengthy process and, considering the current situation, impossible to even obtain all required documents.

In comparison, the citizens of the neighboring countries with Ukraine can enter The Bahamas without any specific or visitor’s visa and stay in The Bahamas up to 90 days.

Please hear our urgent cries.

We, the Ukrainian people, who legally and lawfully reside in The Bahamas, plead to The Bahamian people and to the government of The Bahamas to please consider allowing us to provide refuge for our families until these mass killings have ended.

With immense hope,

The Ukrainian people

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