Foreign nationals who are not eligible for admission by right must apply for a (temporary) residence and (work) permit in order to legally reside (and work) within the BES islands.
Provisional residence permit (MVV)
Most foreign nationals (for example from Africa, Middle East, Asia, South and Middle America and the Caribbean region), have to apply for a provisional residence permit (machtiging tot voorlopig verblijf, hereinafter to be referred to as: MVV) in order to be admitted for residence to the BES islands. A MVV is required before an application for a (temporary) residence permit can be filed. The period of validity of a MVV shall not exceed three months from the date of issue. An application for a MVV can be filed at the Dutch embassy or consulate in the applicant’s country of origin. When applying for a MVV, the authorities will assess whether the applicant is able to fulfill all requirements for a (temporary) residence permit. The Ministry of Justice has to decide on an application within three months after receipt of the application. This term can be extended with another three months maximum.
Please be advised that certain categories of foreign nationals do not have to apply for a MVV and may file an application for a (temporary) residence permit without having a MVV in possession.
A temporary residence permit is granted for a maximum period of five years and is subject to restrictions pertaining to the purpose of the temporary residence. A residence permit for an indefinite period is granted without any restrictions or conditions and is only granted when the applicant holds a temporary residence permit for a continuous period of five years directly preceding the date of application of a residence permit for an indefinite period. The Ministry of Justice has to decide on an application for a (temporary) residence permit within six months after receipt of the application. This term can be extended with another three months.
Under the regime of the WTU-BES, having sufficient means of support, is a prerequisite for obtaining a residence permit. A (temporary) residence permit may be rejected for reasons, which concern the public order or the public interest (economic reasons included) or on the grounds of the applicant’s lack of sufficient means to support himself.
The (temporary) residence permit stipulates whether the foreign national is allowed to perform work and whether a work permit is required pursuant to the WAV-BES (see below). Please note that a temporary residence permit may be subject to certain conditions that must be complied with.
In case of relocation outside the BES islands and/or obtaining residence outside the BES islands for more than a year the residence permit may be terminated. In case of relocation within the BES islands, the (temporary) residence is not terminated.
Finally, please note that foreign nationals subject to the visa requirements may apply for a return visa. Such visa entitles the foreign national to re-enter the BES islands after a temporary leave, pending the outcome of a request for a (temporary) residence permit. The validity of a return visa is one year and can be granted for one or more trips. An application must be submitted in person. In principle, the applicant is obligated to demonstrate that he has an urgent reason to leave the BES islands immediately. However, certain categories of foreign nationals are exempted from this obligation e.g. foreign nationals travelling for business purposes. The Minister of Justice is obligated to decide within two weeks (which period can be extended with another two weeks) to decide on the application.
Foreign nationals who wish to work on the BES islands require a work permit (tewerkstellingsvergunning), pursuant to the foreign Nationals Employment Act BES (Wet arbeid vreemdelingen BES). The contemplated employer of the foreign national will have to submit the application to obtain such permit.
 Art 2 e lid 2 WTU-BES.