Guide to Doing Business
in Bonaire

Tourists & visas

A ‘tourist’ is defined as any person who resides within the BES islands for a maximum period of three months for purposes of relaxation, sport,[1]health reasons, family matters, family visit, study, religious purposes or business visits and does not perform work for remuneration during his or her stay. Based on policy of the government, it is possible for foreign nationals who require a visa to visit any parts of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Caribbean region with a short-stay Caribbean visa.[2] The allowed maximum length of a tourist stay depends on the foreign national’s country of origin.

In principle, all tourists may reside within the BES islands without having a temporary residence permit (the so-called free period, vrije termijn), for a maximum period of three months within a period of six months[3].[4] You may stay in Aruba, Curaçao or St. Maarten for up to 30 consecutive days. You may stay in Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius for up to 90 consecutive days.[5] Dutch citizens may reside within the BES Islands for a period of six months per year without having to apply for admission or applying for a visa.


Please note that, in principle, most tourists are under the obligation to apply for a short-stay visa at the Dutch embassy or consulate in the country of origin prior to travelling to the BES islands. How and where you can apply for a short-stay visa depends on your nationality. The following link can be helpful You can apply for a Short-Stay Caribbean Visa here: Please note that there a number of countries that are exempted from the visa requirement as well as certain categories of foreign nationals.

A short-stay visa cannot be used to obtain a (temporary) residence permit in order to be able to stay longer within the BES islands. In order to obtain a (temporary) residence permit, the foreign national must first return to the country of origin (or country of continuous residence) and apply at the Dutch embassy or consulate for a MVV. Please note that upon return, foreign nationals may not re-apply for another short stay-visa for a consecutive period. Should a longer stay be required, the foreign national can apply for a MVV.



[1] Art. 1.1 Besluit toelating en uitzetting BES


[3] EK Bijlage, p. 22. 6 maanden of beter gezegd 180 dagen zie:,is%20a%20multiple%2Dentry%20visa.

[4] In de WTU-BES wordt de term “vrije termijn” niet gebruikt.