Guide to Doing Business
in Curaçao

Foreign nationals

Contrary to  Dutch citizens, foreign nationals require a (temporary) residence (and work) permit in order to legally reside (and work) in Curaçao. Under the regime of the LTU, having sufficient means of support, e.g. holding a job with a certain minimum income, is a prerequisite for receiving a residence permit. For reasons concerning the public order or the public interest, economic reasons included, as on the grounds of the applicant’s lack of sufficient means of existence, a (temporary) residence permit may be rejected.

Residence permit

The applicant of a residence/work permit must remain outside Curaçao pending the application procedure. Otherwise the application may be rejected.

When eligible for a (temporary) residence permit, a security deposit (waarborgsom) needs to be paid by the applicant, which varies depending on the country of origin. The security deposit is returned to the foreign national upon final departure from Curaçao.

The application process of a residence permit has to be handled within a reasonable term. In order to comply therewith, the authorities are under the obligation to decide within four months.

In the case of relocation outside Curaçao and/or obtaining residence outside Curaçao for more than a year due to circumstances that are within the foreign national’s control, a (temporary) residence is terminated. As then, a re-entry permit would be required.

Work permit

The National Ordinance on Labor by Foreigners (Landsverordening Arbeid Vreemdelingen, “LAV”) provides for rules with regard to the granting of permits for the employment of foreigners. A (temporary) work permit may be denied for reasons concerning protection of the local labor market.

A work permit is granted for a definite period, and can also be linked to the duration of a project. In principle, all (local and foreign) employers who wish to employ a foreign national in Curaçao must apply for a work permit. This does not apply to the following:

Persons having admission by right;

  • Foreign nationals originating from countries in respect of whom a work permit cannot be requested pursuant to international treaties or according to international law;
  • Spouses or partners who (i) are married to, or (ii) have concluded a cohabitation contract before a Dutch civil law notary with a Dutch citizen, persons having a residence permit for an indefinite period;

Persons who have a residence permit granted by the Minister of Justice without prohibition for working.

Pursuant to the LAV, an application for a (temporary) work permit must be decided upon within a period of six weeks. If the authorities fail to do so, an administrative procedure can be followed to object this indecision.

Investor’s permit

An investor’s permit may be granted to a person who has the intention to either make a business investment or acquire real estate valued at approximately US $500,000. This is a minimum investment and must be fulfilled within 18 months of receiving the permit. Along with the investor’s permit, the investor receives residency status for his or her immediate family.