Guide to Doing Business
in St. Eustatius
Foreign nationals who are not eligible for admission by law must apply for a (temporary) residence and (work) permit in order to legally reside (and work) within the BES islands.
Authorization for temporary stay (MVV)
Most foreign nationals have to apply for a MVV in order to be admitted for residence to the BES islands. Nationals from EU Member States, EEA (European Economic Area) Member State, Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Vatican City, the United States, South Korea and Switzerland are exempted.
A MVV is required before an application for a (temporary) residence permit can be filed. An application for a MVV can be filed at the Netherlands Embassy or consulate in the applicant’s country of origin of residence or on the island the applicant intends to immigrate to. 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.
After the MVV has been approved by the Minister of Justice the foreign national additionally needs to apply for a long-stay Caribbean visa at the Netherlands Embassy or consulate in the applicant’s country of origin of residence. This visa is usually processed within two weeks.
After arriving on the BES islands the foreign national must apply for a residence permit with the local immigration authorities within three (3) days.
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).
In case other restrictions than the aforementioned are attached to the (temporary) residence permit, the purpose of residence is non-temporary (niet-tijdelijk) unless indicated otherwise. 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 (temporary) residence permit may be terminated. In case of relocation within the BES islands, the (temporary) residence permit 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 obliged 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 obliged to decide within two weeks (which period can be extended with another two weeks) to decide on the application.
Most 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 future employer of the foreign national will have to submit the application to obtain such permit.