Guide to Doing Business
in St. Eustatius

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, 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 all parts of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Caribbean region with a short stay visa. The allowed maximum length of a tourist stay depends on the foreign national’s country of origin. Pursuant to the WTU-BES, 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 per calendar year in total, for all countries in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom. Each continuous period of stay in any one country may not exceed 30 days. Dutch and US 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 term visa at the Netherlands embassy or consulate in the country of origin or residence prior to travelling to the BES islands. Please note that there are a number of countries that are exempted from the visa requirement as well as certain categories of foreign nationals.

Please note that when a foreign national holds a multi-entry short-stay Schengen visa the national does not need to apply for a Caribbean short-stay visa, even though the BES islands do not fall within the Schengen zone. You can find more information on the official page of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

A short term 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 Netherlands 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.