1. How do I get residency?
Residency in Sint Maarten
*There are a several possible ways to live on Sint Maarten long-term:
- Leave every 90 days, take a quick 20 minute ferry over to Anguilla (or go to any country), stamp your passport and return. Many people do this, it is a nice afternoon and not that expensive. You can not work here however under this method. (US Citizens is 6 months).
- Set up an NV (limited Company) become one of the 2 allowed directors and operate a business under that NV. You can work and live long-term. After 5 years, you would gain permanent residency under this structure.
- Buy a property valued at no less than $275,000USD and become what is called a “resident as ‘pensionado’. You can NOT work on St. Maarten as a ‘pensionado’.
- Work for someone with an NV who has proven to the local agencies they could not find anyone with your skill set locally for the job. This is common for professionals. The NV would have to run an ad for aset period of time (maybe 3 months?) show that no applicants with your abilities/skill set could be found.
- Marry a Dutch citizen of Sint Maarten. Lots of paperwork, but if all is in order and meet guidelines, usually not a problem.
- Invest. Applicants must prove they have a clean criminal record, marriage certificate (if relevant), school registration letters for children, bank reference from two international banks from current residence (not older than three months) providing full proof of the required investment, and a bank statement from a bank in Sint Maarten in which the applicant declares ‘that the applicant has the intention to make a business investment and/or acquire real estate in Sint Maarten with a total value of NAF 900,000 (USD 500,000)’. This intention needs to be fulfilled within 18 months.
- Dutch citizenship available after five years of uninterrupted residence in Sint Maarten, pending passing a citizenship test. On 1 October 2007 the Netherlands Antilles Naturalization Regulation came into effect, after which Regulation No 5678825/10 of the Minister of Justice of the Netherlands of 15 December 2010, adapting of the Naturalization Test Regulations to Sint Maarten, was adopted.Dual citizenship is tolerated.
*Always check with immigration for clarification, this is not to be taken as legal advice, rules can change here yearly with the government. Talk to Immigration office for validations.
Here is a link for forms and proper procedure. This site takes precedent over our comments.
2. Can I work in Sint Maarten?
Generally yes, but you will need to apply for it and you will need to pass qualifiers. You will need to fill out an employment permit application. Here is the link for all the information you need:
3. Are there taxes on Sint Maarten?
Yes, although less than most countries. No sales tax to consumers. The Dutch government does not collect the property tax. There is personal income tax that is scaled based on income. There is also what is called an annual profit tax for business. Business must pay tax on declared profit. It is scaled with a high end of approx 39%. There is also a 5% turn-over tax on all goods and services sold that business pay monthly on their gross sales.
4. How long can I stay on Sint Maarten without a resident permit?
It depends on your nationality. Here is a link to a site that is fairly accurate:
5. What are the closing costs and fees for purchasing in Sint Maarten?
There are 2 types of purchases on the Dutch side.
1. Buying an NV (Ltd company). Closing fees total around 1% as you are buying shares, so it is the cost of the lawyer handling the contracts and agreements
2. Buying in your personal name. Approx. 5.5% (up to 6%). That includes the Notarial fees for transfer of deed and land transfer tax
On the French side, you should budget 11% plus Realestate commission in most cases, so a potential total of 20% on top of the purchase price. On the Dutch side, seller pays the Realestate commission.
6. Is there a border crossing between the Dutch and French sides of the island?
No. Just a nice flag and maybe a sign. Enjoy the diversity at will!
7. Can anyone buy property or business on Sint Maarten?
Yes! We love new investment. The filtering comes when you apply to set up an NV (company) and bank accounts. They will do police background checks. So as long as you fulfill those requirements properly, it should be fine.
8. What language do they speak on Sint Maarten?
Dutch is the official language and on the French side French is the official language on the French side. Although almost everyone on the island speaks English. Spanish is common as well as a couple of unique local dialects.
9. What currency is used?
The Dutch official currency is Guilders (NAF) and on the French side it is the Euro, however all businesses take USD and it is the preferred currency for trade. The exchange rate for Guilder is set at 1.81. The Euro exchange is market rates, however a lot of French businesses take the Euro at par with the US dollar.
10. What is the correct spelling of St/Sint Martin/Maarten/Marteen?
The Dutch side is Sint Maarten, the French side is Saint Martin. The island is commonly referred to as SXM (Airport letters).
11. Is it safe on Sint Maarten?
Is it safe anywhere these days? But in a word, yes. My wife and I feel safe and have never had an incident of theft or violence of any kind and we are out and about every single day. The key is common sense. We avoid certain areas late at night, we do not flash things that an opportunist may want to take from us, we take care of where we park and what we leave in plain site in the car - all the same practices we had in Canada. Oyster.com ranks Sint Maarten the 7th safest place in the Caribbean. Tourism is vital to the island and the police and government are well aware of what it takes to keep this island safe for our residents and tourists.
12. Should be ship our Furniture and Vehicles to Sint Maarten?
Shipping from Miami FL is the most common with the cost of a normal vehicle landed around $2000US. Containers can be shipped from anywhere in the world to arrive at SXM port however that can be expensive. Keep in mind most properties come fully furnished so you do not need to add the expense of shipping yours. Also, you can buy almost anything here on the island. New and use automobiles, appliances, furniture and household goods. When deciding what to bring, factor in that shipping cost and the used value of what you are shipping. We sold everything in Canada and came with a few precious personal items. The rest we bought on island. It is also great for the local economy.