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  1. #1
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    Default Bonaire Residency - The process and forms explained

    Visiting Bonaire:

    Persons from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and most EU countries DO NOT need any sort of visa to visit Bonaire as long as they are staying on the island for less than 3 months out of any six month period.

    Persons from other countries should consult this website page from the Government of the Netherlands to see if you need to apply for a visa to visit Bonaire. https://www.netherlandsandyou.nl/tra...aribbean-visas

    Applying for Residency THE FIRST TIME:

    Persons from the US or Canada or from EU countries DO NOT need to apply for a provisional residence permit. You can simply apply for a “temporary regular residency permit”

    The form you need to complete and submit to the Immigration Department, is a Form MBES-3. Here is a link to the English version of the form. You will need to complete this form, and submit all of the required documents the first time you apply for residency. http://www.rijksdienstcn.com/rijksdi..._wijz_doel.pdf

    In the back of the form on Page 9, there is a list of the documents you need to present to immigration when you submit your residency application. Most people who are requesting residency here, apply for residency as “a Pensioner or person of independent means”. Depending on which category you choose, there is a list of the required documents.

    NOTE: After you receive your initial residency approval and have a sedula (ID Card) you are immediately eligible for free local health care.

    RENEWING your Residency for the second through fifth years:

    If you have a “temporary regular residency permit” you need to submit an renewal application EVERY YEAR FOR FIVE YEARS using Form MBES-4.
    Here is a link to the English version of the form. You will need to complete this form, and submit all of the required documents each time you apply to renew your residency. http://www.rijksdienstcn.com/rijksdi...eng_vv_bep.pdf

    In the back of the form on Page 8, there is a list of the documents you need to present to immigration when you submit your residency renewal application. You normally choose the same residency category to renew your residency as you had for your first application. Most people who are renewing residency here, apply for renewal as “a Pensioner or person of independent means”. Depending on which category you choose, there is a list of the required documents.

    NOTE: Be sure to submit your residency renewal BEFORE the expiration date of your initial residency period. It is the same date as the expiration date shown on your sedula. If you submit your residency renewal application ON TIME for FIVE consecutive years, then for the SIXTH year you can apply for a “permanent residence permit” as explained below.

    RENEWING your Residency for the sixth year to apply for a “permanent residence permit”:

    If you have had a “temporary regular residency permit” for FIVE full years, then you can submit an application for a “permanent residence permit” by submitting an application for “permanent residence permit” using Form MBES-5.

    Here is a link to the English version of the form. You will need to complete this form, and submit all of the required documents when you apply for ”permanent residence permit”. http://www.rijksdienstcn.com/rijksdi...g_vv_onbep.pdf

    In the back of the form on Page 4, there is a list of the documents you need to present to immigration when you submit your permanent residency renewal application. In this case you apply as a person “after a continuous period five years or longer of lawful residence” and there is a list of the required documents you need to submit for this application.

    NOTE: After you receive your “permanent residence permit” you no longer need to renew your residency every year. Then you can stay on Bonaire as long as you want. However, you will need to get a new sedula every five years.

    Applying for Overwintering:

    Persons from the US or Canada or from EU countries who want to spend more than three months on a continuous basis on Bonaire need to apply for “overwintering” status using form MBES-3. If you are only staying on Bonaire for less than three months out of any six month period

    The form you need to complete and submit to the Immigration Department, is a Form MBES-3. Here is a link to the English version of the form. You will need to complete this form, and submit all of the required documents the first time you apply for residency. http://www.rijksdienstcn.com/rijksdi..._wijz_doel.pdf

    In the back of the form on Page 9, there is a list of the documents you need to present to immigration when you submit your “overwintering” residency application.

    I hope this is helpful to everyone.
    Last edited by ModRoy; 02-20-2018 at 03:13 AM. Reason: Links Updated as they were no longer valid (Error 404)
    Bob Bartikoski
    Owner RE/MAX Paradise Homes
    +599-786-7362
    Website: www.bonairehomes.com
    EMail: bob@bonairehomes.com

  2. #2
    kob's Avatar
    kob is offline Bonaire Lover SUPPORTING MEMBER - Bonaire Talker
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    Great info, Bob. Thanks for posting !!
    KOB
    PADI CD-159014
    KOBScuba.com
    Lighthouse Beach Resort #32

  3. #3
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    Default Qualifying values for bank balance/appraisal/etc

    Hi,
    I notice that, in the "Pensioners and People of Independent Means" section on page 9, there's no mention of qualifying amounts for acceptable bank balance, acceptable gross annual income, acceptable capital, o acceptable home value for the title of ownership (at least on the version of this form as of today, which has "MBES03_EN|January 2013" on the bottom.
    From what I've read on this forum and others, earlier versions of this form may have specified amounts: I see that there was some discussion about a bank balance of $20000, for example, and a home value of either $140,000 or $250,000.
    Would you happen to know if there's somewhere on the rijksdienstcn.com where I can find the latest version of these numbers?
    Thanks.

  4. #4
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    The forms and government don't say how much is enough for "independent means", but up until now it has been about $20,000 for non Dutch people. You need to show the Immigration Department a bank statement, or other documents showing that you either have $20,000 or more in the bank, or have an income, from pensions or other income that pays you at least $20,000. They want to see that you can live here and have the assets to be self sufficient.
    Bob Bartikoski
    Owner RE/MAX Paradise Homes
    +599-786-7362
    Website: www.bonairehomes.com
    EMail: bob@bonairehomes.com

  5. #5
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    This is invaluable information. I do have some additional questions, however. If I and my wife clearly qualify for the independent means prong from a financial perspective and we are U.S. citizens without criminal records, is there any real question as to whether we will get our temporary residency permits granted? This is an important question as it seems to be required that we have a lease in place prior to filing for the residency. I would hate to enter into a contract for a full year's lease and then be denied residency.

    Also, how long does the application process take? Is an attorney required or would an attorney make the process easier? We need to be able to plan for the timing of any lease into which we might enter.

    Finally, can one enter Bonaire on a tourist visa and then convert that visa into a temporary residence visa? I want to move to Bonaire for at least one year and I believe that I have the means but I don't quite have a grip on the logistics involved. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks to any and all who can provide insight.

  6. #6
    kob's Avatar
    kob is offline Bonaire Lover SUPPORTING MEMBER - Bonaire Talker
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    We are smack in the middle of doing this right now, so here's one perspective ... did all the forms, apostilles, financial resources, good conduct letters, etc. required and our paperwork was reviewed by IND. We were told that our paperwork was fine and we would receive our temporary residency permits. Due to a screw up in scheduling our appointment at IND, we didn't actually get the permits while on island last week. IND said that just one of us could come back with both passports for the permits, which my wife will do in about 4 weeks (could have been sooner but air fares are very high in the next 2-3 weeks).

    If you get all the documents, you shouldn't have a problem. I notice that you mention getting a lease ... does that mean you are applying for the "overwintering" visa? My message above is for residency, not overwintering. For residency, I believe that you need to own a home on Bonaire, which we do, but I could be wrong.

    Good luck and be patient.
    KOB
    PADI CD-159014
    KOBScuba.com
    Lighthouse Beach Resort #32

  7. #7
    Gmichael is offline Bonaire Lover Bonaire Talker
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    www.bonairehelpdesk.com is my new site now that chat n browse has temporarily closed..you can also mail me at chatnbrowse@bonairehelpdesk.com. The law about owning a home or property s specific for someone who wants to apply for reisdency. The two exceptions are if you have a job or are a director of a company. Bonaire Hep Desk along with Agnes Joosten can do all the paper and leg work for you.. In case of a coupe who are lawyers, they can establsh an NV or BV that is a US Citizens legal consulting Company or in the case of two friens who are bike entusiasts they can open a busness reltated to biking and heath, etc. My skype is Bonairena or mail me at chatnbrowse@bonairehelpdesk.com

  8. #8
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    I like the idea of finding alternative solutions for residency for people who do not own a home on Bonaire. And having a company here can work out as the best overall tax plan (between the two countries) as long as you understand the US and Bonaire tax rules and how they work together. Please note that setting up a company to run a business on Bonaire has costs (incorporation paperwork at the notaris runs about $1500), local business permit requirements, paperwork filing requirements locally (quarterly and annual filings with the tax office) and for US citizens, US tax reporting and compliance requirements, normally a Form 5471 and the schedules that go with it. In general as long as the business is a local "real" operating business or a consulting-type service business run while the consultants live here, it's a workable solution for US tax, but you do need to understand the "controlled foreign corporation" rules.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gmichael View Post
    www.bonairehelpdesk.com is my new site now that chat n browse has temporarily closed..you can also mail me at chatnbrowse@bonairehelpdesk.com. The law about owning a home or property s specific for someone who wants to apply for reisdency. The two exceptions are if you have a job or are a director of a company. Bonaire Hep Desk along with Agnes Joosten can do all the paper and leg work for you.. In case of a coupe who are lawyers, they can establsh an NV or BV that is a US Citizens legal consulting Company or in the case of two friens who are bike entusiasts they can open a busness reltated to biking and heath, etc. My skype is Bonairena or mail me at chatnbrowse@bonairehelpdesk.com

  9. #9
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    I'm thinking there will be no benefit for us to become Bonaire residents based on current laws - please correct me if I'm wrong. My wife and I are in the process of buying a house on Bonaire. Over the next 3-4 years while our 2 HS Juniors finish HS & start college we'll be lucky to visit 3 times a year for 1-2 weeks at a time. When the kids are settled into a college routine, we plan to spend 4-6 weeks at a time, also 3 times a year - roughly 4 months of the year max. We will continue to seek primary medical care in the states. We have no intention of being employed or starting any business on Bonaire. Other than saving import duties on one container worth of pre-owned personal items, am I wrong assuming becoming residents would have little real benefit? Any feedback would be appreciated.

  10. #10
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    Chris, you're correct, in your facts there would be no benefit to becoming a resident of Bonaire.

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