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Thread: Important change in residency and visitation policies - US Passport holders ONLY

  1. #1
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    Default Important change in residency and visitation policies - US Passport holders ONLY

    Good News for American Passport Holders!

    We have just received some exciting news from the Immigration Office concerning visitation and residency for American Passport Holders: The Immigration Office of the RCN has informed us that USA passport holders willnow be afforded the same visitation and residency right as Dutch passportholders who are NOT originally from the Antilles.

    NOTE: This has been confirmed to me verbally by employees of the Immigration Office, but I have not yet seen written confirmation of these changes.


    Visitors: American Passport holders will now be allowed to visit Bonaire for up to six months in any 12 month period. The old visitation rule limitingstays to 3 months out of six months no longer applies. PLEASE CHECK WITH YOUR AIRLINE TO VERIFY THEY ARE AWARE OF THIS RECENT POLICY CHANGE.

    Prospective Residents:
    American Passport holders will now be allowed to apply immediately for “resident” status “by rule of law” which will allow them to apply one time for a Bonaire Residency permit that will remain valid for five years. This new policyapplies to both “first-time” applicants for residency AND for those who are in the process of renewing their residency permits.

    NOTE: These new rules have just been released and the Immigration Department is still in the process of implementing these new rules and posting the updated information on their website, so please be patient.

    If you arean American Passport holder you can now start your application for a “five year”permit using this application form available on the website of the RCN:
    http://www.rijksdienstcn.com/rijksdienstcn.com/up1/ZyahqpxIS_MBES08_EN_aanvraag_verklaring_rechtswege.pdf
    Bob Bartikoski
    Owner RE/MAX Paradise Homes
    +599-786-7362
    Website: www.bonairehomes.com
    EMail: bob@bonairehomes.com

  2. #2
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    Thanks for this update, Bob. Very welcome news that the stay limit has been adjusted, subject to confirmation. Do you take this to mean that new applicants for residency with US passports no longer need to (re-)apply for residency every year for first 5-6 years as we understand the case to have been previously?

    We had heard something similar from a restaurant owner last week. Had been hoping that the 6 month max per year would also be lifted, provided one left the country and re-entered after 3 or 6 months. Do you or your contacts at Immigration think there is any chance of that being changed, too?

  3. #3
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    Sevet -

    As a US passport holder you apply for residency ONCE and if your application is approved you get a residency card (sedula) that's good for FIVE years. Under the current system, once you get your sedula for FIVE years, all you need to do when that sedula expires is to go to Bevolking and get a new sedula. You DO NOT need to submit another application EVER (assuming you don't get arrested or something like that). This is what the local expats call "permanent residency". I would expect it to be the same under the new system but I don't know.

    I believe this change has been made as the result of a court case where it was argued that US passport holders in the Netherlands Antilles, and subsequently the BES islands are considered to be in "the Netherlands" for as are therefore covered by the provisions of the "Dutch-American Friendship Treaty" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DAFT_(treaty), which provides for preferential treatment of US Citizens for some residency and business purposes.

    Again, some of this is an educated guess on my part, and it is all subject to further verification.
    Bob Bartikoski
    Owner RE/MAX Paradise Homes
    +599-786-7362
    Website: www.bonairehomes.com
    EMail: bob@bonairehomes.com

  4. #4
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    Great info. Thanks again! For those having trouble with the original DAFT Wiki link, try this version: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DAFT_(treaty)

  5. #5
    kob's Avatar
    kob is offline Bonaire Lover SUPPORTING MEMBER - Bonaire Talker
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    I can confirm what Bob posted above ... was at IND yesterday for my first 1-year renewal and was told that I could apply for the 5-year residency immediately as a result of the new law. I did not (for lack of time before my current sedula expires), but got the forms and will do so next year !!
    KOB
    PADI CD-159014
    KOBScuba.com
    Lighthouse Beach Resort #32

  6. #6
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    Can anyone confirm what the "required documents" are? I am concerned about the ... "legalised certificate of good conduct, for the last 5 years, issued by the competent authority where you have lived for the last 5 years (not older than 3 months);" For anyone who presently has a temporary residency is it sufficient to get a certificate of good conduct at the Governors Office just like when renewing the temporary residency each year. I ask because of the timing to get the certificate of good conduct and having it not be older than 3 months when applying for certificate of admission by operation of law. Also if somehow it gets screwed up and you have to go back to the old rules the five year unbroken temporary residency might be violated.

  7. #7
    kob's Avatar
    kob is offline Bonaire Lover SUPPORTING MEMBER - Bonaire Talker
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    I was told that the documents that I brought to IND for my 1-year renewal were sufficient for the new 5-year renewal ... in fact, she asked me on the spot if I wanted to do the 5-year renewal instead of the 1-year renewal. I declined only because I am going off island in mid-April and my current sedula expires at the end of April, so I did not want to take a chance on missing the end of April date. I will certainly do the 5-year renewal next year.

    The documents were the good conduct letters from the Governor's Office, the documentation of residency from the Civil Office, copy of our deed to our home, copy of our passports & financial statement. Also bring your passport so they can put the new visa sticker in it.
    KOB
    PADI CD-159014
    KOBScuba.com
    Lighthouse Beach Resort #32

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    Sunshine is offline Bonaire Lover Bonaire Talker
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    Is there still a requirement under the new process that you purchase a house, or is a lease sufficient? If US passport holders are to be treated as Dutch passport holders currently are treated, and can apply for immediate residency, are Dutch passport holders currently required to own a home on Bonaire or can they simply lease a home and apply for residency? Thank you, Bob, for posting this helpful info! Also, if you are still required to own a home, is there a minimum value? I see different amounts on different threads.

  9. #9
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    kob is offline Bonaire Lover SUPPORTING MEMBER - Bonaire Talker
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    On the list of required documents in the new application, it lists "proof of accommodation in the public bodies". That would appear to confirm that a long-term lease (at least 1 year?) is acceptable and that you don;t need to own a home. I would confirm that with IND.
    KOB
    PADI CD-159014
    KOBScuba.com
    Lighthouse Beach Resort #32

  10. #10
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    Sevet

    As a visitor to Bonaire you are now able to stay up to 6 months out of any 12 month period. If you want to stay MORE than six months a year you will need to apply for residency. This will not change, and is the standard procedure in most countries throughout the world.

    If you only stay six months a year, or less, you are considered a visitor/tourist who doesn't use the local infrastructure much and so you are usually not subject to local income taxes, etc.

    If you stay six months and one day, or more, most countries consider you a "resident" and then you need to request resident status. Once you are granted resident status, the local government assumes you ARE using the local infrastructure and services, and as a result you are subject to local income taxes and so on.

    In the case of Bonaire some of the benefits from being a resident are significant, such free health care, and lower property taxes, the downside is that you now have to pay local income taxes.

    There's no "free lunch".
    Bob Bartikoski
    Owner RE/MAX Paradise Homes
    +599-786-7362
    Website: www.bonairehomes.com
    EMail: bob@bonairehomes.com

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