View Full Version : Starting the process

10-07-2013, 07:57 AM
It's finally time ... Sue & I are starting the process to become residents & move to Bonaire. For those here who are interested in how the process takes place, I will try to post what happens & when.

Thanks to help from Michael Gaynor, our first step was to meet with Agnes Joosten, who outlined the residency process & documentation required. Agnes assists folks in becoming Bonaire residents. So, right now, we are working on accumulating the necessary documents (birth certificates, marriage certificate, etc.). Some of these documents will need to be apostilled, which is performed by the Secretary of State of Ohio office. Apostille is a process of validating official signatures on the related documents. Here is a link to what the State of Ohio has to say about apostille ...

Sty tuned for more as we go thru the residency process.

10-07-2013, 08:22 AM
Just for fun, I looked up the Virginia (my residence) regs on apostilles, which I had never heard of before.
It seems all the documents must be apostilled in the state in which they were issued, so at the very least I'd have to go through Ohio, Conn, California, just for birth and marriage certificates.
I look forward to visiting you in Bonaire, but am glad I'm not moving there! Sort of.

10-07-2013, 11:33 AM
Mel -- it was good seeing you on BON a couple weeks ago. As near as I can tell from the Secretary of State of Ohio website, there is no restriction on source of documents that they can apostille. If they only can apostille documents that originated in Ohio, all I will have is the marriage license ... Sue was born in Br. Columbia & I was born in NY. We'll see ... that's why I am starting early. Ideally we will have all the documents ready to submit (which has to be done in person on Bonaire) no later than end of February.

petri hausmann
10-08-2013, 10:09 AM
don't want to rain on your parade ..but the apostile has to come from the state where you where born, married,/divorced, a statement of marital status .. etc. I would have had a 4 state chase but I am widowed and the death certificate issued by the department of state for a USA citizen death overseas was accepted .. it is a long paper chase .. crank up your patience ..

10-08-2013, 11:56 AM
Thanks, Petri. Yeah, we figured that out ... so we now have requests in to New York for my birth certificate, British Columbia for Sue's birth certificate and, fortunately, we were married in Ohio where we now live. Once we have those documents, we'll turn around and send them back to those states for the apostilles.

I am also friends with a local police chief (taught him to be a PADI instructor), so will be easy to get the "good conduct" letters for me & Sue (at least for Sue :p), which then can be apostilled in our current state.

C'est la vie !!

10-08-2013, 11:16 PM
Regarding your good conduct letters on Bonaire, the local police chief is not in charge of that and it is separate form your local good conduct letter. It takes about 6 weeks to get them and then you have to apply on certain days and pick up on certain days. the good conduct letter is not a one day event.

10-08-2013, 11:18 PM
HI there,
I am a military brat and therefore was born in Europe, I had to go to the state department to get my Apostilles, so hopefully it will be easier for you.

10-09-2013, 07:30 AM
Dee -- thanks for the comments. I have researched the apostilles and, according to the US Dept. of State website, they will only apostille Federal documents. They tell you that you have to go to the state for apostilles of state-issued documents (e.g. birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc.)

Not sure I understand your comment on the good conduct letter. My understanding is that we need one from our local (current) place of residence, not Bonaire. We were told to get the letters from our local cop shop and then have them apostilled. Did I miss something?

petri hausmann
10-09-2013, 07:54 AM
I believe Dee is referring to the yearly cedula renewal here on Boaire .. which once you have recieved your cedula you must renew it every year - without a lapse for 5 years- then you get a 5 year cedula... that is a another whole story...the police report is applied for at the government house .. ..don't worry .. you have 5 years before this paper chase --- just keep smiling and enjoy the process.... then when you are here for a long as I have been i renew my cedula in a few minutes in one stop !!!!

10-09-2013, 08:47 AM
Thanks for the insights, Petri !! Now Dee's comment is perfectly understandable ... appreciate the clarification. :D

10-09-2013, 09:11 AM
Kevin - All of the things you need to have apostile'd for Bonaire will be STATE issued, such as birth certificate, marriage certificate, etc., and as such, the apostile is provided by the secretary of states office for the state which issues the document. I think the process varies slightly from state to state, so start with the Secretary of State's office for each state. I don't know how it is done in Canada, but I would guess the process is similar. The FIRST certificate of good conduct that you get BEFORE you apply for residency for the first time is one you get from the local PD where you live. As far as I know this doesn't need to be apostiled, it does need to be on official letterhead of your local Police Department. I think it is a good idea to pay someone to help you do it the first time, and after that you should be able to do it yourself. Good luck.

10-09-2013, 11:44 AM
Bob -- thanks for your input !! All of what you said is exactly the way I have found it to be so far. You are also correct ... Canada is similar to the US regarding the apostilles. Sue will need to get her birth certificate apostilled in Br. Columbia, the province where she was born.

We are working with Agnes Joosten (recommended by Michael Gaynor, you probably know her). She gave us a list of required documents, includign which had to be apostilled. As near as I can tell, we need the birth certificates, marriage certificate and good conduct letters apostilled, along with copies of our passports & current health insurance, as well as a statement of our bank account/savings and a copy of our Bonaire deed. She also recommended a good health letter from our doctors.

So, we've requested certified copies of our birth certificates from NY and BC, which we'll have to turn around & get apostilled when we receive them. We were married in Ohio and have certified copies of our marriage license, which we will get apostilled in OH. The other stuff seems to be pretty straightforward. My friend the local police chief will issue letters of good conduct and, for good measure, we'll have them apostilled as well (according to Agnes, this needs to be within 3 months of residency application, the others can be within 6 months).

Anything we seemed to have missed ?? Thanks again !!

10-11-2013, 10:28 AM
For anyone interested, I inquired about opening a bank account as a non-resident ... turns out, the process is pretty straightforward. MCB informed me that we only need to ...
1. Provide a reason why (buying a home, business, own a home, etc.)
2. Provide "good customer" letters from 2 US banks
3. Provide copies of our passports for ID

Opening the account must be done in person, so we'll take care of that next trip. While I don't know for sure, I assume the other banks are similar to MCB.

Now ya know !!

10-11-2013, 05:51 PM
Looks like you are in good shape except for fuel to cook with....and heat your water....hmmm.....

10-13-2013, 11:13 AM
Very interesting topic, as we are still considering moving to Bonaire in the near future. Noted the topic of apostille and looked it up on wiki. As Canadians, I found out the approach is different for us. It turns out Canada didn't sign onto the convention. Here is a cut and paste from wiki:

"States that have not signed the Convention must specify how foreign legal documents can be certified for its use. Two countries may have a special convention on the recognition of each other's public documents, but in practice this is infrequent. Otherwise, the document must be certified by the foreign ministry of the country where the document originated and then by the foreign ministry of the government where the document will be used; one of the certifications will often be performed at an embassy or consulate. In practice this means the document must be certified twice before it can have legal effect in the receiving country. For example, as a non-signatory, Canadian documents for use abroad must be certified by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa or by a Canadian consular official abroad and subsequently by the relevant government office or consulate of the receiving state."

and from ApostilleInfo.com

"Apostille in Canada

Canada didn't sign Hague convention. Instead Canada requires and is required to provide a Certificate of Authentication or Form 10 - International Certificate of Identity which is almost similar like apostille. It is this Certificate of Authentication issued by Canadian authorities which is same as apostille. It should cost CAD 12 per certificate."

Look forward to hearing more about the process. Thanks for the information to date

10-13-2013, 12:29 PM
Funny, Mel ... but who knows? I am hoping the situation is cleared up by mid-2014 !!

10-13-2013, 12:34 PM
Thanks for the message, am. I am aware that Canada's process is not the formal apostille process, but something similar. I will keep everyone informed on what, if any, differences in timing, difficulties, etc. we encounter as we work our way through the process.

10-28-2013, 04:28 PM
OK, so we now have certified copy of KOB birth certificate from State of New York, certified copy of Sue birth certificate from Province of British Columbia and certified copy of marriage license from State of Ohio.

Scanning copies of all in case anything gets lost, then it's off to the Post Office to send them off to State of NY for apostille of KOB birth certificate, Province of BC to authenticate Sue birth certificate and State of OH to apostille our marriage license.

Have to provide return envelopes/postage plus the apostille/authentication fees along with the documents. The fees are pretty reasonable $2 - $5 per document for apostilles and $30 for the BC authentication.

Stay tuned for the next episode of "As the Bureaucracy Turns" ;)

10-28-2013, 05:23 PM
Clearly, Bonaire's non-EU immigrants are all going to be detail-oriented, tenacious people.:)

10-29-2013, 08:37 AM
It must be an instructor thing, Mel :D:D

11-28-2013, 11:21 AM
Well, first hurdles cleared ... have received the apostilled KOB birth certificate from state of NY, authenticated Sue birth certificate from province of BC and apostilled marriage license from state of Ohio. Planned a month for the entire process of getting certified copies of all the documents then getting them apostilled/authenticated and it took most of that. They have to be apostilled within 6 months of submitting, so we're well within the timeframe for submitting in March.

Next step is getting "good health" letters from KOB's doctor & Sue's doctor, as well as apostilled letters of "good conduct" for each of us from our local police dept. The "good conduct" letters have to be apostilled within 3 months of submitting, so will do that in January.

So far, so good. Happy Thanksgiving to all !!

01-21-2014, 09:26 AM
Another step closer ... got the "Good Conduct" letter from our local police chief and sent them off to Ohio Secretary of State in Columbus, OH for apostille. Submitting them when we return to Bonaire in March, so now within the 3 month apostille requirement.

Sue's "good health" letter from her doctor is in hand and my physical is coming up, so should have the "good health" documentation buttoned up within the next couple weeks. Got the financial info from Fidelity, so that is ready to go as well, along with all other documents mentioned previously, copies of our passports and the deed to our home on Bonaire.

It looks like everything is coming together. Next step ... submitting all to IND on Bonaire and making sure they agree that we've done everything required.

01-28-2014, 12:50 PM
Well, learned something new yesterday ... had sent the "good conduct" letter off to Ohio Secretary of State to be apostilled. Came back yesterday not apostilled, with a cover letter stating that it had to be notarized first. OK, not a big deal.

However, didn't know that Ohio had two different types of Notaries ... if you use a regular Notary Public, you then have to take the notarized document to your county Clerk of Courts to have the notary's signature verified before you can have it apostilled ... if you use an "Attorney Notary" (something I had never heard of), you can skip the county Clerk of Courts step, because the signature of the Attorney Notary is registered with the Secretary of State.

Ya learn something every day.

02-26-2014, 07:41 AM
We are really gtting excited now ... about 10 days from flying back to BON. All our paperwork is finally in hand ...
Apostilled copies of our certified birth certificates
Apostilled copy of our certified marriage certificate
Apostilled copy of notarized good conduct letter from local police
Copies of good health letters from our doctors
Copy of deed to our Bonaire home
Copy of financial stattements showing we have necessary funds
Copies of our passports
Copy of health insurance card

Whew !! But worth it, I think. This winter in NE Ohio has been BRUTAL ... coldest since 1976-1977 winter.

03-19-2014, 06:47 AM
Well, as Murphy's Law states, if something can go wrong, it will ... long story short, all our paperwork was reviewed by IND and is fine. Due to a screw up in scheduling our appointment with IND, we didn't actually get our temporary permits while we were on island last week, but were told by IND that we would indeed receive them and that just one of us could come back with both passports to get the temporary residency permits. So, my wife Sue gets another trip to Bonaire in about 4 weeks to take our passports to IND office for the permits. Could have been as early as next week, but the air fares are really high for the next 2-3 weeks.

So, message to anyone following this thread is ... be patient, be thorough and never assume anything will go exactly as planned. But we're pretty excited knowing that we'll soon have the temporary residency permits and, as of last night, our home in the US is listed for sale :D Anyone want a nice home in NE Ohio ??

04-28-2014, 04:20 PM
First major milestone achieved ... this morning Sue had an appointment at IND and got our residency stamps in our passports. She's doing a happy dance for both of us !!

04-29-2014, 09:44 AM
Congratulations Kevin and Sue!!!!!

By the way I think I hate both of you, any chance you are looking to adopt, I am mostly house trained.

04-29-2014, 10:50 AM
Thanks, Cecil !! MOSTLY house trained ?? :eek:
Copy of the residency stamps in our passports 12028

05-08-2014, 08:10 AM
We took Bob Bartikowski's advice and contracted with Meyer Moving on Bonaire for our upcoming move ... not cheap (about $12K) for a 40ft container (shipping household stuff plus Honda Accord) but there is only one company responsible for the entire move ... from packing & loading at our home in NE Ohio, transport to warehouse, loading into container, transport to port, loading onto container vessel, transport to Curacao, transfer to smaller ship, unload in Kralendijk, clear Customs, transport to our home on BON, unload into our home. A reasonable price, I think, all things considered. Our one way tics to BON are on July 26 !!

05-08-2014, 06:28 PM
Oh you guys have to be excited now! Good luck and hope you both live la dolce vita on Bonaire!:cool:

05-08-2014, 07:57 PM
Whoo whoo! See you in October! Where is your house, by the way?

05-09-2014, 06:29 AM
Thanks, Vince & Mel ... our home is at Lighthouse Beach ... laissez les bon temps roullez !!

05-10-2014, 11:54 PM
Very exciting, kob! Congratulations!

05-19-2014, 08:41 AM
Sorry haven't been posting much lately ... we are scrambling. Movers come in 2 days for the stuff going into our container to BON, next Tuesday (day after Memorial Day) we have to be out of our house ... will be staying in an extended stay hotel for 5 weeks until I retire on June 30. We're packing like crazy, have sold all our furniture we're not taking to BON ... a lot to do. We'll be living permanently on BON starting July 26 ... woo hoo.

05-19-2014, 09:32 AM
KOB would you like to adopt a son and daughter? Jena and I need new parents :)


05-19-2014, 01:05 PM
Good one, Matt !! We've had a few offers to that effect recently :cool:

05-29-2014, 07:46 AM
Well, as of Tuesday we're officially homeless ... house title transferred and we're now in an extended stay hotel until I retire on June 30. Then it's off to our cabin in the Adirondacks (north end of Lake George) for a few weeks before our ONE WAY flight to BON on July 26 !!

05-29-2014, 07:54 AM
Ahhhh so lucky, well done on achieving your dreams.

Hmmm so how good are you Cam cleaning skills KOB? :rolleyes::o

05-29-2014, 09:12 AM
With a gentle prodding now & then as a reminder, Roy, I should be able to help keep the schmutz off the cams

07-11-2014, 05:30 PM
Thank you, kob, for providing all this great information. We hope to follow in your footsteps one day!

07-13-2014, 05:27 PM
Happy to be able to provide some insight, annfire. Anyone considering becoming a resident of Bonaire should likely allow at least 6 months time from start to finish. We'll soon be on island and will post again about the process of obtaining our sedulas & health care.

07-16-2014, 05:13 PM
Only 6 months? Wow, we are in our 5th year of renewing. Maybe you know something we dont know??

petri hausmann
07-18-2014, 07:46 AM
you must reapply for 5 consecutive years,-with some of the papers renewed - then become eligible to apply for permanent residency..then - if approved- you only need to renew every 5 years ..the only paper required for this is your proof of registry with the census office ....

07-20-2014, 06:30 AM
That is what we have been doing :). The post confused me as the post said it takes about 6 months.

petri hausmann
07-20-2014, 09:24 AM
yes ... the 1st five years are a temporary residency ..if after the five consecutive years you do not opt to apply for your permanent residency the every year continues ... you must apply .. the change in status is not autoatic and there are no garantees that it will be approved ... my sister just went thru this process and this was all completed in a few weeks ....i have been a resident for a long time and "back in the day" .. the status change was automatic with the approval of the Lt. Gov.

07-21-2014, 09:04 AM
Hi Petri,
Good to know !! Thanks for the heads up info.. Yes, a lot has changed from back in the day when I first started visiting Bonaire in the mid 80's. We have a time share at divi and then purchased a vacation rental home in Hato with hopes of retiring to the island. We are concerned at this point if our plans will be in our best interest because of all the crime that is happening on the island. I really just dont understand how this crime all happened so quickly and the Dutch are not being very aggressive about screening people coming to the island either via boat, via air, via raft etc!

07-21-2014, 02:59 PM
Haha ... the 6 months was just for the first residence permit ... as petri & others have mentioned, have to renew each year for the first 5 years

08-08-2014, 07:21 AM
Have been on island for about 2 weeks now ... took care of all the paperwork stuff during the first week ... went to IND for residency paperwork (an hour or so), then to Civil Office for sedulas (id cards, a couple hours) ... insurance for car & truck (an hour or so), pay road tax (a few minutes), get license plates (a few minutes). Container delivered & unloaded last Thursday ... so much stuff ... we've spent much of the last week just unpacking & trying to find a home for everything.