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AmazingLifeInSunAndSea
10-17-2018, 01:55 AM
Hello,

We've read through a lot of the threads and found some really great info to help us out as we are ready for our journey to retirement and becoming residents of Bonaire. We still need a bit of help though, and any insight, experience, tips, links or recommendations would be super appreciated!

A lot of the info we've read is relevant to being American and my husband Remi and I are Canadians. Also a number of the links are unfortunately coming up with a 404 error. We are ready to purchase a property that will serve as both our home and rental property when we can't be there. We also will need to secure a mortgage. I know there is an age limit, but we should be ok on that end of things but can't seem to find much info beyond that.

Again any insights, experience (Canadian if relevant), and recommendations on who to contact/hire for help is very much welcomed!

Kindest of regards
Desiree (Dez) and Remi

Cornhusker
10-19-2018, 01:36 PM
I do not know about borrowing rules on Bonaire but we have rented from Sunbelt Realty for years and used Kittie den Dekker and they have a full team at the office who could answer your questions and also help line you up with someone to talk with about a loan so just google them and link to the website and best of luck. I am not employed or have been given anything of value for my recommendation of Sunbelt just have used them and like the service. We arriving January for 2-month stay and looking to rent for 3-months next year and she has some properties that we plan to look at when we return. Enjoy Bonaine and hope your property deal works out. Royce & Mary aka Cornhusker

AmazingLifeInSunAndSea
10-22-2018, 03:28 PM
Thanks Royce and Mary :)
We're actually coming to the Island in the beginning-mid of December. Hoping to have accounts open and the financing in place before we leave.

Cheers
Dez and Remi

bonairehomes
10-23-2018, 03:55 PM
Dez and Remi -

The simple answer to your questions is that the residency applications requirements for Canadians are the same as for Americans, you just use a different form. I will try to find the correct links this week.

If you are Canadian and meet the requirements listed on the form you will be get residency. The requirements for Canadians and Americans are essentially the same. The main difference is that if you are American, you only apply for residency once and then you have "permanent residency" and are done. If you are Canadian, or from an EU country, you need to "renew" your residence annually for five years. At the end of your fifth year, you can apply for "permanent residency". Permanent residency is almost always granted at that time as long as you have paid your taxes, have a place to live, and haven't been arrested.

ONCE YOU HAVE RESIDENCY YOU ARE AUTOMATICALLY ENROLLED IN THE PUBLIC HEALTHCARE SYSTEM SO ALL MEDICAL COSTS ARE FREE. DOCTOR VISITS, PRESCRIPTION DRUGS, HOSPITAL VISITS ARE ALL COVERED AND FREE TO YOU.

In relation to your other questions:

Bank Account: Getting a bank account for non-residents is difficult to do here unless you already own property, or have residency or both. In order to set up a new account you need to make an appointment for when you are here and go meet in person at the bank. They will ask for your passport, your Canadian Tax ID, and proof of your address in Canada (something like a utility bill, or bank statement with your name and address on it.). Once they have all that information, they may give you an account. (this all has to do with anti money laundering and anti tax evasion rules.)

Mortgage: Getting a mortgage is impossible until you have a specific property to buy. If you meet informally with a banker about a mortgage him/her can give you an indication of how they will view the loan, but there is not a formal "pre-approval" letter like you could get in the US or Canada.

Most of the time banks only allow you to amortize a mortgage until you are 65. This means is you are 45 you can get a maximum of a 20 year mortgage and if you are 55, it's only for 10 years. If your mortgage is for more than 50% of the purchase price, then life insurance is also required. Interest rates for non-residents are currently around 6% to 6.5%.

If i can help you any further, please let me know.

Kate B
10-26-2018, 06:37 PM
Hello,

We've read through a lot of the threads and found some really great info to help us out as we are ready for our journey to retirement and becoming residents of Bonaire. We still need a bit of help though, and any insight, experience, tips, links or recommendations would be super appreciated!

A lot of the info we've read is relevant to being American and my husband Remi and I are Canadians. Also a number of the links are unfortunately coming up with a 404 error. We are ready to purchase a property that will serve as both our home and rental property when we can't be there. We also will need to secure a mortgage. I know there is an age limit, but we should be ok on that end of things but can't seem to find much info beyond that.

Again any insights, experience (Canadian if relevant), and recommendations on who to contact/hire for help is very much welcomed!

Kindest of regards
Desiree (Dez) and Remi


Hi Dez and Remi,

Welcome! Hopefully you will be here for New Year's Eve, the most amazing fireworks in the Caribbean!

Bob from our office answered several of your questions, here is the link to the residency application:

https://english.rijksdienstcn.com/immigration-naturalisation/application-for-residence-permit-other-nationalities/application-fixed-term-residence-permit

For help in completing residency applications, many of us have hired Agnes Joosten, who is located at the Multi-Shop at the Hato roundabout (by Between 2 Buns deli.) For a low fee, she will assist you in completing the application, gathering documents and accompanying you to the immigation office. She was terrific.

We "retired" (as you can see I'm working!) here years ago and LOVE living here. There are quite a few Canadians living on the island.

Wishing you all the best in your great adventure!

AmazingLifeInSunAndSea
10-31-2018, 12:00 AM
Thanks Kate! And Bob!

When the time comes we will definitely be getting in contact with Agnes. Right now, we are working on opening a bank account. At least some of that can get done from here. It will be a little while yet before we can stay on the island full time but doing the count down.

Dez :)

bonairehomes
11-01-2018, 09:49 AM
Dez -

You CANNOT open a bank account without being here in person due to anti-money laundering laws. The banks are required to meet with you in person before the account can be opened. It is possible to do the paperwork ahead of time, but you will need to go to the bank in person before they will give you an account number, or activate the account.

We look forward to seeing you on Bonaire.

rossell
11-01-2018, 02:11 PM
You MUST have an appointment when opening an account(with MCB) on the island which means making it weeks in advance of your arrival. MCB required letters from my banks in the U.S. stating that i was a customer in good standing. This was a pain because my banks said that they dont provide these....Just having the bank statements was not enough. Bob from remax also provided me with a letter from his office to our "good standng"(we used remax when we purchased our home) but the bank said that it was not acceptable. Feel free to messege me directly if you want me to go into further detail.

DiverChris
11-01-2018, 03:17 PM
What about using RBC for your banking in Canada and the Carribean. Yes they are different entities but you maybe able to get everything done in Canada before arriving in Bonaire.
Good luck,
Chris

sorobonanne
11-01-2018, 07:56 PM
What about using RBC for your banking in Canada and the Carribean. Yes they are different entities but you maybe able to get everything done in Canada before arriving in Bonaire.
Good luck,
Chris

As a Canadian who opened an account last year ,I know you must present in person. The RBC in Canada knows nothing about the Caribbean RBC banks and they do not share any services. Each bank is completely separate. Call the bank make an appointment and they will email you information and the processing what you need you need to open the account.

queentrigger
11-02-2018, 12:19 PM
Dear Dez & Remi:

Here's my two bits perhaps it may help. First banking... Get a letter of introduction from your current bank manager. Have your passport and also any kind of proof of income such as your pension plan letter or others this will be necessary to open an account. My husband provided income tax returns for two years (main page) from Revenue Canada. Have a letter of introduction from a local resident of Bonaire that does business with the bank you choose.

Application for residency. Go to the Immigration office and get the forms one for you and one for hubby from them and have them explain all of the documents they will require. The tricky part for Canadians ( even if we are the ones who help liberate Holland in WWII) is to get the safety clearance certificate from the Dutch Embassy in Canada. A police clearance certificate will NOT do. So be prepared for a frustrating quest. Hope these help.

Welcome to sunny Bonaire! L.S.

AmazingLifeInSunAndSea
11-08-2018, 02:04 PM
Thanks for all the great insight and tips everyone! Its definitely been a big help. We have been in contact with a local bank who emailed us forms to fill out along with a (longish) list of other documents they require from us BEFORE they will give us an appointment to come in person for the final steps of opening an account. Everything has been sent back to them, so now we wait to hear about an appointment at the bank. In the mean time, I'm contacting the Dutch Embassy (thank you for that one L.S.!) because we figured a criminal record check from the RCMP would do it as they are National and not Provincial like the local police.

Slowly but surely its coming together...what's the word? Poco Poco :cool: lol

Dez and Remi

bonairehomes
11-08-2018, 03:05 PM
Daz & Remi -

A criminal background check from the RCMP should work, and it is probably required. That document will need to be apostiled or legalized BY THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT. For US citizens they require an FBI (national) background check, and then that report needs to be apostiled by the US State department.

Just so you know.

AmazingLifeInSunAndSea
11-08-2018, 03:20 PM
Okay, we will need to get it notarized instead? I've just read this from the Canadian Gov site: "Canada is not a member of the 1961 Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement for Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents (http://www.hcch.net/index_en.php?act=conventions.text&cid=41). This convention replaced legalization, in member states, as the default procedure with a system of apostille. Its mechanisms are not applicable to Canada."

bonairehomes
11-08-2018, 03:27 PM
I dont know the answer to that. I would ask Agnes, or whoever is helping with your application, what you need to do to get it legalized. I would think its the same process as you did with marriage certificates, birth certificate, etc. I would ask someone who knows to be sure.

clangsner
11-15-2018, 03:01 PM
What about using RBC for your banking in Canada and the Carribean. Yes they are different entities but you maybe able to get everything done in Canada before arriving in Bonaire.
Good luck,
Chris

My wife and I looked at using RBC since they are in both Canada and on Bonaire. We learned that they might both be RBC but they operate as two entirly different companies. The same goes for RBC in the US, all three operate as seperate companies and do not have direct ties to each other. Our local RBC here in Canada didn't realise that the US and Carribean are two seperate companies until we told them. We had set up a US account, went to Bonaire and found out that we could not access our US accounts.

queentrigger
11-17-2018, 11:54 AM
I dont know the answer to that. I would ask Agnes, or whoever is helping with your application, what you need to do to get it legalized. I would think its the same process as you did with marriage certificates, birth certificate, etc. I would ask someone who knows to be sure.


I tried to submit my residency application without my "security voucher" documentation being cleared by the Dutch Embassy... It was rejected. You do need to do this and really no one seems to know about it except Immigration Officers on Bonaire.

If I were you,I would ask them to send a photocopy of such document with the proper stamp or whatever it is the Bonaire Immigration wants and then contact the Dutch Embassy in Canada. Let me know how you make out next year I am applying again! L.S.

John Do
10-15-2019, 11:29 PM
Hi,
As a fellow Canadian, would it be too personal to ask, how you go about transferring money from a Canadian bank, to RBC on Bonaire (once you establish an account there)?
Silly question, but do you just carry $9,999 with you, to deposit every time you go down there?
We`re thinking of buying a small condo,or land, there and it`s pretty obvious, I have no experience with doing this.
The process will speed up if, God forbid, Trudeau gets re-elected!
You are more than welcome to DM me.
Thanks!

sorobonanne
10-16-2019, 08:10 AM
Hi , Once you have opened a bank account on the island and gather the inofrmation you need (You will have to get information such as address, SWIFT #, Account # and anything else they share from the Bonaire bank. ) In Canada, you will ask for a bank transfer to Bonaire, It cost about 30 US $ and takes about 7 days. Depending on where your bank is, it is likely they will not be familiar with Bonaire and it takes them while to look it up , usually list as ST Eustice, Saba and Bonaire .

Canuck52
10-16-2019, 11:26 AM
Hi,

When we do wire transfers from our Canadian Banks (we mainly use TD, but sometimes we use BMO) the costs are dependant on the amount being sent to Bonaire. Best to check with your Bank in Canada what their fees would be for any given amount. The time for the money to show up in our MCB account is about 2-3 days. One down side is we have to physically go into a branch in Canada to do the transfers, we can not do them on-line or by phone. I guess that is just about security. As noted below the RBC in Bonaire is in name only, no official banking ties to RBC in Canada.

Good Luck with your plans. We have owned a home on Bonaire for about 1.5 years now, and are very happy. We have not done the residency thing yet as we still have to look into any Canada/Bonaire Tax issues.

Cheers

rossell
10-31-2019, 11:56 AM
My personal experience is just bring a check with you to deposit into your account while on the island. You avoid the wire transfer fees and the money is in the account in just a few days and the fee is just a few dollars.

ChrisL
11-03-2019, 06:52 PM
Some US Banks allow depositors a certain number of free wire transfers monthly. I can wire money from Chase 4x a month for free. My Bonaire bank Orco charges us US$5.25 for incoming wire transfers.

DebraNuschka
03-13-2021, 10:23 AM
Hi,

When we do wire transfers from our Canadian Banks (we mainly use TD, but sometimes we use BMO) the costs are dependant on the amount being sent to Bonaire. Best to check with your Bank in Canada what their fees would be for any given amount. The time for the money to show up in our MCB account is about 2-3 days. One down side is we have to physically go into a branch in Canada to do the transfers, we can not do them on-line or by phone. I guess that is just about security. As noted below the RBC in Bonaire is in name only, no official banking ties to RBC in Canada.

Good Luck with your plans. We have owned a home on Bonaire for about 1.5 years now, and are very happy. We have not done the residency thing yet as we still have to look into any Canada/Bonaire Tax issues.

Cheers


HI There!! I have been reading through this thread and noticed you mentioned "We have not done the residency thing yet as we still have to look into Canada/Bonaire Tax Issues"

We are planning to come to Bonaire in Jan 2022 - we wanted to apply for 1 year Temp Residency but are trying to find out if that would require us to pay taxes on Bonaire on our income earned in Canada -

Our retirement will be funded by Canadian Dividend Income and the taxes payable in Canada will be minimal based on our situation - so we do not want to have to pay Bonaire Taxes on this Canadian Income - but not sure if "Temp Residency" requires that or not...

Any info you have found would be super helpful if you have any further insights!! Thanks!
Deb