Guide to Sint Maarten Residency


BrightPath continues to be the most trusted and reliable source for immigration and relocation services in St Maarten and the Eastern Caribbean region. If you are considering making St Maarten your home and obtaining legal residency on the island, congratulations on making it this far!

Here are some brief points we put together on what you need to know about obtaining legal residency in St Maarten:

1. Source all of your documentation in an organized and timely manner. Although immigration residency programs vary in their respective list of requirements, some items are standard throughout, namely,

  • Birth certificate which must be presented in original and its respective issue date must be within three years. A legalization by a Dutch Embassy or an apostille stamp from the issuing country is a requirement.
  • Police clearance certificate (Certificate of good conduct) is also a requirement for every applicant 16 years of age or older. This document must be in original form and dated within 6 months from date of submission of application.
  • Valid health insurance from a locally licensed insurance agent. If issued from an insurance carrier abroad, evidence of coverage in St Maarten must be substantiated.

2. Moving with family? Consider that if you are relocating with your family, aside from the items above, it is important to include

  • Locally issued school letter confirming school enrollment. This is applicable to children ages 4 and over.
  • Marriage certificate as well as Divorce/Death certificates from any and all previous marriage(s). These too must be presented in original and its respective issue date must be within three years. A legalization by a Dutch Embassy or an apostille stamp from the issuing country is a requirement.

3. Ensure to have sufficient reserves: verifiable by way of bank letter addressed to “St Maarten Immigration & Border Protection Services.” The document must be in original format and an amount must be explicitly stated and dated within 90 days from submission of your immigration request.

4. Hire a trusted and licensed firm: to guide you along the way. At BrightPath, we specialize in dedicated immigration advice and services. It is important to have the right guidance and expertise in order to successfully apply for your legal stay under the right immigration programs and to ensure that you match the required criteria.

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Schools and education system in Sint Maarten


If you’ve decided to move to St. Maarten with your family, you may be wondering about schools in St. Maarten. It is very important to understand the education system in St. Maarten and which schools would best suit the needs of your child or children. Keep reading to learn about the primary, secondary and post-secondary schools in St. Maarten.

Is school mandatory in St. Maarten?

Education on the Dutch Side of St. Maarten is compulsory between ages of 4 and 18.

Are there public schools in St. Maarten?

On the island of St. Maarten, there are 16 public primary schools. Some examples of public schools include Methodist Agogic Center (M.A.C) and Sint Dominic Primary School. These schools enable your child/children to reach their full academic potential as well as meet their social and spiritual needs. You will be required to pay approximately NAF 400 per year per child for them to attend a public school in St. Maarten.

Are there private schools in St. Maarten?

On the island of St. Maarten, there are two private primary schools – Caribbean International Academy (CIA) and Learning Unlimited Preparatory School (LU). These schools teach children from kindergarten age to Grade 12 and stress learning decision-making, time management, creative and critical thinking skills. You will be required to pay approximately USD $1000 per month per year per child for them to attend a private school in St. Maarten.

Are there any special education schools in St. Maarten?

On the island of St. Maarten, there is one public elementary school that provides special education for students with a range of disabilities. The Prins Willem-Alexander School is dedicated to educating students living with learning disabilities, neurological disorders, ADHD, Down syndrome, autism or any other disabilities that would impact education in other primary and secondary schools on the island.

Are there high schools in St. Maarten?

There are nine high schools in St. Maarten including one Dutch secondary school and two faith-based secondary schools that promote Christian ideals and values.

Is there a performing arts school in St. Maarten?

St. Maarten has one performing arts school called The Charlotte Brookson Academy of the Performance Arts, offering both academic and artistic education. Talent showcases are common for these students and they often have opportunities to travel abroad. You will be required to pay approximately NAF 900 per year per child for them to attend St. Maarten’s performing arts school.

Are there any vocational or technical schools in St. Maarten?

The National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA) is the only government recognized for advance vocational technical education in St. Maarten. NIPA offers advanced vocational education for students who want to further their education after secondary schools and adults already in the workforce. Their programs are tailored to the needs and interests of the labor market and the wider St. Maarten community. The price you pay to attend St. Maarten’s vocational school depends on the course taken.

Are there any universities in St. Maarten?

There are two universities in St. Maarten. The University of Sint Maarten is committed to offering quality academic education that will provide students with a solid foundation to start their career. The American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine St. Maarten’s only medical school and tuition is approximately USD $22,000 per semester.

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5 Common Mistakes Before Moving to Sint Maarten


Congratulations! You’ve decided you want to move to St. Maarten! Whether you need to get a work permit, start a business, or obtain a residency permit, BrightPath Caribbean can help make your move to St. Maarten easy!

Moving to another country is an exciting opportunity, but there’s a lot to consider since it does present some unique challenges. Often moving to a new country involves navigating new languages, new climates, and new people. It can be intimidating and overwhelming but working with immigration and business start-up professionals can make the process simpler.

Before moving to St. Maarten, read our guide below to avoid some of the most common mistakes people make when moving to the Caribbean.

5 Mistakes people make when moving to St. Maarten:

1. Not doing enough research: If you choose to move to St. Maarten with or without a company, you need to do your own research to learn about St. Maarten’s immigration process.

There are also several questions you need to ask yourself before moving to St. Maarten:

  • How much money should I have for the first 6 months? One year?
  • What are the fees to apply for residency/immigration?
  • What documents do I need to apply for immigration in St. Maarten?
  • How long does the immigration process take?
  • Am I allowed to be in the country while my residency application is being processed?
  • Are work permits different than residency papers?
  • How long am I allowed to stay in St. Maarten?

There are many questions that you need to ask yourself before you before deciding to move to St. Maarten. Do your research so that you can make an informed decision about moving to St. Maarten.

2. Getting too much advice: When you decide to move to St. Maarten, you’ll notice how many people suddenly have moving advice for you. Just because a friend moved to the Caribbean in the 70s or your aunt moved to St. Maarten 10 years ago, it does not mean that their information is still valid. Each country of origin has different requirements so the advice might be about another country and might not be the requirements for your country of origin. You can get overwhelmed quickly by stories of easy immigration and nightmares of deportation.

For up-to-date and reliable information about moving to St. Maarten check reliable websites like:




3. Not completing St. Maarten’s immigration application correctly: Once you have begun the process of moving to St. Maarten, having the necessary documents and meeting the immigration requirements are very important. The number one reason for not getting approved is incorrect or incomplete applications. Having all of your documents in order and completely filled out is crucial. One incomplete form or missing document can mean having to start the immigration process all over again. For help with immigration to St. Maarten, contact BrightPath Caribbean today!

4. Assuming the process will be quick and easy: Moving to St. Maarten – much like other countries around the world – is not a simple, straightforward process. There are forms to fill out, documents to order, fees to pay and a lot of waiting involved. Be patient, stay focused and know that your dream of moving to St. Maarten will soon be a reality!

5. Applying for immigration to St. Maarten alone: The easiest way to avoid the mistakes found above is to hire immigration specialists – like BrightPath Caribbean – for your move to St. Maarten. While it is an additional expense, having immigration specialists handling your move to St. Maarten is highly recommended and worth it! BrightPath Caribbean keeps open and clear lines of communication and will help you every step of the way. BrightPath Caribbean specializes in immigration to St. Maarten so we will fill out the forms, provide you with document checklists and wait in line at the office of Immigration and Border Protection Service (IBP) for you.

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Immigrating to Sint Maarten with your family?


What do I need to obtain legal residency in St Maarten for my immediate family members?

Keeping families united is fundamental for the collective wellbeing of any society. At BrightPath, one of the most common requests that we receive is for information regarding general requirements for reuniting families on the island. Note, when we use the term family members, the requirements listed in this article are specifically in reference to “immediate” family members – namely, spouse and children.

Whether the primary applicant is a Dutch national or simply holds legal residence on the island, the criteria in both instances is very similar and we have listed a summary of the requirements below:

  • Copy of valid passport (all pages must be included and bio page must be in color) for all members of the family
  • Original birth certificate (date of issue cannot exceed 3 years and must be legalized by a Dutch embassy if place of issue is outside of the territory of the Dutch Kingdom)
  • Original police record (date of issue cannot exceed 6 months)
  • Original marriage certificate (date of issue cannot exceed 3 years and must be legalized by a Dutch embassy if place of issue is outside of the territory of the Dutch Kingdom)
  • Local school registration letter for the children
  • Copy van rechtswege verklaring – applicable for Dutch nationals only

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How Long Can Canadians Stay in St. Maarten?


Are you a Canadian citizen that’s planning on visiting St. Maarten as a tourist and wondering how long you can stay? BrightPath Caribbean is your most reliable source for up-to-date information regarding travel requirements to Sint Maarten. As of July 2020, Canadian citizens do NOT need a visa to visit St. Maarten and can stay up to 90 days uninterrupted. As a Canadian, you may also be able to extend your stay for up to 6 months, but you must apply first, and also have valid health insurance that covers you for all 6 months.

Entry Requirements for Canadian Citizens

Upon arrival in St. Maarten by air or sea, you must present:

  • Canadian passport that is valid upon entry, and for the entire duration of your stay;
  • Completed and signed Embarkation and Disembarkation card (ED card);
  • Valid return ticket;
  • Valid hotel/resort reservation, or proof of owned property while staying;
  • Proof of sufficient financial means for travel ($100 to $300CAD per day)

Please note, that the final entry to St. Maarten remains with the border control officer. The Immigration and Border Protection Service (IBP) reserves, at all times, the authority to grant or refuse your entry.

Duration of Stay for Canadian Citizens

The maximum amount of days that a Canadian can visit St. Maarten is 90 days, uninterrupted, with a possibility to extend stay to up to 6 months.

Extension of Stay for Canadian Citizens

All Canadian visitors who wish to stay longer than 90 days can apply for an extension of stay, however, the approval is not always guaranteed. If you do get approved to stay in St. Maarten for longer than 90 days as a Canadian, you must have valid health insurance that covers you for the entire stay.

Source: Sint Maarten Goverment

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Reasons to Start Your Own Business in St Maarten


If you’re an entrepreneur you have heard a million reasons not to go into business: It’s too risky, you might go into debt, you’ll probably lose sleep, your social life is kaput, and the list goes on. But even with all these uncertainties, people are still attracted to the startup world. There are just as many if not more reasons to take the leap and go start your own business.

Here are just a few:

1-Spare time: This one can take some time. Initially, you’ll work longer hours for less pay. But if you do it right, you could start to master your schedule, and the freedom that being an entrepreneur provides is awesome.

2-A story to tell. Whenever I tell someone I run my own business, they always want to know what I do, how I do it and how it’s going. I always am able to provide a tale or two, and the best part is that I get to determine the story’s chapters. (When working for a corporation, people most likely have less input).

3-Tax benefits. For entrepreneurs (freelancers included), they have the opportunity to take advantage of some nice tax perks. Many can write off expenses like travel, food, phone bills, portions of car payments, and the list goes on. Also, certain startups qualify for government incentives. Make sure to ask your accountant about what tax benefits you may be eligible for.

4-Pride. When you build something successful, it’s a great feeling. You had a vision, were able to execute it and not can reap the benefits of saying “I did this.” On the other hand, it’s tough to be proud of the zillionth request for proposal you fill out for your employer.

5-Your posterity. If you’re a doctor, plumber or bus driver it’s hard to imagine you passing your career on to your loved ones. But if you own your own business, that’s something you can pass on to the next generation. And be proud of it, because you created it.

6-Job security. Have you ever been laid off, downsized, or fired? If you have, you get this. With entrepreneurship, the security lies in the fact you are your own boss. You run the show and don’t have to worry about getting let go.

7-Networking. Entrepreneurs are communal creatures. We love to meet each other, swap stories and learn from each other’s experiences. Your circle of friends and acquaintances always grows when you become an entrepreneur, as many founders need others to lean on to survive and talk about the challenges only known to them.

8-Doing good. While this isn’t exclusive to entrepreneurs, it’s definitely a perk. You control where your company profits go and if you choose, you can give allocate your financial gains to others. You can sponsor a charity, a non-profit or just personally give back to the community. This is quite honestly one of the best parts of being an entrepreneur.

9-Novelty. We, as humans, love new experiences but rarely can you experience a host of new things from inside your cubicle. This all changes when you are running the show. Starting your own business will ensure you’ll always be facing new challenges and experiencing something new.

10-Mentorship. Having had mentors and getting to be a mentor have been some of the best experiences of my life. Learning from the masters and getting to help those less experienced than you gives you such a sense of satisfaction. From my experience (and other’s stories) the entrepreneurial community is very willing to give back and lend a helping hand.

11-Becoming an expert: This point goes along with mentorship. Regardless of what you do as an entrepreneur, if you stick with it, you’ll probably become very good at it. And this gives you a sort of soapbox, so use it. You’ll have the chance to be interviewed for your expertise, write about it, and get to spread your message.

12-Skills: People ask me how I learned about SEO, social media, pay-per-click, PR and all the other marketing techniques I utilize. I tell them that I was forced to learn them, otherwise, I wouldn’t survive. The same way I was forced to learn how to build a spreadsheet, how to balance a budget, how to negotiate leases and countless other skills I picked up because I was the only resource I had. While developing new skills can be tough and takes times, it can pay off in spades. These skills will be invaluable throughout your life.

13-Determination. Everything I’ve done as an entrepreneur has affected me in my personal life. I used to be poor at committing to changes. But having been an entrepreneur for over a decade has forced me to become dedicated and determined to causes. (Now I can stick to an exercise plan much easier.) I’m also better at being a father and husband because of that determination I learned.

14-Recognition. There are literally thousands of local, regional, and national awards that recognize entrepreneurs in every field and industry. This shouldn’t be your only reason to start your business, but it certainly is a great feeling when you receive this recognition.

15-Financial independence. Let’s be honest, this is probably the biggest reason people get into business for themselves. And that’s a good thing! You should want financial independence. However, you define financial independence – retirement stockpile, unlimited cash potential or having the money to buy what you want — entrepreneurship can allow you to achieve it. Trust me, money doesn’t buy happiness, but it does make finding happiness much easier.

16-Reinvention. I’ve started and sold several companies over my career. And every time I sell a company, I’m presented with an opportunity to reinvent myself all over again. On the flip side, if I had received my law degree, I’d be a lawyer (not a lot of room to recreate myself). But as an entrepreneur, I get to be whatever I want to be.

17- Change the world. Everyone jokes that every entrepreneur says they’re going to change the world. It’s difficult to imagine how a cell phone accessory kiosk in the mall is going to change the world. But there are those that do succeed. Take a look at Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Sergey Brin, and the countless other entrepreneurs who really have changed the world in some small (or major) way.

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How Can BrightPath Support Your Business Investment In St Maarten?


If you are considering starting a business in the Caribbean island of St. Maarten, or you already have your business up and running, rely on the team at BrightPath to provide you with completely integrated business services.

Vivian Chamas

Can advise you on corporate structure and market trends. Will guide you on all the requirements for company formation, gather the documentation and oversee the entire process on your behalf, including ordering the relevant licenses for you to conduct business seamlessly on the island. She can support you in keeping your business compliant on a monthly and annual basis – from ensuring your licenses and Chamber registrations are up to date, to seeing that your monthly records are on file and registered at the necessary government agencies.

Vivian is the in-house expert with labor matters. Labor registrations, personnel checklists, and work permits for specialized staff are diligently handled.

Nuris Edwards

Has gathered years of experience in immigration matters. She can assist you with residency permit requests for business investors, retirees, home-owners from abroad, and family reunion matters for qualifying applicants.

Follow us on our social media platforms as we publish weekly articles with useful information on our different services, as well as things you need to know to remain fully compliant with business and immigration matters in St. Maarten.

What our clients say about us!

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5 Questions to Ask Before Investing in St. Maarten


Do your future plans include moving to St. Maarten and possibly investing or starting a business on the island? Before you take the plunge and buy your plane ticket, there are some important questions you should ask yourself before you move to St. Maarten. As the island’s leading immigration service, BrightPath Caribbean believes that it is important that anyone moving to St. Maarten truly understands what making this decision means.

Relocating to the Caribbean and starting a business in St. Maarten are not easy tasks, but it can be a great opportunity to generate foreign currency revenues and experience a unique lifestyle. Sint Maarten is a great place to invest, start a business and retire, however a great deal of planning is involved. Before you start searching for flights, you should know how much capital you plan to invest, the type of business you wish to start, local market conditions, and many other things. To help you along the way in your new adventure, we’ve put together a list of five questions to ask yourself before moving to St. Maarten.

    1-Why do I want to move to St. Maarten?

    St. Maarten is a constituent country that is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The island has more than 100 nationalities speaking mainly English and French, however, there is a large Spanish-speaking population. St. Maarten also offers investors a range of benefits, which can be found below.

    Benefits of investing in St. Maarten:

    • Airport and cruise port with highly developed infrastructures
    • Revenues in US dollars and euros
    • More than 2.5 million tourists visiting annually
    • Island is a duty-free zone
    • Economic stability
    • Great quality of life

    2-What type of business do I want to open in St. Maarten?

    The advice we give to entrepreneurs is to stick to what they know. Managing a business that relates to your field of study or professional experience generally has better chances of becoming a success, generating profits, and realizing on your investment. Do your research and check to see if the local market could benefit from what you have to offer. If your business idea seems feasible on the island, contact BrightPath Caribbean for helpful advice and guidance through the business incorporation process in St. Maarten.

    3-How much money can I afford to invest?

    To open a business in St. Maarten – just like elsewhere in the world – you have to make a financial investment. You need to know how much you are willing to invest in your new venture to determine the type of business you will open in St. Maarten. Typically, there are two types of investors: those who have capital resources readily available and those who are in the process of gathering their start-up capital. Either way, we do not recommend investing all of your financial resources into your new business! It’s important to consider that before your company starts to operate, you will have pre-operating expenses, and some common ones can be found below.

    Pre-operating expenses for a business in St. Maarten:

    • Travel costs to visit St. Maarten
    • Translations and/or legalizations of documents
    • Local immigration consulting firm fees
    • License and permit fees
    • Inventory acquisition
    • Equipment and installation
    • Commercial and/or residential real estate rental
    • Shipment of personal belongings from abroad

    It is also important to save some of your financial resources so that you have a backup fund in case your business is not as profitable as planned at the start.

    4-How soon do I want my business open in St. Maarten?

    Once you have decided on the type of business you want to open in St. Maarten and have gathered some of the necessary funds, you need to finalize your timeline. Without a defined timeline, your plan to start a business in St. Maarten could quickly turn into a dream if you procrastinate. Once you know your timeline, you can start completing the forms and gathering all of the required documents for your new business.

    5-Do I know enough about St. Maarten?

    If you feel like St. Maarten is the place for you to start your business, invest or retire, BrightPath Caribbean recommends visiting St. Maarten in advance to make an informed decision. While it may be primarily a fact-finding mission, make sure to enjoy the amenities our beautiful island offers! Hit the beach, check out restaurants, visit historical sites and dance the night away while you’re visiting St. Maarten!

    Once you’re on the island, schedule a meeting with BrightPath Caribbean to discuss the following:

    • The feasibility of your business in the local market
    • Market benefits
    • Potential risks
    • Competitors
    • Minimum investment capital requirement, based on the type of business you desire
    • Commercial real estate rental or purchase
    • Logistics
    • Business licensing and banking requirements

    Since you will have some time to explore St. Maarten, make sure to gather information relevant to your personal lifestyle and needs, such as:

    • School for kids: public, private, monthly fees, location
    • Important areas: financial zone, commercial zone, residential hot spots
    • Cost of living: supermarkets, gas, utilities, rent, leisure
    • What to do: concerts, cultural events, clubs, restaurants, sports, beaches

    To have peace of mind in your decision, know as much as you can about your new country of investment.

    BONUS QUESTION: Is my family ready to move to St. Maarten?

    This question may not apply to everyone, but it could be the most important question for some individuals. Unfortunately, if your loved ones are unable to adapt to their new surroundings and are unhappy, your investment could be in jeopardy.

    The best way to make the move to St. Maarten with a family is with good preparation and planning. It is important to involve your family members in the process from the start, so that they feel included in this new chapter and will go on to support your venture and make it a successful one. Once everybody is on board with the decision to move to St. Maarten, it becomes easier to make the right decisions.

    BrightPath Caribbean is a firm focused on providing immigration services and attracting sustainable investments to St. Maarten. We can help you with as suite of corporate services such as business incorporation, licensing, banking services, architectural design and construction.

    A new and exciting life is ahead of you, so relax enjoy the ride with BrightPath Caribbean on your side!

    Do you have any questions?


    Extending St. Maarten Residency Permit Under Managing Director Program


    At BrightPath, not only do we promote investments to the Caribbean – whether through retirement, company formations, or real estate holdings – but in most instances, we also offer immigration services to the individuals by way of the same investment.

    It’s common knowledge that many business owners and/or company directors in St Maarten have been able to successfully obtain their temporary residency permit on island under the Managing Director immigration program. Regardless of nationality or trade, a great majority of business owners that are foreign nationals in St Maarten likely obtained their legal stay on the island under this program. However, with unemployment rates significantly increasing, mainly as a result of the negative global economic effects from COVID-19, tighter immigration controls are also being implemented to mitigate any possible loopholes that may exist in the system.

    If you obtained your residency permit under the Managing Director program and you are now preparing for an upcoming extension of your residency permit, aside from the current renewal criteria, here’s a list of additional items that you should have readily on hand in the event that further due-diligence is required in order to substantiate that your business is in fact operating and fully compliant with the local authorities:

    1. Business profit tax filings for fiscal year(s) ending 2018 / 2019 and/or 2020
    2. Business bank statements for the past 12 months showing financial activity
    3. Statement of compliance from the tax department
    4. Evidence of business operating address by way of current utility bills
    5. Evidence of payroll slips and supporting evidence of salary payments to the Director
    6. Evidence of sufficient funds for the continued business operations and/or personal reserves

    It is important that we all do our part to protect the economic and social well-being of the island. Whether we agree to the increased scrutiny in the extension of the residency permits for Managing Directors or not, full compliance by ensuring that the business under which the permit being requested for the foreign national pertains to a business that is truly operational, contributing to the local economy, and not just a “paper” company is vital.

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    Covid-19 and Businesses in St. Maarten


    Let’s face it, COVID has shrunk the global economy and St. Maarten and the Caribbean have been affected as well. As a business owner, what can you expect to see moving forward? While it’s difficult to predict at this point, here are some tips that you can rely on to support you throughout the uncertainty.

    1-Compliance is key

    Make sure your company documents are up to date. It’s likely that with the current economic and health climate, you can expect enhanced government controls and inspections.You should ensure that you have properly displayed on the walls of your business the following documents for the current year:

    – Chamber of Commerce Registration
    – Business License
    – Director’s License

      Your CRIB number should also be displayed to confirm that your business has been registered at the tax office.

      2- Keep your records on hand

      If you’re faced with a visit from the Inspectorate, aside from the documents above, ensure you have your Labor registration and SZV registration on hand for the current year. Your personnel list should also be up to date and reflect all persons currently employed at the business establishment. It’s also important that all documentation showing that the employees have legal stay on the island are on file. This includes passports and applicable residency or work permits, as well as labor agreements, and past payroll records.

      3-Treat employees like they make a difference, and they will

      Most businesses have seen a decline in revenues and that’s because our economy is primarily tourism based. Consider an action plan involving your employees in a manner that can sustain both the business and their employment through these times. Open communication and transparency build trust and can help support both employers and employees in maintaining the relationship for the long run.

      4-Consider registering your business as temporarily inactive

      If you currently have no employees and your business is not actively operating at this time, consider a temporary inactivation. This can be done by way of a Board resolution and registered at the Chamber of Commerce, Tax Department, and SZV. You can choose to retain your licenses once the annual fees are maintained and you can reactivate your business once you decide to become operational again.

      Do you have any questions?


      BrightPath Caribbean