How to Start a Business in St. Maarten

Discover the essential steps to kickstart your business venture on the picturesque island of St. Maarten.

St. Maarten is one of the most sought-after Caribbean islands for investment. Many foreign business owners and entrepreneurs are keen to start a business in St. Maarten. With a stable economy and bustling tourism, St. Maarten is a prime destination if you are starting your business in the Caribbean.

In case you’ve been tempted by the white beaches and crystal blue water and make St. Maarten your home, starting a business is a good first step towards obtaining legal residency on the island too.

Below is helpful information about BrightPath Caribbean and how our team of professionals can provide valuable assistance for those starting a business on the Caribbean island.

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How to start a new business in St. Maarten

BrightPath Caribbean for over 10 years, has remained the most trusted and recognized corporate and immigration services provider for St. Maarten and the English Caribbean.  Our team of professionals can support you in answering key questions that will factor into your decision to start a new business in Sint Maarten and assist you with a turnkey suite of services to deploy your business and support it throughout its operating phase.

Registered Office Services and Commercial Real Estate

When considering starting a business in Sint Maarten, you must first determine if you will need to rent or purchase commercial real estate.  Businesses that require an operational license, in addition to a business and managing director license, will need to lease or purchase a commercial property in the name of the business before incorporation.  This makes the efficiency of an integrated team such as that of BrightPath Caribbean and affiliate BrightFuture Realty, impactful to your budget and timeframe to coordinate both the real estate and the incorporation simultaneously and seamlessly.

If you would like to incorporate your business while remaining abroad, BrightPath can facilitate that service too, offering you registered address services on an annual basis.  This means that for an annual fee, all business correspondence and registrations can be received and handled by our dedicated office team.  This will save you unnecessary rental fees and is particularly useful for businesses that offer professional services, such as accountants, consultants, artists, and designers, that understandably prefer to keep their residential address separate from their business address.

Tax Advisory, Accounting, and Bookkeeping

For many years, BrightPath Caribbean has relied on our referral partners at Haven SXM for their expertise in tax advisory services.  They in turn rely on the leadership of Erik van Engelen, who holds a postgraduate degree in Business Economics and obtained his Post Master’s as a Certified Auditor, in addition to many years of senior management experience in the same field.  Erik and his team are essential to the integral component of any business decision for any prospect or actual business owner requiring professional tax advisory services.  Under the guidance of HaVen SXM, the Team at BrightPath Caribbean can establish your business in Sint Maarten, Private Fund Foundation, or legal business entity in a tax-compliant manner to fit your current and future financial plans.

Once your business or private fund foundation has been established and registered at the local authorities, our team remains in close collaboration with HaVen SXM for you to receive the necessary monthly and annual administrative and tax services to ensure your business’s compliance with the local tax reporting requirements.

Deciding on your Company Structure

Depending on the type of business you are planning on incorporating it is very important that you know from the beginning your options and consult with an expert to decide on the best corporate structure.

In St. Maarten, when it comes to business entities you have a  few options that can go from an incorporated business entity to a private fund foundation.  For standard business operating purposes, the two most popular options are a Besloten Vennootschap (“B.V.”), or Naamloze Vennootschap (“N.V.”), As an initial requirement, BrightPath ensures all legal entities must be registered with The St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry (COCI) and at the local tax authorities are done so in a manner that is correct and compliant with local authorities.

If you are a foreign national incorporating a company in Sint Maarten, most likely you will be doing it with a B.V. or an N.V.  which are the equivalents of a Public Limited Liability Company (“PLC”) and Private Limited Liability Company (“LLC”), and they tend to be quite similar. Tax law and tariff apply in the same way, and which entity you choose is not relevant to the core business. Company calling times for shareholder’s meetings are slightly different, as well as audit compliance and voting rights.

Do I need a B.V. or an N.V.?

Key Characteristics 

  •  There is NO fiscal difference between an LLC (NV) and PLC (B.V.), The choice of entity for your core business objectives is not significant, as both entities are subject to the same tax laws and tariffs.
  • The only difference is that the LLC (NV..) can have bearer shares and the B.V. not. It is important to know that our local banks do not cooperate with companies having bearer shares.
  • The period of calling up the shareholders for a meeting is 10 days for an LLC (N.V.), and 5 days for a PLC (BV), and a distinction can be made on voting rights in an LLC (N.V.), that is NOT possible with a PLC (B.V.).
  • There may be more stringent publication and audit requirements to adhere to for a large LLC (N.V.), being an entity with at least twenty (20) employees employed, the value of the assets being more than five (5) million NAF, and the net turnover is at least ten (10) million guilders.

sint maarten business structure NV and BV


Why work with BrightPath Caribbean

Having BrightPath by your side when starting a business in Sint Maarten is like having a trusted navigator guiding you through uncharted waters. While the process of obtaining a business license may appear straightforward, the nuances and intricacies can vary greatly depending on the nature of your business. BrightPath will not only provide valuable insights into different business structures, requirements, renewals, and tax considerations but will also offer a clear and comprehensive overview of your project, laying a strong foundation for your entrepreneurial journey.

With BrightPath on board, you can rest assured that every aspect of setting up your business will be handled with expertise and precision.

How to proceed to incorporate a business in St Maarten with BrightPath

We highly recommend requesting a preliminary consultation with a dedicated business incorporation consultant at BrightPath.  Learn more about our team of experts here and read a summary of the skillset and qualifications of each member of our organization.  Frequently visited topics during the free 30-minute consultations are matters regarding the timeframe to incorporate, required documents to start a business, associated service charges, one-time and recurring government costs, as well as matters specific to the business you would like to start in St. Maarten.  Because the initial consultation is free of charge and we generate a detailed cost estimate with all costs directly associated with the start of your business, along with required documentation, within one business day from the moment of consultation, BrightPath is regarded by many as the most efficient and transparent service provider to incorporate your business in St Maarten.

Work permits and immigration for Managing Directors

When setting up your business in Sint Maarten, it is important to consider where you will source your key personnel.  Sint Maarten has an experienced labor pool, especially in the field of hospitality and tourism, including food and beverage professionals.  BrightPath’s immigration services team has substantial experience in the topic of work permits and the intricacies involved in successfully applying and securing the relevant approvals at both the Labor Department and Immigration Department.  Work permits can only be applied for by the employer, this means that a person, independent of the company that offered them employment, cannot initiate the process on their own.  Except for Dutch and United States citizens, the decision for a work and residency permit cannot be awaited while on the island.  This is important to consider because timeframes to process the application and ensure receipt of the required documents.

Set up your Consultation and Get Started

BrightPath Caribbean is the leading business consultant and immigration service in St. Maarten. We have helped numerous clients acquire work permits, residency permits, and start a business in the Caribbean. If you’re looking forward to living in Sint Maarten, reach out to us for a free Consultation.


  • What are the key steps and requirements for starting a business in St. Maarten? To start a business in St. Maarten, you need to determine if you’ll need commercial real estate, obtain necessary licenses, decide on a company structure (e.g., B.V. or N.V.), and ensure tax compliance. Additionally, working with professional services like BrightPath Caribbean can streamline the process.

  • What are the differences between a Besloten Vennootschap (B.V.) and a Naamloze Vennootschap (N.V.) in St. Maarten, and how do they impact business operations? Both B.V. and N.V. are common business entities in St. Maarten, but they differ in shareholder meeting notification periods, voting rights, and bearer share options. While tax laws apply similarly to both, understanding these distinctions is crucial for foreign nationals looking to incorporate a company in St. Maarten.

  • How can BrightPath Caribbean assist with immigration and work permits for managing directors in St. Maarten? BrightPath Caribbean’s immigration services team has experience navigating the intricacies of securing work permits and residency approvals for key personnel, particularly in fields like hospitality, tourism and management. We can assist employers through the application process, ensuring compliance with local regulations and timely receipt of necessary documents.

Do you have additional questions?

Contact us today for a free consultation!


Moving to Sint Maarten: A Guide for Canadian Citizens

If there is one thing that all Canadian Citizens have in common when they consider moving to the Caribbean, is the joy of warm, breezy, and sunny weather all year long. For this and many other reasons, more Canadians are considering moving to Sint Maarten every year. This guide provides valuable information on immigration programs, important factors to consider, and tips for a smooth transition.

Understanding Sint Maarten’s Immigration Programs

Moving to the Caribbean as a Canadian citizen involves understanding the different immigration programs available. For Canadian Nationals, Sint Maarten’s Immigration programs go from starting your own company, to work permits or real estate investment programs such as the retiree program. It’s important to research and understand the requirements, application process, and any restrictions or limitations involved in each program. Consulting with BrightPath Caribbean before you make the move will always be our first recommendation.

The application requirements for residency in Sint Maarten are quite straightforward, similar to those of any other country. The necessary documents range from a birth certificate and police record to health insurance and proof of savings. Now, let’s explore some of the residency programs available.

Penshonado Program

Congratulations! You have decided to enjoy your retirement in Sint Maarten. The pensioner program offers a wonderful opportunity that includes a real estate transaction. Once your temporary residency has been approved, you can live in Sint Maarten for the first year without the requirement to purchase property. This allows you ample time to explore different neighborhoods and find the perfect property that meets your dreams. However, for the residency renewal, you will need to show proof of a property purchase for a minimum amount of Naf 450,000 (equivalent to USD 253,000). The experienced team at BrightPath can assist you with your residency request, offer asset protection guidance, and connect you with qualified tax advice. Our affiliate, BrightFuture Realty, can also assist in navigating the real estate market in St. Maarten. With the retirement program offering benefits such as a lower tax bracket for those over 52, the ease of no annual property taxes, and the option to protect your assets with a Private Fund Foundation, it’s no surprise that this program is highly popular.

Managing Director Program

If you’ve always dreamed of setting up your own business on the friendly island of Sint Maarten, you should know that you can apply for temporary residency under the managing director program. After all, as a business owner, you’ll want to be closely involved in managing your business, right? The managing director program does involve several steps and documentation, but don’t worry – at BrightPath Caribbean, our corporate services team and immigration team will work together seamlessly to guide you through the process. We’ll assist you with the business incorporation and licensing process while also helping you with your residency request as a managing director. Just keep in mind that residency under this program requires renewals and keeping your business active and fully compliant.

Investor Program

For those interested in obtaining residency in Sint Maarten through the investor program, a minimum real estate purchase of Naf 900,000 (approximately USD 500,000) is required. This program is ideal for individuals looking to invest in real estate while also gaining legal residency on the island. It’s important to note that residents under this program are not permitted to work. However, one of the advantages of the investor program in Sint Maarten is that it allows for indefinite residency once the required number of residency permits has been obtained without any gaps. Investing in real estate in Sint Maarten is a smart move, especially considering the absence of annual property taxes, the thriving real estate market, and the opportunity to protect assets through tools like a Private Fund Foundation or a company.

Work Permit

If you have been offered a job opportunity in St. Maarten, you can apply for a temporary residency under the work permit program. However, obtaining a work permit and residency involves several steps that need to be completed by both the applicant and the employer. It is important to note that both the work permit and residency need to be renewed as required by the labor department and immigration authorities. Obtaining a work permit can be a complicated and time-consuming process, and it is important to ensure that all the steps are followed correctly. If you are an employer considering hiring a foreign employee, we recommend that you schedule a consultation with our experts to guide you through the process. It is also important to note that work permits in St. Maarten can only be requested by an employer who is looking to bring a non-resident into their staff, and not by individuals who are considering coming to Sint Maarten and finding a job.

Preparing for the Move: Documents and Paperwork

Before moving to the Caribbean, Canadian citizens need to know that depending on the chosen program, some documents and requirements are different. All programs require standard documentation such as a birth certificate, marriage certificate, police record, proof of active health insurance that will cover you in Sint Maarten in case of emergency or an accepted Medevac plan, proof of sufficient means to support yourself, a valid passport and any specific document depending on the case.

The convenience of starting your residency process with BrightPath is how uncomplicated we can make things for you, starting with document ordering. With over 10 years of experience, we have secured partners in several countries that will allow us to obtain documents on your behalf, making the process smooth and streamlined.

Cost of Living and Financial Considerations

When moving to Sint Maarten, it’s crucial to consider the cost of living and financial implications. The cost of living can vary significantly between different Caribbean countries and even within different regions of the same country. Factors such as housing, transportation, healthcare, groceries, and utilities should be taken into account when estimating your budget.

In addition to the cost of living, it’s important to consider your financial situation and the availability of job opportunities or investment prospects in the Caribbean. Some individuals may choose to work remotely or start their own businesses, while others may seek employment or investment opportunities locally. Understanding the financial aspects and planning accordingly will help ensure a smooth transition and avoid any financial hardships.

The experienced professionals at BrightPath Caribbean are here to guide you in the right direction when it comes to tax consultancy advisory, ensuring yearly compliance for your business, and even providing real estate opportunities through our trusted affiliate, BrightFuture Realty. With our multidisciplinary team, you can rest assured that all your financial and real estate needs will be taken care of as you navigate your way through the immigration process in Sint Maarten.

Adapting to Caribbean Culture and Lifestyle

When you make the decision to move to Sint Maarten as a Canadian citizen, you are embarking on an exciting journey of adapting to a new culture and lifestyle. Each Caribbean country has its own distinct traditions, customs, and way of life, and Sint Maarten is no exception. It is essential to approach this transition with an open mind, respect for the local culture, and a willingness to fully embrace the vibrant customs that make Sint Maarten unique.

If you are seriously considering relocating to Sint Maarten, chances are you have already experienced the allure of the island and its captivating atmosphere. The relaxed lifestyle, surrounded by nature, warm weather, vibrant colors, and the soothing embrace of salty waters, is truly unmatched. Sint Maarten offers an enriching experience of various cultures coming together and fostering human connections.

Cultural integration on the island is a fascinating and rewarding experience. Sint Maarten is a melting pot of European and Caribbean influences, creating a diverse and dynamic community. From the vibrant local festivals and events to the multitude of languages spoken, residents and visitors have countless opportunities to immerse themselves in this rich cultural tapestry. Engaging in community activities, joining local clubs or organizations, and making a genuine effort to connect with the locals will not only help you integrate seamlessly into Sint Maarten’s culture but also enhance your overall experience of this remarkable island.

So, if you are seeking a new chapter in life filled with relaxation, natural beauty, vibrant culture, and the warmth of human connections, Sint Maarten is the perfect destination for you. Embrace the unique way of life this island offers and let it transform your world.

Choosing the Right Neighborhood for Your Lifestyle

It’s crucial to choose the right neighborhood when moving to the Caribbean as a Canadian citizen. Having the expertise of a seasoned realtor, apart from professional immigration assistance, is one of the keys to a successful relocation. By researching different areas of the island and visiting them with your realtor, you’ll gain a better understanding of what neighborhoods have to offer. Choosing the right neighborhood to purchase or rent a house in is never easy as there are many variables to consider. Safety, distance to work and schools, real estate prices, and traffic in the area are just a few examples. Additionally, you’ll have your own personal criteria, such as whether you want a pool, a view of the ocean or hills, and a garage or curbside parking.

If you don’t mind living a little far from nightlife, supermarkets, and the bustle of the city, you could consider neighborhoods like Guana Bay, Rice Hills Gardens, Pointe Blanche, Belair, or Mary’s Fancy. In some cases, whether you are looking to purchase or rent, you might get more space, a private pool, and even a backyard compared to other neighborhoods. You’ll get to enjoy more greenery, beautiful views of the island, and the hills.

On the other hand, if you want to be close to most of the restaurants, nightlife, popular beaches, and supermarkets, areas like Cole Bay, Simpson Bay, Pelikan Key, Philipsburg, or Cupecoy can give you the best of both worlds.

While these are certainly valid criteria when house hunting, we at BrightPath, along with our real estate partners, can help you find the perfect Caribbean home that meets your standards.


  1. What are the key immigration programs available for Canadian citizens moving to Sint Maarten, and what are their respective eligibility criteria? Canadian citizens considering relocating to Sint Maarten can explore various immigration programs such as the Penshonado Program for retirees, the Managing Director Program for business owners, the Investor Program for real estate investors, and the Work Permit Program for employment opportunities. Each program has specific eligibility requirements, including minimum investment thresholds, business incorporation, or employment offers, tailored to different needs and circumstances.
  2. What documents and paperwork are necessary for Canadian citizens to prepare when applying for residency in Sint Maarten, and how can BrightPath Caribbean streamline this process? Canadian citizens moving to Sint Maarten need to gather standard documentation like birth certificates, marriage certificates, police records, and proof of active health insurance. Depending on the chosen immigration program, additional documents may be required. BrightPath Caribbean, leveraging over a decade of experience, offers streamlined services, including document ordering through established partnerships in multiple countries, simplifying the residency process for clients.
  3. What factors should Canadian citizens consider when selecting a neighborhood in Sint Maarten, and how can BrightPath Caribbean assist in this decision-making process? Choosing the right neighborhood in Sint Maarten involves considering factors such as safety, proximity to amenities, real estate prices, and personal preferences like views or accessibility. BrightPath Caribbean, in collaboration with its real estate partners, provides expertise in identifying suitable neighborhoods aligned with clients’ criteria and preferences. With guidance from seasoned professionals, Canadian citizens can make informed decisions when purchasing or renting property in Sint Maarten.

Do you have additional questions?

Contact us today for a free consultation and let us guide you throughout the process!


Moving to Sint Maarten as a U.S. Citizen

Sint Maarten is a magnet for Americans seeking opportunities in business, real estate investments, work, retirement, or simply a more relaxed way of life. Its strategic location and excellent transportation connections to the U.S., South America, and Europe have positioned Sint Maarten as the bustling business hub of the eastern Caribbean islands. And let’s not forget the breathtaking sunsets, pristine beaches, and crystal-clear waters that create an everlasting vacation ambiance.

Sint Maarten provides Americans with unique environments to invest, work, and live in. However, emigrating overseas can be a logistical challenge, involving extensive paperwork and time-consuming procedures, and generally speaking, many countries demand residence and/or working permits for immigrants.


The Dutch-American Friendship Treaty

The Dutch-American Friendship Treaty is an important aspect to consider for Americans looking to relocate to Sint Maarten. This treaty, also known as the DAFT, allows US Nationals to easily request legal residency status and establish in Sint Maarten without the need for a work permit.

This unique agreement between the United States and the Netherlands provides a streamlined process for Americans to start a new chapter in their lives on this beautiful Caribbean island. Under the Dutch-American Friendship Treaty, eligible individuals can apply for an indefinite residency permit, and work without the need for a separate work permit, establish a business, or simply retire and enjoy their golden years.


Employment in St. Maarten for American nationals is easier than in most other Caribbean territories. Because of the Dutch-American Friendship Treaty, American nationals are treated for legal residency purposes similar to Dutch nationals.

As St. Maarten’s most trusted, and recognized, immigration services provider, BrightPath can offer you services such as preparation, filing, and monitoring of an immigration application for a St. Maarten permanent residence permit.  A separate application for a work permit through the Labor Department is not required, as the Declaration by Law applies to United States nationals and therefore covers both the right to residency and work.  The purchase of real estate is not a requirement either.
Schedule your consultation here to learn more about how you can obtain permanent residency in St Maarten for employment purposes, without having to purchase real estate.  If you already rent or own real estate, congratulations!

Working fully remote from Sint Maarten

Living the dream of having a spectacular view while you work, or living within walking distance from a crystal clear beach is possible when you work remotely. The DAFT also allows Americans to work fully remotely from Sint Maarten. In today’s digital age, more and more professionals are embracing the freedom and flexibility of remote work. With reliable internet connections and modern infrastructure, Sint Maarten provides the perfect backdrop for remote workers to thrive. Working remotely from Sint Maarten not only offers a picturesque setting but also allows for a better work-life balance and the opportunity to truly embrace the island’s relaxed way of life.

BrightPath’s Assistance

The key to a smooth transition is having the correct advice and assistance with all the elements of your relocation, and that’s when BrightPath Caribbean comes in. Our multidisciplinary team can assist you from the very beginning, providing comprehensive support with your residency request and document ordering. This means that while we handle all the necessary paperwork, you can spend your days relaxing and enjoying the beautiful beaches of Sint Maarten, sipping on refreshing piña coladas.

With BrightPath by your side, the process of obtaining residency as a US Citizen becomes effortless. Our team will not only guide you through the application process but also track, submit, and monitor your entire immigration process. We understand that navigating the complexities of immigration can be overwhelming, which is why we strive to make the experience as seamless and stress-free as possible.

In addition to our immigration services, BrightPath also offers a range of other valuable services to facilitate your relocation to Sint Maarten. We provide business incorporation services, helping you establish your own business on the island. Whether you’re an entrepreneur looking to launch a new venture or an established business owner seeking to expand into the Caribbean market, our team can assist you every step of the way.

Furthermore, BrightPath can also help with bank account opening services, ensuring that you have access to the financial resources you need to support your new life in Sint Maarten. We understand the importance of having a reliable banking system to manage your finances, and we can guide you through the process of setting up a bank account that suits your individual needs.

If you require additional services related to relocation, such as accounting, tax, and legal advisory services, real estate assistance, architectural design, or construction, BrightPath can facilitate those connections as well. While we do not directly provide these services, we have established partnerships with trusted professionals in these fields. We can refer you to the right experts and introduce you to reputable third-party providers who can assist you with your specific needs.

More Positive Things to Consider

When considering a move to Sint Maarten, there are more important factors to take into account. These include proximity to home, quality of life, currency, insurance, medevac options, and shipping.

Proximity to home is a crucial factor for many Americans looking to relocate. Sint Maarten offers the perfect balance of being far enough away to experience a new culture and lifestyle, yet close enough to ensure easy travel back to the United States. With direct flights available from major U.S. cities, you can be back home in just a couple of hours if needed.

The quality of life on the island is another aspect to consider. Sint Maarten showcases a laid-back and relaxed lifestyle and atmosphere, perfect for those seeking a more tranquil way of life. From breathtaking sunsets to pristine beaches, the island offers a sense of relaxation and beauty that can be hard to find elsewhere. Additionally, the local community is welcoming and friendly, making it easy to integrate and feel at home.

Currency is also an important consideration when moving to a new country. In Sint Maarten, the official currency is the Netherlands Antillean guilder, but the U.S. dollar is widely accepted. This makes it convenient for Americans to manage their finances and eliminates the need for currency exchange.

When it comes to insurance and medical evacuation options, the island has modern medical facilities and a well-established healthcare system, ensuring that you and your family will be well taken care of in case of any emergencies. Additionally, there are several insurance providers and Medevac options that can take you back home to your preferred healthcare facility for major emergencies or treatments, giving you the peace of mind you need when it comes to your health.

Shipping is an important consideration when relocating to Sint Maarten. Whether you are moving your belongings or importing goods for your business or yourself, you’d be glad to know that St. Maarten does not have import/export taxes, this means you only have to pay for shipping and handling fees from your selected shipping company. Moreover, Sint Maarten has a well-developed port infrastructure and efficient customs procedures, making shipping hassle-free and convenient.

For those considering a move to Sint Maarten, the Dutch-American Friendship Treaty, along with the island’s numerous other advantages, makes it an enticing destination for Americans seeking new opportunities. Whether you are looking to invest in real estate, start a business, or simply enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle, Sint Maarten offers a welcoming community, breathtaking natural beauty, and a strategic location that allows for easy travel back to the United States. With the Dutch-American Friendship Treaty in place, the logistical challenges of emigrating overseas are greatly reduced, making Sint Maarten an even more attractive option for those seeking a fresh start in paradise.


  1. How does the Dutch-American Friendship Treaty simplify the process of relocating to Sint Maarten for U.S. citizens, and what privileges does it offer?

The Dutch-American Friendship Treaty, also known as DAFT, allows U.S. citizens to easily obtain legal residency status in Sint Maarten without the need for a separate work permit. Under this treaty, eligible individuals can apply for indefinite residency permits, work without additional permits, establish businesses, or retire on the island.

  1. What assistance does BrightPath Caribbean offer to U.S. citizens relocating to Sint Maarten, and how does their expertise streamline the immigration process?

BrightPath Caribbean provides comprehensive support to U.S. citizens throughout the relocation process, including assistance with residency applications, document ordering, and immigration paperwork. Their multidisciplinary team guides applicants through the entire immigration process, tracks and monitors applications, and ensures a seamless experience.

  1. What are some of the practical considerations that U.S. citizens should take into account when moving to Sint Maarten, such as proximity to home, currency, and healthcare options?

When moving to Sint Maarten, U.S. citizens should consider factors like proximity to home, quality of life, currency, insurance, medevac options, and shipping. The island offers a laid-back lifestyle, easy travel back to the U.S., acceptance of the U.S. dollar, modern healthcare facilities, and efficient shipping procedures, making it an attractive destination for relocation.


Do you have additional questions?

Contact us today for a free consultation and let us guide you throughout the process!


Moving to Sint Maarten with Pets: A Guide to Relocating to a Tropical Paradise

Planning to move to Sint Maarten with your furry friends? Discover everything you need to know about relocating with pets to this tropical paradise. From import permits to considerations for a smooth transition, and how BrightPath can assist you in the process.

Understanding the import requirements for bringing pets to Sint Maarten

We know it, pets are part of the family and if you relocate, they will relocate with you. As the most trusted immigration services provider in Sint Maarten, and throughout over ten years of experience and thousands of immigration files, BrightPath Caribbean has successfully assisted clients with their pets’ relocation as well. BrightPath provides hassle-free immigration services for humans and hassle-free relocation for pets.


When moving to Sint Maarten with your pets, it is important to understand the import requirements and process to ensure a smooth transition. Authorities will require a series of documentation from the pet and the owner, such as proof of vaccinations, health certificates, and a travel itinerary to provide an import permit.

  1.  Microchip: To enter Sint Maarten, your pet must be registered with an ISO microchip.
  2. Vaccinations: Your pet should be vaccinated for rabies at least 21 days and no more than 36 months before entry. Dogs must be vaccinated against distemper. hepatitis, parvovirus, leptospirosis, and adenovirus. Cats must be vaccinated against feline leukemia, feline rhinotracheitis, feline calicivirus, feline panleukopenia, feline pneumonitis, and feline immunodeficiency virus.
  3. Internal parasites test: Your pet must be tested for internal parasites, if the test comes out positive, the animal must be treated 21 days prior to departure with a registered medication.
  4. External parasites and cutaneous diseases: Your pet must be free of external parasites, if not, it must be treated with registered parasiticide within 14 days prior to departure. All animals must be free from observable cutaneous diseases.
  5. Rabies Certificate: The rabies vaccination certificate is a formal proof that your dog has been vaccinated against rabies and is required to enter Sint Maarten before arrival and administered between 30 days and one year of travel.
  6. Valid Health Certificate: The animal must be accompanied by a valid International Health Certificate, issued by an accredited veterinarian and endorsed by the official government veterinarian of the exporting country. Take note that Sint Maarten is not part of the European Union; and will not accept European pet passports as a valid international health certificate. The health certificate must be in English, Dutch, or accompanied by an official translation.
  7. Suitable Kennel: The animal must be transported in a suitable kennel according to the IATA regulations
  8. Travel Itinerary and transportation information: Pet owner should present a valid travel to the authorities a valid travel itinerary in a JPEG or a PDF file, and all transportation information must be provided, including vessel type, name, number, origin, and destination addresses.
  9. Animal information: a series of details is required to complete the import request, such as animal species, breed, sex, animal colors, age, microchip digits.
  10.  Additional requirements if necessary: Authorities could require additional details on your pet, their transportation, or any other information they consider necessary to grant entry to Sint Maarten.

All requirements also apply to service and emotional support animals.

Dogs and Cats from Central and South America are prohibited from entry to Sint Maarten.

Preparing your pet for travel and ensuring their well-being

Last-minute planning won’t cut it when it comes to moving pets internationally. It’s essential that you start making arrangements well in advance to avoid any complications or delays. Remember, your pets are counting on you to ensure a safe and hassle-free journey, so don’t leave anything to chance. Get started on your preparations today!

Before traveling to Sint Maarten, it is essential to prepare your pet for the journey and ensure their well-being throughout the process. Start by scheduling a visit to the veterinarian to ensure your pet is in good health and up to date on all vaccinations.

The next step is to contact the Team at BrightPath Caribbean to request more information on how we can assist you with the process for a successful pet import approval.

During the journey, it is important to provide your pet with a comfortable and secure travel crate or carrier in compliance with the IATA regulations. Make sure the crate is well-ventilated and large enough for your pet to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. It is also recommended to include familiar bedding and toys to help them feel more at ease. Make sure to contact your airline and ask them for all the details on their pet transport policy, and further details on transportation requirements.

Depending on how far you are traveling, during the travel, it is important to provide your pet with regular breaks for exercise and bathroom breaks. Keep them hydrated and make sure they have access to fresh water throughout the journey. It is also advisable to avoid feeding them a large meal right before travel to prevent any discomfort.

Once you arrive in Sint Maarten, it is important to help your pet adjust to the new environment. Gradually introduce them to their new surroundings and establish a routine. Weather is also a variable you need to consider; Sint Maarten might be warmer compared to what they are used to and some breeds adapt faster to warmer environments than others. Provide them with plenty of love, attention, and familiar items to help them feel secure in their new tropical home, and make sure to discuss it with your veterinarian for advice on the things you need to consider when relocating your pet to the Caribbean.

Tips for finding pet-friendly accommodation in Sint Maarten

When relocating with your pets, finding pet-friendly accommodation in Sint Maarten won’t be an issue, especially when you have the support of a local real estate agent.

Make sure to discuss with the real estate agent your requirements, this way property search will move faster. Consider that some properties may have size or breed restrictions, while others may require an additional pet deposit or monthly fee. It is important to clarify these details upfront to avoid any surprises.

Consider the layout, amenities, and location of the accommodation. Look for properties with pet-friendly features such as fenced yards, pet-friendly flooring, and easy access to outdoor areas. These features can contribute to a more comfortable living environment for both you and your furry companion. Keep in mind that If you are looking for yard space, you might not get a centrally located property, or maybe you rather have proximity to a beach and take your pet for daily walks. It all depends on what you and your pet need.

Exploring the pet-friendly activities and amenities in Sint Maarten

Sint Maarten offers a range of pet-friendly activities and amenities you can enjoy with your furry friend. Explore the beautiful beaches of the island and let your pet play with the sand and the waves, go for a walk around areas like the causeway bridge, or take your pet for an outdoor adventure on the many hiking trails all over the island, many of which end in beautiful peaceful beaches. One unique adventure you can have with your pet is the so-called Moses walk, a fun experience you will find right next to the Coralita lookout point.

If you’re looking for socialization opportunities for your pet, consider visiting pet-friendly cafes or restaurants. Some establishments in Sint Maarten have outdoor seating areas where you can enjoy a meal or a coffee while your pet relaxes by your side.

Lastly, don’t forget to check out local pet supply stores and veterinary clinics in Sint Maarten. These establishments can provide essential supplies, grooming services, and healthcare for your pet, ensuring their well-being during your stay on the island.

Quick notes on outdoor Activities:

  • Take your time when introducing your pet to new experiences and allow them to adjust at their own pace.
  • It’s important to keep them hydrated as they may feel the effects of the tropical heat more quickly.
  • Consider protecting their paws by investing in boots, shoes, or paw protectors for long walks. This will help prevent injuries and keep them safe from hot surfaces.
  • As a responsible pet parent, remember to keep your pets on a leash when surrounded by other people and dogs. This will give you more control over your pet and ensure their safety. Additionally, always clean up after your pet to maintain the beauty and cleanliness of the island that we all cherish.
  • Play, have fun, enjoy the island, and make memories.

Settling in: Tips for helping your pet adjust to the tropical environment.

Moving to a tropical environment like Sint Maarten can be an exciting change for both you and your pet. However, it is important to help your pet adjust to the new climate and surroundings.

Start by gradually acclimating your pet to the warmer temperatures. Provide them with access to shaded areas and fresh water to prevent overheating. It is also important to protect them from direct sunlight, especially during the hottest hours of the day.

Keep an eye out for any tropical pests or diseases that may affect your pet. Consult with a local veterinarian to ensure your pet is protected against common tropical parasites such as fleas, ticks, and heartworms.

Lastly, make sure your pet has access to plenty of fresh water to stay hydrated in the tropical heat. Consider providing them with a cooling mat or a small pool of water to help them cool down when needed.

With a little patience and care, your pet will soon adjust to the tropical environment of Sint Maarten and enjoy their new life in paradise.


1. What are the key import requirements for bringing pets to Sint Maarten, and how can BrightPath Caribbean assist in navigating this process?
Importing pets to Sint Maarten requires documentation such as proof of vaccinations, health certificates, and a travel itinerary for an import permit. BrightPath Caribbean offers assistance with understanding and fulfilling these requirements, ensuring a smooth transition for pets relocating to the island.

2. How can pet owners prepare their furry companions for international travel and ensure their well-being during the journey to Sint Maarten?
Pet owners should start preparations well in advance, including scheduling a veterinarian visit for health checks and vaccinations. BrightPath Caribbean can provide guidance on the process for a successful pet import approval. During travel, pets should be provided with a comfortable travel crate, regular breaks for exercise, and access to fresh water.

3. What tips and considerations should pet owners keep in mind when finding pet-friendly accommodation and exploring activities with their pets in Sint Maarten?
Pet owners should discuss their requirements with a local real estate agent to find pet-friendly accommodation, considering factors like size restrictions and proximity to outdoor areas. BrightPath Caribbean can offer assistance in navigating these considerations. Additionally, exploring pet-friendly activities such as beach outings and hiking trails can enhance the experience for both owners and pets in Sint Maarten.


Do you have additional questions?

Contact us today for a free consultation and let us guide you throughout the process!


Residence permits can now be petitioned under Co-habitation agreements

PHILIPSBURG–Couples no longer have to get married in order for the legal partner to apply for a residence permit for the undocumented partner.

A residence permit can now be applied for by using a [Co-habitation agreement] – an agreement indicating that couples are in a common law relationship. Permits can also be applied for under certain circumstances through what was described as “continued residence” of persons who once held a temporary residence permit.

These are amongst the areas regulated in a new Ministerial Decree signed by Justice Minister Anna Richardson on September 22, which is aimed at further improving the application process for residency permits. Some details of the new decree were provided in a press release issued to the media on Tuesday.

According to the press release, after extensive discussions with legal and policy advisors, one key aspect reintroduced in the Ministerial Decree seeks to offer applicants the option to apply for a residency permit through a concubine agreement (“samenlevingsovereenkomst”), eliminating the requirement for couples to marry to regulate their status. “Acknowledging past abuses of this criteria, the honourable minister, in conjunction with the Immigration Department, has implemented appropriate ‘checks and balances’ to confirm the legitimacy of relationships,” it was stated in the release.

Another significant reintroduction in the decree, the release continued, allows individuals to apply for their residence permit through continued residence, under certain circumstances. This applies to applicants who have held a previous temporary residence permit with the aim of family formation and family reunification. The permit for the purpose of continued residence will be granted for a period of at least two years without restrictions, the release stated.

Additionally, the decree also addresses requests from non-nationals whose marital or cohabitation status has changed in accordance with paragraph 4.6.2 of the guidelines. Exceptions, such as cases involving abuse and/or the death of a spouse, will now be granted for the purpose of continued residence. Specific requirements for eligibility under this category are further outlined in the ministerial decree.

The decree also regulates how dispensation (an exemption) from the out-of-country requirement is granted by the minister of justice. With the updated Ministerial Decree, once dispensation is granted, applicants will have eight weeks to regulate their legal status. Failure to collect the dispensation order within this period will result in automatic expiration, and the applicant will be deemed to have resided illegally in St. Maarten during that period.

The Ministerial Decree was published on Friday, September 29, in the National Gazette and the public is invited to view it. It is also available on the website of the Ministry of Justice and posted on the associated social media networks.

According to the release, the signing of the new Ministerial Decree followed the adoption of the Ministerial Decree on April 29, 2021, “wherein practical circumstances necessitated revisions.” The release stated that the primary objective of the new Ministerial Decree is “to provide applicants with a fair opportunity, better understanding and clear guidance on specific aspects outlined in the guidelines of the National Ordinance on Admissions and Expulsions LTU.”


– Source: Permission to republish full article obtained from The Daily Herald. Original article dated 13 December 2023.


Do you have any questions?

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Moving to Sint Maarten: The Ultimate Guide

Discover everything you need to know about relocating to the stunning island of Sint Maarten with this comprehensive guide. From how to obtain residency to the best neighborhoods, lifestyle, and culture, we’ve got you covered.

The Uniqueness of Sint Maarten: An Introduction to the Island

Sint Maarten is a unique island located in the Caribbean Sea. It is the smallest island in the world that is shared by two nations, the Kingdom of the Netherlands and France. This means that while the southern part of the island belongs to the Dutch side, the northern part is French territory, and you can freely transit between the two nations.

The island is known for its breathtaking beaches (37 in total), crystal-clear turquoise waters, and vibrant nightlife. Sint Maarten’s cultural heritage has been a for so many years a mix of influences from all over the world. From the native Arawaks and Caribs, to Spaniards, French, Dutch, British, and even the Danes and Africans, and their present reflection in the blend of cultures of all nationalities currently living on this Caribbean Island. Sint Maarten is the most beautiful expression of a multicultural community.

For those considering making Sint Maarten their home, at BrightPath Caribbean we understand how important and life-changing this decision could be and we are ready to guide you through the process. Whether it is retirement or you’re just looking for a relaxed style of living, this article will give you a better understanding of the process.

Legal Residency: Navigating the Legalities

In Sint Maarten, you can apply for legal residency under different programs, and it will all depend on what your plans are. We always recommend you book a consultation with our team to get tailored advice to your specific needs. The requirements are straightforward and like any other country, the documents needed go from a birth certificate and police record to health insurance and proof of savings. Let’s look at some of the programs under which you can apply for residency and how convenient it is to do it with BrightPath:

Managing Director Program

When your Sint Maarten dream includes setting up a business on the friendly island you will be able to apply for temporary residency under this program, after all, you might want to manage your business very closely, correct? The managing director program requires several steps and documentation that will need to be executed or requested in a logical order for the process to move forward seamlessly. This is when at BrightPath, the corporate services team and the Immigration team work together to provide you with the business incorporation and licensing process while getting started on your residency request as a managing director. Residency under the managing director program requires renewals and keeping your business active and fully compliant.

Penshonado Program

Hooray! You have decided to enjoy your retirement in Sint Maarten. The process for the pensioner program goes along with a real estate transaction. Once a temporary residency has been approved, you are allowed to live in Sint Maarten for the first year without having to buy property. This is great because this period will allow you to physically see properties and get to know the neighborhoods, giving you the perfect timeframe to find the property you’ve been dreaming of, however, when it’s time to apply for the residency renewal you will have to show the purchase of a property for a minimum amount of Naf 450,000 (equivalent to USD 250,000). The team at BrightPath can assist you with your residency request, and asset protection, and point you in the right direction for qualified tax advice. While the agents at our affiliate BrightFuture Realty can help you navigate the real estate market in St. Maarten.

With no property taxes, a lower tax bracket for those over 52, and the possibility of protecting your assets with a Private Fund Foundation, no wonder why, the retirement program is so popular.

Investor Program

Prior to applying for residency under the investor program, a real estate purchase of a minimum amount of Naf 900,000 (approximately USD 500,000) is required. Residents under this program are not allowed to work. This program is perfect for those looking to invest in real estate with the benefit of being allowed to reside legally on the island. The investor program requires renewals and unlike other Caribbean nations, it allows you to apply for an indefinite residency permit once you’ve reached the required number of residency permits without any gaps. Investing in Real Estate is a great move, especially in countries like Sint Maarten where homeowners don’t have to worry about annual property taxes, the real estate market is booming, and can protect their assets with tools like a Private Fund Foundation or a company.

Work Permit

Temporary residency under the work permit program is possible for those who have been offered a job opportunity with an organization on the island. Works permits require several steps from the applicant and the business. Both the work permit and the residency need to be renewed as required by the labor department and the immigration authorities. Work permits can be lengthy and confusing when they’re not done properly, if your company is considering bringing in a foreign employee, we recommend you book a consultation with our experts. Work permits in St. Maarten are requested by an employer looking to bring a non-resident into their staff, and not by individuals considering coming to Sint Maarten and finding a job.

Dutch – American Friendship Treaty for US Nationals

Due to the geographical proximity and Sint Maarten’s popularity as a vacation destination for US Nationals, residency requests under the DAFT program are quite common. Under this program, applicants are allowed to work without the need for a separate work permit, and no renewals are required. Applying for residency with BrightPath as a US National is convenient and hassle-free, you can start the process from the comfort of your home and our team will handle everything, including document ordering for your birth certificate, marriage certificate, police record, assistance with pets import if needed; we can refer you to a Sint Maarten tax advisor and put you in the expert hands of our real estate partners, whether you’re looking to sell your property in the US and make a full exit or just purchasing or renting in Sint Maarten.

In addition to the most requested residency permits, there are a few more options available for those looking to relocate to Sint Maarten. One such option is the student permit, which is designed for individuals who are enrolled in a local school or educational institution. This permit allows students to reside on the island while pursuing their education. Another option is the family permit, which is ideal for those who want to bring a direct family member to Sint Maarten. Whether it’s a spouse, child, or parent, this permit allows families to reunite and start a new life together on the island.

It’s worth noting that the process of obtaining residency can be time-consuming, so it’s important to start the application process well in advance of your planned relocation date. Working with a reputable immigration firm like BrightPath Caribbean can help streamline the process and ensure that all necessary documents are in order.

Whether you’re considering retirement, starting a business, or simply looking for a change of scenery, Sint Maarten offers a variety of residency options to suit your needs. With its stunning beaches, vibrant culture, and welcoming community, it’s not surprising that more and more people are choosing to make Sint Maarten their home. So, start planning your move today and prepare to embark on an exciting new chapter in your life on this beautiful Caribbean island.

Finding Accommodation: Your Home Away from Home

Relocation means, real estate. Finding suitable accommodation is an important aspect of moving to Sint Maarten. Whether you’re looking for a temporary rental or a permanent home, there are various options available to suit different budgets and preferences.

Popular areas for expats include Simpson Bay, Cupecoy, Guana Bay, Cole Bay, and Oyster Pond. These areas offer a range of housing options, from beachfront villas to cozy apartments. It’s advisable to engage the services of a local real estate agent who can assist you in finding the perfect place to call home.

When searching for the ideal neighborhood to purchase or rent a home, the decision can be a daunting task. There are countless factors to consider, including safety, proximity to work and schools, real estate prices, and traffic. Moreover, personal preferences play a significant role, such as desiring a pool, an ocean view, or direct access to the beach.

Before making your decision, it’s crucial to carefully evaluate all these factors and create a personalized checklist of your desires and must-haves. Do you picture yourself unwinding by a sparkling pool, savoring the awe-inspiring vistas of the ocean, or waking up to the serene beauty of the hills? Are you in need of the convenience of a garage or are you perfectly content with curbside parking? Take the time to thoroughly assess your preferences and needs, as finding the perfect neighborhood is key to creating a comfortable and enjoyable living experience in Sint Maarten.

Other aspects you need to consider when moving completely out of your country are your assets back home and in some cases tax exposure. If you are moving to Sint Maarten from the US, our multidisciplinary team can assist and guide you with the task of selling your property and making a clean exit, while requesting your residency permit and looking for your new place.

Quick tips on what to consider when looking for a property in Sint Maarten

When looking for a property in Sint Maarten, there are several factors to consider. First and foremost, it’s essential to determine your budget and your needs. However, these are a few things that you and your real estate agent need to keep in mind, especially if you’re a first-time owner in the Caribbean.

  • Maintenance and inspections: Don’t be afraid to ask how often or when was the last time something in a property had maintenance, houses in the Caribbean often require keeping up with the air conditioning, pool, septic tank, generator, solar panels, and if you’re buying, those are things you need to consider as well as a home inspection if the property has been through any natural disaster, a major repair or is older than 15 years.
  • Hurricane shutters: Yes, it is part of the Caribbean, and everyone has had to learn how to prepare for the hurricane season. One essential part is the protection that hurricane shutters give to your property, apart from making sure that your property is hurricane-proof, having properly installed and working shutters is important.
  • HOA Fees and Insurance: It’s very important to make sure you understand what the Home Owners Association fee includes, in most cases includes maintenance of common areas like pool, gym, and security, and in other cases also includes insurance for the property. Your realtor should be able to provide you with all the necessary information.
  • Is the property owned by an individual, a PFF, or a company: It might not seem like something of importance, since the basics of the real estate transaction are quite similar, however, it makes a world of a difference, and your realtor needs to be able to give you the correct information and to make sure that in all cases everything is up to date. For example, if the property is under a company or a private fund foundation, it is key to have all documentation, taxes, and banking details in good order, otherwise, you may have a sale-purchase transaction “jammed” for an undefined period of time.

By considering these factors when looking for a property in Sint Maarten, you can ensure that you find a home that fits your lifestyle and provides a comfortable and enjoyable living experience on this beautiful Caribbean Island.

Working Or Starting a Business in Sint Maarten: Job Opportunities and Business Environment

Sint Maarten offers job opportunities and a favorable business environment for those looking to work or start a business on the island. The tourism industry is a major contributor to the economy, providing employment opportunities in various sectors such as hospitality, entertainment, and services.

In addition to the tourism industry, Sint Maarten also has a growing cargo and travel sector and opportunities in construction, and the marine industry. It’s important to research and book a consultation with our team, to understand the requirements for working or starting a business in Sint Maarten. Depending on your nationality your employer might need, or not, to request a work permit, and in all cases if you are not born on the island or any of the Dutch island that only requires proof of registration, you will have to go through an immigration process.

Starting your own business in Sint Maarten is possible and you’ll find opportunities in a wide range of sectors. Foreigners can own 100% of their business and can request a residency permit under the managing director program for up to two non-national directors. Starting a business in Sint Maarten requires quite a few properly executed steps for the process to move smoothly, particularly when your business incorporation is the starting point for an immigration process. At BrightPath, the Corporate Services team can assist you with all the legalities, such as incorporation, licenses, banking, and registration in other departments, so you can focus on what’s important; your business.

Settling In: Embracing the Sint Maarten Lifestyle

Once you’ve made the move to Sint Maarten, it’s time to embrace the island’s unique lifestyle. The laid-back Caribbean vibe combined with the influences of both Dutch and French cultures creates a vibrant and welcoming community. Take the time to explore the island’s stunning beaches, try local cuisine, and participate in festivals and events. Engage with the local community and make new friends who can help you settle into your new life in Sint Maarten

How easy it is to integrate into the Sint Maarten Community?

Cultural integration in Sint Maarten is a fascinating experience. The island is a melting pot of cultures, with influences from European and Caribbean traditions. As a result, residents and visitors can easily immerse themselves in a diverse and vibrant community. From the colorful local festivals and events to the various languages spoken.

In terms of languages, English is widely spoken and understood on the island, making it easy for English-speaking individuals to communicate and navigate their daily lives. However, due to its history and cultural diversity, you will also hear Dutch, French, Spanish, and Papiamento being spoken (just to name a few). Embracing the local language and learning a few key phrases can greatly enhance your experience and help you connect with the community on a deeper level.

When it comes to cuisine, Sint Maarten offers a mouthwatering mix of flavors. From traditional Caribbean, Spanish, French, Italian, and even Indian dishes to the most amazing fusion cuisine proposals Indian-Caribbean or Mexican-Caribbean, or street food with Caribbean twists, authentic Italian gelato, first-class French Baked goods, and Island-made chocolate treats. in Sint Maarten, there is something to satisfy every palate. When we talk about traditional Sint Maarten cuisine don’t miss the opportunity to sample local specialties such as saltfish and Johnny cakes, jerk chicken, and delectable seafood stews. The island’s vibrant food scene is a true reflection of its multicultural heritage. Sint Maarten’s culinary proposal is among the best in the Caribbean!

Education system

In terms of education, Sint Maarten offers a range of educational institutions, including international schools, public schools, and private schools. The primary and high school education system follows the Dutch, American, or Canadian model depending on the institution. Families relocating to the island can rest assured that their children will have access to quality education.

Medical care 

When it comes to healthcare, Sint Maarten offers a comprehensive healthcare system. The island has the main Hospital “Sint Maarten Medical Centre” and several Doctor’s offices conveniently located all over the Dutch side. It’s important to note that healthcare in Sint Maarten is not free, so it’s advisable to have health insurance coverage to ensure that you have access to affordable healthcare whether it is private insurance or through the government’s medical insurance called SZV.

What about shipping my belongings or buying them online?

Shipping and buying online on the island is relatively straightforward. Sint Maarten has the best-developed cargo infrastructure for the Eastern Caribbean and is well-connected to major shipping routes. This makes it easy to ship goods to and from the island. Additionally, Sint Maarten has no import/export taxes, which means you will only pay for the cargo company services. It is very common for residents to buy online in any online shopping platform and bring it to the island using one of the many cargo companies, allowing residents to conveniently purchase items online.


In terms of events, Sint Maarten is known for its vibrant and lively festivals and events throughout the year. From Carnival celebrations to music festivals and regattas, there is always something exciting happening on the island. These events provide opportunities for residents and visitors to immerse themselves in the local culture, enjoy live music, indulge in delicious food, and connect with the community.

Overall, Sint Maarten offers a unique and enriching lifestyle for residents. The island provides a welcoming environment for individuals looking to relocate. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a fresh start, Sint Maarten has something to offer everyone.


  1. What are the residency options available for individuals moving to Sint Maarten, and how does BrightPath assist in navigating the legalities associated with each program? Residency options in Sint Maarten include the Managing Director Program, Penshonado Program, Investor Program, Work Permit, Dutch-American Friendship Treaty for US Nationals, as well as student and family permits. BrightPath provides tailored guidance and support for each program, assisting with documentation, real estate transactions, and asset protection.
  2. What factors should individuals consider when choosing a neighborhood to live in Sint Maarten, and how can a local real estate agent assist in finding suitable accommodation? Factors to consider include safety, proximity to work and schools, real estate prices, and personal preferences like beach access or ocean views. Local real estate agents can help individuals navigate these factors and find the perfect neighborhood and accommodation that suits their lifestyle and budget.
  3. What are some important considerations when purchasing a property in Sint Maarten, and how can BrightPath’s multidisciplinary team assist in the process? Important considerations include property maintenance, hurricane preparedness, HOA fees, and understanding property ownership structures. BrightPath’s team can provide guidance on property inspections, insurance, and ensuring legal compliance with property ownership structures.
  4. What job opportunities and business environments are available in Sint Maarten, and how does the immigration process work for individuals seeking employment or starting a business? Job opportunities exist in sectors like tourism, cargo and travel, construction, and the marine industry. The immigration process involves obtaining work permits or residency permits under specific programs. BrightPath offers consultation and assistance to navigate the requirements for working or starting a business in Sint Maarten.
  5. How does the lifestyle in Sint Maarten reflect its multicultural heritage, and what are some key aspects to consider regarding education, healthcare, shipping belongings, buying online, and community events? Sint Maarten’s lifestyle reflects its diverse cultural influences, evident in its cuisine, languages, and community events. Key aspects to consider include the education system, healthcare access, shipping logistics, online shopping convenience, and participation in vibrant local events and festivals.


Do you have additional questions?

Contact us today for a free consultation and let us guide you throughout the process!


Expert Tips for a Seamless Real Estate Transition from USA to St. Maarten. 

Breathtaking views, sun-kissed shores, and tranquility, combined with the potential of a wise real estate investment, makes St. Maarten an irresistible destination for property enthusiasts and people looking to relocate to this unique island.   

BrightPath Caribbean offers complete relocation solutions with our team of experts and professional referral partners. Book a consultation today and start a flawless transition from the USA to St. Maarten.   

Now, let the expertise of  American real estate attorney, André Williams, be your compass to the best direction with three tips if you have been contemplating relocation from the USA to St. Maarten while managing real estate assets.    


Why does André Williams like St. Maarten? And what are his expert tips?

I am attracted to St. Maarten like you because of its perfect climate, azure ocean views, and secluded tranquility. It also affords an incredible opportunity to buy a primary or second home or purchase commercial property with a high rate of return. If you are seriously interested in purchasing a property in St. Maarten, you want to engage BrightPath Caribbean to help you find a property. Similarly, I am a real estate attorney and real estate investor so I can help you navigate the process of compliance with US tax rules and provide guidance on estate planning and corporate structuring for your real estate purchase in St. Maarten.   


Finding a Property

You should think about purchasing property of any kind in St. Maarten much like pursuing a long-term relationship. You should research the demography of the island and its culture, visit the island and stay in a prospective location long enough to become familiar with the area. You may also want to explore the community of expatriates here and local customs. Vivian and her team at BrightPath Caribbean can help you learn the market and evaluate whether you are getting a “good deal”. The good news is that you have an excuse to pack your bags for this due diligence.  


Foreign Ownership Rules  

Many countries have specific limitations on foreign ownership of land. For example, in Mexico, there are limitations on foreign ownership of property within 31 miles of the coast. In other countries, non-citizens may be required to obtain special residence permits or register with a government agency prior to closing a home purchase.   

St. Maarten has no restrictions on foreign ownership and encourages real estate investment by persons from other countries.  


U.S. Tax Rules/ Estate Planning/ Corporate Structure  

The last piece of foreign property ownership is accounting for any income or gain you may accrue due to the property. As a U.S. citizen, you are required to report to the IRS on your worldwide transactions. In addition, there are some other very onerous reporting requirements and penalties of $10,000 or more so please consult with me at the beginning of a transaction to ensure that your transaction is structured properly, and you are protected from exposure.   

Foreign real estate can be a smart investment – as long as you do your due diligence upfront, consult with an experienced US-based real estate attorney and advisors, and keep good records as you go. 


Do you have any questions?

Contact us today for a free consultation and let us guide you throughout the process!


How does banking in Sint Maarten work?

The Caribbean region is a diverse and enchanting destination that not only boasts stunning natural beauty but also holds significant economic potential and investment opportunities. Year after year, more and more individuals are turning their attention to this vibrant area, whether it’s for significant real estate projects or the desire to start a business or retire in a place that offers a better quality of life. As the team at BrightPath Caribbean engages with clients and conducts consultations, one of the most frequently asked questions is: What about banking? 

The answer to this question is not straightforward and depends on several factors. Let’s delve deeper into the world of banking in the Caribbean, with a specific focus on personal and business banking in Sint Maarten. 

When it comes to personal banking in Sint Maarten, opening a personal bank account is only possible if you are a legal resident. The process is quite similar to that of any other banking institution. You will need to provide documents such as your identification or residency document, proof of income, and perhaps a letter of recommendation from another bank. Additionally, you may be required to make an initial deposit to the account. All of these requirements must be fulfilled in person at the bank branch of your preference. If you are interested in opening a bank account but need assistance becoming a legal resident first, we are here to help. Request your free consultation with us, and we will guide you through the process step by step. 

On the other hand, establishing a business bank account in Sint Maarten is a slightly more complex procedure. Fortunately, at BrightPath, our corporate services team is well-equipped to handle your banking needs from start to finish. Setting up a business bank account in Sint Maarten requires an operational business or private fund foundation with all the necessary documentation to prove proper incorporation and fiscal activity. Our team can provide expert guidance and support throughout this process, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free experience for your business. 

opening bank account in sint maarten

When it comes to selecting the right banking institution for your business, it is essential to consider various factors. You will need to assess the services and rates offered by different banks, taking into account the specific requirements of your business model. For example, if your business relies on receiving credit card payments, you may need a bank that provides suitable merchant account services. Alternatively, if your business operates predominantly online, you may require seamless access to online banking facilities. Keep in mind that each service may entail additional documentation and paperwork, so it is crucial to be prepared for these requirements. 

Navigating the process of setting up business bank accounts in Sint Maarten can be quite arduous without proper assistance. That’s where our corporate services team comes in. With our in-depth knowledge of the local banking landscape and our strong network of banking partners, we can guide you through the process, ensuring that you meet all the necessary requirements and can focus on running your business smoothly. 

Banking in the Caribbean, including Sint Maarten, presents a diverse range of opportunities for individuals and businesses alike. The Caribbean banking sector continues to evolve and adapt to the changing needs of its customers. Whether you are a resident, investor, or entrepreneur, exploring the banking options in the Caribbean can provide you with a solid foundation for financial growth and prosperity. 

At BrightPath, we understand the importance of personalized guidance when it comes to banking in the Caribbean. Our dedicated team of experts is here to help you navigate the intricacies of the banking industry, ensuring that you make informed decisions that align with your financial goals. Book a free consultation with our team today, and let us help you explore the exciting world of Caribbean banking. With our support, you can seize the opportunities that this beautiful region has to offer and embark on a path of financial success. 



1. What are the requirements for opening a personal bank account in Sint Maarten, and what assistance does BrightPath offer for individuals who need help becoming legal residents?
To open a personal bank account in Sint Maarten, one must be a legal resident and provide documents such as identification, proof of income, and potentially a letter of recommendation. BrightPath offers assistance in becoming a legal resident through a free consultation, guiding individuals through the process step by step.

2. What is the process for establishing a business bank account in Sint Maarten, and how can BrightPath’s corporate services team simplify this process for businesses?
Establishing a business bank account in Sint Maarten requires an operational business or private fund foundation with proper documentation for incorporation and fiscal activity. BrightPath’s corporate services team can provide expert guidance and support throughout this process, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free experience for businesses.

3. What factors should businesses consider when selecting a banking institution in Sint Maarten, and how can BrightPath assist in navigating these considerations?
Businesses in Sint Maarten should consider factors such as services offered, rates, and specific business requirements like merchant account services or online banking facilities. BrightPath can assist by providing insights into the local banking landscape, helping businesses choose the right banking partner, and guiding them through the process to meet all necessary requirements.


Do you have additional questions?

Contact us today for a free consultation and let us guide you throughout the process!


What is a Private Fund Foundation and why should you consider it as an option to protect your assets?

For many years, BrightPath Caribbean remains recognized as the most trusted corporate and immigration services provider for St. Maarten and the English Caribbean.  For this reason, is that we have in-depth knowledge and proven efficiency and skillset to offer you integrated services such as real estate sale and purchase (in participation with our affiliate BrightFuture Realty), and in the interest of your assets and investments, services such as the creation of Private Fund Foundations, are executed by BrightPath within very short timeframes and with your wishes and estate planning needs in mind. 

Every day a good number of real estate transactions happen in Sint Maarten, and do you know what most big investments have in common? A Private Fund Foundation protecting the asset.  

A Private Fund Foundation (PFF), known in Dutch as “Stichting Particulier Fonds” (SPF), is a legal entity protecting assets, investments, or funds. With the assistance and experience of the team of professionals at BrightPath Caribbean, foreigners can create and fully participate in a PFF without the required participation of any external members or shareholders.  

Private Fund Foundations can make distributions to the incorporators and others without having a social or charitable purpose. Beneficiaries, if named, can have general or limited rights. When discussing the intents and purposes that you wish to accomplish in the formation of your PFF, rely on the expertise of BrightPath and schedule your free consultation here.  Our tax advisory team at Haven SXM can support our efforts and offer you the monthly and annual services required to maintain the compliance of your PFF with the local tax authorities. 

A Private Fund Foundation can own real estate. However, actively buying and selling real estate may be considered a business or enterprise. Collecting rent from tenants in owned real estate is not a business or an enterprise. If you are considering purchasing real estate in Sint Maarten, your representative at BrightPath can work in collaboration with one of our real estate agents at our affiliate BrightFuture Realty to synchronize the establishment of your PFF before submitting an offer to purchase.  This is important to consider especially when you want to ensure that your real estate purchase offer and the establishment of your PFF are contingent upon each other.   

Private Found Foundations are exempt from profit taxes (corporate and income taxes). This exemption rests upon one condition: the PFF does not operate a business or an enterprise for profit. However, the law states that investment activities and acting as a holding company do not qualify as a business or an enterprise.  

What are the benefits of a Private Fund Foundation in Sint Maarten?

Yes, it is important to point out that you can own real estate in your name (private ownership) and a PFF is not required, especially when considering there are up-front fees involved.  Therefore, establishing the benefits of a PFF is essential before deciding to create one with BrightPath.   

When owning property in your name, outside of a PFF, income from real estate may be taxed at 47,5% income tax rate (depending on your worldwide income).  For persons who intend to purchase real estate for vacation or investment purposes, this alone may be a key deciding factor.  Additionally, matters regarding inheritance tax may also surface without the protection of a PFF.  So, if you are considering retirement and/or estate planning it is essential to mention that a PFF is not subject to inheritance tax, alleviating your beneficiaries of any financial burdens in your inheritance planning. –  

When selling one or more real estate assets held by the PFF, transfer tax that is usually absorbed in full by the buyer (approximately five percent of the value of the sale-purchase transaction) will not be applicable, as the PFF can be transferred with all assets it holds.  This adds a layer of benefit to any prospective buyer on the property as the savings on the transfer tax would be attractive in the form of savings to any interested buyer. 

Without a PFF in place, it is also important to consider that you may be exposed to minimal or no asset protection in case something happens with your investments (for example, bankruptcy and/or legal or federal claims). 

beachfront condo for sale

Other benefits of a Private Fund Foundation to consider include:

Total Foreign Participation:  A Sint Maarten PFF can be formed by a foreign founder and have foreign beneficiaries.  

No Taxes: The PFF is tax-exempt unless actively engaged in business or enterprise activities for profit. However, U.S. residents and everyone subject to global income taxes must report all income to their governments.  

Privacy: If beneficiaries are appointed, their names never appear in any public records.  

Time for Formation: With BrightPath, a Sint Maarten Private Fund Foundation can be formed and registered as fast as two business days if required by our client(s). 

Passive rental income is tax-exempt (except for 5% turnover tax) 

Private Fund Foundations are widely used in Sint Maarten to protect real estate assets and appoint specific beneficiaries.  

A PFF will help you protect your investment for future generations.  

Start Today!

Start the process for your own Private Fund Foundation today.  BrightPath can offer you the necessary services to create your Private Fund Foundation and offer you real estate, banking, and tax advisory services if you require them.  

Book a consultation with our team and let us assist you in the formation of your PFF protect your real estate investment. If you already own real estate in your personal name and you wish to transfer the ownership out of your name and into a PFF, BrightPath can assist with this process too in conjunction with the closing agent (notary) of your choice.  Our experience and services are available for the protection of your valued assets and with consideration for your planning and it’s one free consultation away, by starting here. 


  1. What is a Private Fund Foundation (PFF) and how does it protect assets in St. Maarten? A Private Fund Foundation (PFF) is a legal entity designed to protect assets, investments, or funds in St. Maarten. It allows individuals to create and participate in a PFF without requiring external members or shareholders. The PFF can distribute funds to designated beneficiaries and is exempt from profit taxes as long as it does not engage in business activities for profit.
  2. What are the benefits of establishing a Private Fund Foundation in St. Maarten for real estate ownership? Establishing a PFF in St. Maarten offers several benefits, including exemption from profit taxes, protection against inheritance tax, and avoidance of transfer taxes when selling property held by the PFF. Additionally, a PFF provides asset protection in case of bankruptcy or legal claims and offers privacy for beneficiaries as their names do not appear in public records.
  3. How quickly can a Private Fund Foundation be formed in St. Maarten with BrightPath’s assistance? With BrightPath’s assistance, a Private Fund Foundation in St. Maarten can be formed and registered in as fast as two business days if required. BrightPath offers services for creating PFFs, as well as real estate, banking, and tax advisory services, ensuring a comprehensive approach to asset protection and estate planning.

Do you have additional questions?

Contact us today for a free consultation and let us guide you throughout the process!


Planning to Relocate? Choose the Caribbean for These Reasons

In 2020, more Americans left the country than those who were born. According to estimates, some 6,000 Americans gave up their citizenship and moved abroad. If you are also among those huge number of Americans looking to relocate, choose the Caribbean.

You may have visited the Caribbean for vacation and liked the vibe. But now, as you’re thinking of immigrating to another country, consider moving to the Caribbean. And we have some solid reasons to back our advice!

Read below to find out why you should relocate to the Caribbean.

Close Proximity to the U.S.

The Caribbean is located in the south of America, and it’s fairly easy to travel to and from the states. If you want to relocate but don’t want to go too far away, then immigrating to the Caribbean may work for you.

Dual Citizenship

Caribbean countries like Antigua and Barbuda allow you to acquire a second passport without giving up your first. So if you want to play it safe and test the waters first, consider moving to the Caribbean.

Cultural Diversity

Now that we have spoken of the benefits that will help you stay connected to your roots, here’s what the future will hold. Living in the Caribbean will mean encountering multiculturalism at its best and enjoying diversity every day.

A group of happy boys on the beach

Relaxed Lifestyle

Despite the buzzing tourism industry and hustle-bustle, moving to the Caribbean will let you enjoy a relaxed and laid-back lifestyle. It’s ideal for those who want to ditch the robotic 9-5 routines and get refreshed.

Expanding Economy

If you want to start a business, then moving to the Caribbean will give you plenty of options. Some of the Caribbean countries, such as St. Maarten, have a rapidly booming economy and a lot of growth across many sectors.

Affordable Cost of Living

Living in the Caribbean is affordable and simple. If you want to enjoy sunsets, seafood, and serenity, then move to the Caribbean right away.

Tax Benefits

The Caribbean has a tax haven status, and most Caribbean countries have minimal or no income taxes. The laws vary from country to country, but you can find a tax system that best suits your needs.

Gain Residency Permit in the Caribbean

You can connect with us at BrightPath Caribbean to immigrate to the Caribbean. We can help you move to St. Maarten and five other Caribbean countries. Reach out to us for a retirement consultation or start a business in the Caribbean.

BrightPath Caribbean