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Complete guide to obtaining a visa for the Dutch caribbean territories, the requirements, eligibility criteria and FAQs

If you want to travel to the Caribbean part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, you may be required to apply for a Dutch Caribbean Visa. The Caribbean parts of the Netherlands include the following islands:

  • Aruba
  • Bonaire
  • Curaçao
  • Saba
  • St Eustatius
  • St Maarten

If you want to visit and remain in those islands for up to 90 days, you have to apply for a short-stay Caribbean visa. If you are granted a Caribbean visa, you can travel between all six islands and do not need a separate, let’s say, Aruba visa or St Maarten visa, for example.

What is a Dutch Caribbean Visa?

A Caribbean short-stay visa allows the holder to travel through all six of the Caribbean parts of the Kingdom of the Netherlands for up to 90 days within a six-month frame.

A Netherlands Caribbean visa is a multiple entry visa, which means you can leave and enter as many times as you want within that six-month frame.

However, you cannot use a Caribbean visa to travel to the European part of Netherlands or any other Schengen Area countries.

Do I need a Caribbean visa?

You need a Caribbean visa if your country is not on the following list.

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Who else does not need a Caribbean Visa?

No Caribbean visa is required to travel to the Caribbean Netherlands in the following instances:

  • If you have a multiple-entry short-stay Schengen visa.
  • If you have an authorisation for temporary stay or residence permit for a Schengen country.
  • If you have a multiple entry visa or residence permit for the United Kingdom or Ireland.
  • If you have a permanent residence permit for the United States or Canada.
  • If you have a multiple-entry visa for the United States or Canada and are a national of: Bolivia, China, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guyana*, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Peru*.

*Only applies to St Maarten, otherwise, no visa is required for the other Caribbean parts, even without a visa or residence permit for the US or Canada.

  • If you are transiting through a Caribbean Netherlands airport and meet the following requirements:
    • For Aruba: you must transit between 7:00 and 23:00.
    • For St Maarten: you must transit on the same day.
    • For Bonaire, Curaçao, St Eustatius and Saba: you must transit within 48 hours.
  • If you are a cruise ship passenger and stay in port for less than 24-48 hours.
  • If you are a crew member on a civilian aircraft/ship and stay for less than 48 hours.
  • If you have a laissez-passer issued by the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank.
  • If you are a diplomat who is accredited in the Netherlands for the whole Kingdom.
  • If you have a diplomatic passport of one of the following countries: Bolivia, Chad, Ecuador, Georgia, Indonesia, Jamaica, Malawi, Morocco, North Macedonia, Pakistan, Peru, Russia, Senegal, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine.

How to Apply for a Dutch Caribbean visa?

The Netherlands application process differs depending on whether you are applying for a Netherlands Schengen visa or a Netherlands long-stay visa, but the basic process goes as follows:

  1. Determine when to submit your application.
  2. Book a Netherlands visa appointment.
  3. Complete a Netherlands short stay visa application form.
  4. Gather the necessary documents.
  5. Attend your visa interview.
  6. Pay the Netherlands visa fee.

Determine When to Submit Your Application

It takes a certain period of time to process a visa application for the Caribbean parts of the Netherlands or any other country. This is why you have to apply several weeks before you plan to take a trip.

The time period in which you can apply for a short stayCaribbean visa to the Netherlands is:

  • The earliest: three months before your trip
  • The latest: 15 working days before your trip
  • Recommended: a minimum of three weeks prior to your trip

Book a Netherlands Visa Appointment

To apply for a Dutch Caribbean visa, you should submit your application at the Dutch embassy or consulate in your country.

The method by which you can book the appointment varies. Many countries allow you to book one online, while in others, you will have to visit the embassy/consulate in person in order to do so.

However, sometimes, there may not be a Dutch embassy in a certain country. In that case, you will have to apply in the embassy/consulate of another country to which the Netherlands has outsourced visa submission.

In other cases, you may even have to travel to the Dutch embassy in a neighboring country to submit your application.

Complete a Netherlands short stay visa application form

Many Dutch embassies/consulates allow you to download and print an application form online. You have to complete and sign the application before submission.

Some of the questions on the Dutch visa application form may include personal information such as: name and surname, date and place of birth, sex, nationality, ID number, home address, occupation, marital status, and purpose of travel among others.

Gather the Necessary Documents

Along with the Netherlands short stay visa application form, you will be required to provide a number of other documents when applying for a Netherlands Caribbean visa.

Different countries may also require additional documents, so make sure to find out what you need before you show up for the appointment.

The requirements for a Dutch Caribbean visa may change depending on the purpose and length of your stay or individual circumstances.  The main requirements for a Netherlands visa application include:

Depending on the country you are applying from, the only differences when applying for a Caribbean visa may include:

  • Travel insurance being a minimum of $15,000.
  • Front and back copies of all used pages in your passport.
  • Residence permit (foreign applicants only).

However, different countries may require additional documents, so if you are asked to provide further documentation, do so as soon as you can.

Attend Your Visa Interview

When you arrive at your visa application appointment, you will be required to enter an interview. The interview is conducted by the visa consular who will be handling your application.

You will likely be asked about the purpose and duration of your visit, who will be financing your trip, your job and education background, your marital or relationship status and other personal questions.

You may be asked to hand out certain documentation. Do not hesitate to do so if you are.

The point of the interview is to determine whether you have fulfilled the requirements to be granted a Netherlands visa for the Caribbean parts, so make sure to answer the questions without hesitation and frankly.

The interview usually lasts 10-15 minutes.

Pay the Netherlands Visa Fees

The Dutch Caribbean visa fee is the same as for all Netherlands Schengen visas. It will cost €80 to apply for a Dutch Caribbean visa.

However, those exempt from a Dutch Caribbean visa application fee include:

  • children under six years of age.
  • an academic researcher.
  • a family member of EU/EEA/Swiss citizens.
  • students or teachers traveling for studying or training purposes.
  • people under 25 who are traveling to partake in non-profit organizational events.

How Long Can You Stay in the Caribbean Parts of the Netherlands Without a Caribbean visa?

Without a Caribbean visa, you can remain in one of the Caribbean parts of the Kingdom for a maximum of 90 days in a 180-day period.

Some exceptions include:

  • If you are a national of the Netherlands or the United States, you can stay in any of the Caribbean parts of the Kingdom for up to 180 consecutive days within any 365-day period.
  • If you are a national of a Schengen Area country, you can stay in Aruba for up to 180 consecutive days within any 365-day period.

To remain there for any longer, you must apply for a Netherlands long-term visa (MVV) and/or a Dutch residence permit.

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