St. Maarten Immigration turns up the heat

POSTED: 10/13/15 3:14 PM

St. Maarten – The Immigration and Border Protection Service (IBP) vows to enforce the law against visitors who overstay their visa, guarantors who invite visitors to the island and parents who enroll children in school without a residence permit. IBP says violators face detention, deportation or fines.

IBP will engage in stricter controls on the duration of stay. Visa restricted visitors and those who are not from the European Union, the United States of America and Canada, are allowed to stay 30 days. For extensions, a request must be filed with IBP headquarters.

“Visitors who overstay their allotted time without extension will be pursued and penalized accordingly,” IBP director Udo Aron stated in a press release. “This may include deportation or refusal of entry for a specified period of time.”

Visa-restricted visitors will have their visa canceled and the relevant embassies will be informed.

Residents who invite visitors to the island through visa applications or a statement of guarantee, are liable if the visitor does not leave in time.

IBP refers to resident who invite family members for vacation. “They declare that they will be responsible for them. However, in many instances the intentions are for the visitors to stay illegally on the island. This will no longer be tolerated.”

IBP warns that guarantors who have a valid residence permit could lose that permit if they harbor someone illegal. Dutch passport holders may be fined. “Guarantors will also be blacklisted and disallowed from inviting people to the island in the future. Criminal investigations may also be instigated if there is evidence of human smuggling or trafficking.”

IBP notes that all minors visiting the island for a vacation have to fill out a yellow card in addition to the arrival card at the airport. They have to report to immigration headquarters at least two days before departure.

The IBP warns parents that bringing children to the island and enrolling them into school without a residence permit is punishable by law. “Parents can be fined or have their residence permit revoked.”

IBP will continue with random controls throughout the year. “All residents should have valid St. Maarten ID cards in their possession in public. Visitors should have their passports at all times on them. If they are found to have overstayed they will be taken into immigration custody,” the IBP stated.

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