Caribbean Carpet Visa to be promoted to crew members

POND ISLAND–The use of the Caribbean Carpet Visa will also be promoted to mega-yacht crew members, whose nationalities require them to have a visa to enter St. Maarten. This was a point discussed recently by Justice Minister Rafael “Raffie” Boasman with representatives of the yachting sector.

The “Caribbean Carpet Programme” was instituted by the Dutch Government to cater to persons who regularly travel to the Caribbean parts of the Kingdom. It offers qualifying travellers a simplified application procedure and a visa that is valid for a longer period for travellers who are over 18 years old, and who regularly travel to Aruba, Curaçao, St. Maarten, Bonaire, Saba or St. Eustatius. Those travellers must have applied for a Caribbean visa at least two times in the past five years.

Those who work in the maritime sector, for example as crew members on a ship, will need to provide a seaman’s record book or a contract with the ship’s owner when applying for the visa.

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Boasman said in the Council of Ministers Press Briefing on Wednesday information about the visa programme will be disseminated by the Department of Foreign Relations and the Department of Communication.

He noted that this programme is only for the crew members of mega-yachts entering local waters, and not for other vessels coming into port.

The Minister also urged organisers of conferences, meetings and other events to pay keen attention to their attendees list, and advise those who need a visit to get one in advance of coming to St. Maarten to avoid detainment and embarrassment for the visitors.

St. Maarten Marine Trades Association (SMMTA) President Brian Deher, said of the development: “We feel that there is an opportunity here to not only help our customers be compliant with our country’s Immigration policies, but also to handle this in a way as to promote St. Maarten in general from a tourism point of view through press releases and other marketing outlets that our members are actively using.”

Source: The Daily Herald