SABA/ST. EUSTATIUS–Due to the measures taken because of the COVID-19 crisis, it has not been possible to travel to and from the Caribbean Netherlands for quite some time.
Due to the travel restrictions which were introduced on March 14, some people have exceeded their free period of stay through no fault of their own.Therefore, the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee, the Immigration and Naturalisation Service IND and the Prosecutor’s Office have jointly decided to apply a leniency regulation for people who were forced to stay in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba for longer than permitted due to the travel restrictions.
The free period of stay applies to people who are non-residents of the Caribbean Netherlands. These people can stay in Bonaire, Statia and Saba for a certain period of time without a residence permit or Declaration of Admittance by Law. The duration of this period depends on the nationality of the person and in what country the person lives. If someone exceeds the free period of stay, this person can be fined at the exit check.
Due to the sudden closure of the airspace on March 14, it was not possible for some people to leave the Caribbean Netherlands before the end of their free period of stay. For them, a special regulation now applies.Non-residents who were still in the three islands within their free period on March 14, but could not leave due to the introduced travel restrictions, will not be fined on departure if the free term has been exceeded during the duration of the travel restrictions. However, these persons must leave as soon as possible once traveling is allowed again.
Non-residents whose free period of stay already expired before March 14 are required to leave the Caribbean Netherlands as soon as possible. The penalty for exceeding the free period of stay will increase exponentially. However, for the calculation of the fine, the period from March 14 to the day the travel restrictions are lifted will not be taken into account.
Residence permits or passports of stranded persons may also have expired during this period. The leniency regulation will also apply to persons whose permits have expired during the travel restrictions.Non-residents with an expired passport can travel to their country of origin as long as this country accepts the expired passport.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/free-period-of-stay-extended-because-of-airspace-closure