SABA/ST. EUSTATIUS–Due to the travel restrictions that were introduced on March 14, 2020, in connection with the COVID-19 crisis, there are people who were, at the time, forced to overstay the so-called “free period”.
The Royal Netherlands Marechaussee, the Immigration and Naturalisation Service Caribbean Netherlands and the Prosecutor’s Office in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba jointly applied a leniency regulation for the group of people who, through no fault of their own, overstayed in the Caribbean Netherlands. Now that the travel restrictions have been lifted for quite some time, the leniency scheme will be abolished completely as per July 1, 2021.
The free period applies to people who are not residents of the Caribbean Netherlands. They can stay in Bonaire, Statia and Saba for a certain period of time without a residence permit or a declaration of legal status. The length of this period depends on the nationality of the person and the country in which the person lives. If someone overstays the free period, this person can be fined at the exit check.
Non-residents of the Caribbean Netherlands who were still within their free period of stay in Bonaire, Statia or Saba on March 14, 2020, but were unable to leave due to the introduced travel restrictions, were not fined on departure under the leniency regulation if the free period had been overstayed during the period of the travel restrictions.
Dutch citizens and citizens of the United States have been able to return to their country of origin for some time. Now that it is also possible for other nationalities to return, the leniency regulation will be abolished completely.
The abolition of the leniency regulation means for all non-residents that overstaying of non-residents in Bonaire, Saba or Statia will no longer be condoned as of July 1.
The various partners in the immigration system will resume operations in accordance with the generally applicable legislation and regulations. The amount of the fine for overstaying the free period increases as the duration of the overstay becomes longer.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/leniency-regulation-ends-on-july-1-2021