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Curacao: New Immigration rules not as straightforward as they seem

By Sue Richards — last modified Dec 01, 2014 12:44 PM
Contributors: Denis Brunin & Roeland van Bijnen
Visa period extended to 180 days in October 2013 making the Dutch ABC Islands a viable hurricane season destination once more - or so we thought. It now appears that 180 day permit only available by application, not on arrival, costing nearly US$300.

Published: 2014-12-01 00:00:00
Countries: Curacao

Since 10/10/2010 when Curacao got a new constitutional status as an independent country within the Kingdom of Holland, immigration rules for visitors were restricted to 90 days per calendar year.

The announcement of a new law in September 2013 - that hibernating people (including cruisers with a yacht longer than 10m waterline length) are entitled to apply for a permit for a 180 day stay per calendar year – was therefore met with enthusiasm by the cruising community, making Curacao a viable possibility for hurricane season.

Following feedback from a number of cruisers who have not been able to secure the extended visa on arrival, it now appears that this extended visa is only available on application and at a cost of approx. US$300.

Roeland van Bijnen, General Manager of Budget Marine Curaçao, confirms:

“In practice the execution of this law is not efficiently done. Practice is that you will enter the country on a normal tourist visa (30 or 90 days depending on your nationality) at the harbour immigration office. If you want to extend your stay to 180 days you will have to apply for that at the Immigration office at the Gosieweg at a cost of around US $285.”

Noonsite is still waiting for details of exactly how visiting cruisers apply for the 180 day visa, however what is clear is that Immigration officials are unfamiliar with this new rule and reports from cruisers are that all required forms to apply for the "extension" are in Dutch, difficult to complete with minimal explanation. Plenty of time is also required to apply for an extension, up to 6 weeks, so be sure to investigate this on arrival and apply early if planning an extended stay in Curacao.

Note that leaving a yacht for storage in Curacao has no time limit as long the yacht is stored at one of the three storage companies recognized by customs, which are: Curacao Marine, Royal Marine Curacao and Seru Boca Marina. Early reservation for haul out and storage is recommended.

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