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 introduced on March 14th, 2020, some people have exceeded the free period of stay through no fault of their own. The Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (KMar), the IND and the Public Prosecutor’s Office (OM) have jointly decided to apply a leniency regulation for the people who were forced to stay within the Caribbean Netherlands longer than permitted due to the travel restrictions.
The free period (of stay) applies to people who are not a resident of the Caribbean Netherlands. These people can stay within the Caribbean Netherlands 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 which 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 airspace on March 14th, 2020, it was not possible for some people to leave the Caribbean Netherlands before the end of their free period of stay. For these people a special regulation now applies. Non-residents who were still in the Caribbean Netherlands within their free period on March 14th, 2020, but could not leave due to the introduced travel restrictions, will not be fined upon departure if the free term has been exceeded during the duration of the travel restrictions. However, these persons must leave the Caribbean Netherlands as soon as possible after traveling is possible again.
Non-residents whose free period of stay has already expired before March 14th, 2020, are deemed to leave the Caribbean Netherlands as soon as possible. The amount of the penalty for exceeding the free period of stay increases as the duration of the exceeding is longer. However, for the calculation of the fine, the period from March 14th until the day the travel restriction is lifted, is not taken into account.
Because of the travel restrictions, it may also be the case that the residence permit or passport of stranded persons has expired. Non-residents with an expired passport can travel to the country of origin as long as this country accepts the expired passport. For persons whose residence permit has expired during the travel restrictions, the free period will automatically start to run and the above regulation will apply without prejudice.