Due to the travel restrictions that were introduced on the 14th of March, 2020 in connection with the COVID-19 crisis, there are people who were, at the time, forced to overstay the free period. Therefore, earlier the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (KMar), the Immigration and Naturalisation Service Unit CN (IND-CN) and the Public Prosecutions Office BES (OM BES) have 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 on the 1st of July, 2021.
The free period applies to people who are not residents of the Caribbean Netherlands. They can stay in the Caribbean Netherlands 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 then this person can be fined at the exit check.
Non-residents of the Caribbean Netherlands who, on the 14th of March, 2020, were still within their free period of stay in the Caribbean Netherlands, but were unable to leave due to the introduced travel restrictions, were not fined under the leniency regulation upon departure if the free period had been overstayed during the period of the travel restrictions. For, among others, Dutch citizens and citizens of the United States, it has been possible to return to their country of origin for some time now. 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 as from the 1st of July, 2021 overstaying of non-residents on Bonaire, Saba or St. Eustatius will no longer be condoned. The various services in the immigration chain will then 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.