The Minister of Justice:
- Considering that the immigration laws are strictly enforced;
- Considering the temporary closure of the Immigration Office as per September 4, 2017, due to hurricane Irma and its aftermath,
- Considering that as a consequence of this closing some holders of temporary resident permits were not able to file in time for an extension of their permit with the Immigration Office,
- Considering that this may not, in all reasonableness, be held against them to have their permit extended.
Makes the following known
The laws and regulations regarding admittance and expulsion are strictly enforced and a restrictive admission and expulsion policy, focusing on, among others, the protection of the social and economic growth as well as safety and security of the country is already in place.
Aforementioned policy holds, amongst others, that applications for renewal of a temporary resident permit may not be made more than three months after expiration of the period of validity of the residence permit. If the renewal is filed later than three months after expiration of the valid period of the previous permit, the policy requires that the applicant has to leave St. Maarten and awaits a decision on his application outside of St. Maarten.
Therefore, residents who wish to have their temporary resident permit extended, have to make sure that they file their application in time. Also, that the application is complete and that they meet all the existing legal requirements.
The Immigration Office will assess every application according to the applicable laws and policy. In its assessment of the validity and timeliness of an application, the Immigration Office will however take into account its forced closure due to hurricane Irma. This means in practice that a period of two months will be added to aforementioned three month-period. These additional two months will bear no negative consequences in calculating the five year (uninterrupted residency) period, needed for the temporary resident permit holder to be eligible for permanent residence.
It is emphasized, that residents with a (temporary) resident permit will have to strictly adhere to the immigration laws and policy in order to keep their permit and not to run the risk of being expelled from St. Maarten. Making the necessary arrangements for the extension of the resident permit well in time is fully your own responsibility. Failing to do so will have severe consequences for your stay in St. Maarten.
Rafael A. Boasman
Minister of Justice