Permits and Licenses

Permits and Licenses

Business establishment permit

As a general rule according to the Business Establishment Permit Ordinance of the island of St. Eustatius, everyone who wants to establish, operate, take-over, make a change in operations or continue a business must apply for a business license. This license is based on the Act pertaining to the establishment of businesses (WET VESTIGING BEDRIJVEN BES). 

There are three requirements that you must comply with if you wish to qualify for a license:

  • You must have sufficient knowledge of the operations you are going to perform;
  • You must have sufficient capital for the operations you are going to perform;
  • Your operations may not conflict with the public interest.

The above requirements in the law rarely lead to problems in practice. The activities that are discussed are the activities that are registered in the Commercial Register.

Directors’ license

A director’s license is requested for all managing directors who are nominated as such in the deed of incorporation when establishing a limited liability corporation (N.V.). The request will be dealt with by the Lt. Governor and the Immigration Department.


Replacement of managing directors

If a managing director is replaced after a business license is approved, the new nominated person has to send in a request to be registered as a managing director. Also note that:

  • A director’s license is strictly separate from a work permit or residence permit.
  • No corporation or managing director may engage in business activities before a business license has been granted by the Executive Council.
Work permit

The labor law requires that subject to equality of qualifications and experience, businesses hire first local residents before other nationalities. The employer has to prove to the Office for Civil Registry that all steps have been taken in conformity with the law. If a work permit is approved, the person automatically has a residence permit, which is limited to the term of the work permit. The application for a work permit should be submitted to the Office for Civil Registry or the census office.  When the documents for a work and/or residence permit have been submitted and are being processed, the applicant must be residing and await approval outside the island. 

Residence permit

The immigration rules on St Eustatius and Saba allow non-nationals to stay a maximum of three months on a tourist visa; persons with Dutch nationality can stay for a maximum of six months. Extensions to stay on the island must be made by applying for a residence permit. Applicants must be able to prove financial independence to provide for themself and family because the permit doesn’t automatically allow the person to perform any kind of work. The application for a residence permit should be submitted to the Office for Civil Registry.

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