COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Sint Maarten is the Dutch side of the island shared with St. Martin, which is administered by the French government. English is the predominant language on the island; however, several other languages are also commonly spoken. The Netherlands Antilles florin (NAf) is the official currency. The U.S. dollar is also widely accepted on Sint Maarten.
SMART TRAVELER ENROLLMENT PROGRAM(STEP) / EMBASSY LOCATION: If you are going to live on or visit Sint Maarten, please take the time to tell our Consulate General about your trip. If you enroll, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements while you are visiting the island of Sint Maarten. It will also help your friends and family get in touch with you in an emergency. Here’s the link to the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program
United States Consulate General Curacao
J.B. Gorsiraweg 1, Willemstad, Curaçao
Telephone: (599-9) 461-3066
Emergency after-hours telephone: (599-9) 510-6870
Facsimile: (599-9) 461-6489
ENTRY / EXIT REQUIREMENTS FOR U.S. CITIZENS: All U.S. citizens must have a U.S. passport for all air travel, including to and from Sint Maarten. All sea travelers must also now have a passport or passport card. We strongly encourage all U.S. citizen travelers to apply for a U.S. passport or passport card well in advance of anticipated travel. U.S. citizens can call 1-877-4USA-PPT (1-877-487-2778) for information on how to apply for their passports.
You are required to have an onward/return ticket, proof of sufficient funds and proof of lodging accommodations for your stay. The typical length of stay granted by immigration to U.S. citizens is 30days, and may be extended to 180 days by the office of immigration. For further information, travelers may contact the Royal Netherlands Embassy, 4200 Linnean Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008, telephone (202) 244-5300, or the Dutch Consulate in Los Angeles,Chicago, New York, Houston or Miami. Visit the web site for the Embassy of the Netherlands and the Sint Maarten Department of Immigration for the most current visa information.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Sint Maarten.
Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.
THREATS TO SAFETY AND SECURITY: There are no known terrorist or extremist groups, or areas of instability on St. Maarten, although gangs and drug trafficking organizations do operate on the island.
Stay up to date:
CRIME: Street crime remains a concern on Sint Maarten. Valuables, including passports, left unattended on beaches, in cars, and in hotel lobbies are easy targets for theft. Visitors should leave valuables and personal papers secured at their hotel. Burglaries and break-ins are common at resorts, beach houses, and hotels. Armed robbery occasionally occurs. The American boating community has reported a handful of incidents in the past, and visitors are urged to exercise reasonable caution in securing boats and belongings. Be especially observant when visiting isolated areas.
Car theft, especially of rental vehicles, can occur. Incidents of break-ins to rental cars to steal personal items have been reported by U.S. citizen tourists. Damages may not be fully covered by local insurance when a vehicle is stolen. Be sure you are sufficiently insured when renting vehicles, jet skis, and other equipment.
Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law.
VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. We can:
Call “911” on Sint Maarten for emergency police assistance.
Please see our information on victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling on Sint Maarten, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. In some places, you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you. In some places, driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. These criminal penalties will vary from country to country. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States, and you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws inSint Maarten, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not where you are going.
Persons violating Sint Maarten’slaws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Local law is based on Dutch law, which allows for the detention of subjects during an investigation with the approval of a judge. Persons imprisoned on Sint Maartendo not have the option of posting bond for their release.
If you are arrested on Sint Maarten, local authorities are required to notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate of your arrest. If you are concerned the Department of State may not be aware of your situation, you should request the police or prison officials to notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate of your arrest.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Dutch law, in principle, does not permit dual nationality. However, there are exceptions to this rule. For detailed information, contact the Embassy of the Netherlands in Washington, DC, or one of the Dutch consulates in the United States.
LGBT Rights: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBT events in Sint Maarten. For more detailed information about LGBT rights around the world, you may review the State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012. For further information on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) travel, please read our Information for LGBT Travelers page.
ACCESSIBILITY: While on Sint Maarten, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what you find in the United States. Sidewalks and crossings in some areas are not wheelchair accessible, and many public building lack ramps.
MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION: Medical care is generally considered to be good on Sint Maarten. Health care is tiered, so the level of accommodations will vary according to insurance and ability to pay. Sint Maarten Medical Center (79 beds) is a relatively small hospital where general surgery is performed. Complex cases are sent to Curaçao, or another country. Airlift is available to Puerto Rico and the continental U.S. in case of medical emergency. Please be aware that there is no decompression chamber available on either side of the island. We urge caution for scuba divers, since persons suffering from decompression sickness have to be medically evacuated for proper treatment.
You can find good information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website. The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: You can’t assume your insurance will go with you when you travel. It’s very important to find out BEFORE you leave whether or not your medical insurance will cover you overseas. You need to ask your insurance company two questions:
In many places, doctors and hospitals still expect payment in cash at the time of service. Your regular U.S. health insurance may not cover doctors’ and hospital visits in other countries. If your policy doesn’t go with you when you travel, it’s a very good idea to take out another one for your trip. For more information, please see our medical insurance overseas page.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: Sint Maarten/St. Martin is the smallest land mass in the world shared by two sovereign nations. While there is a border separating the two sides of the island, currently there is no border control. There is no need for travelers to stop or show a passport in order to cross.
While in a foreign country, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The
information below concerning Sint Maarten is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular
location or circumstance.
Driving on Sint Maarten is on the right hand side, as in the United States. Right turns at red lights are prohibited, and traffic conditions may require careful driving. Local laws require drivers and passengers to wear seat belts and motorcyclists to wear helmets. Children under 4 years of age should be in child safety seats; children under 12 should ride in the back seat. Nonexistent or hidden and poorly maintained traffic signs are a hazard on Sint Maarten. Therefore, drivers should proceed through intersections with caution. Roads on Sint Maarten are extremely slippery during rainfall. Nighttime driving is reasonably safe on Sint Maarten, as long as drivers are familiar with the route and road conditions. Many streets are poorly lit, or not lit at all.
Taxis are the easiest, yet most expensive, form of transportation on the island. As there are no meters, passengers should negotiate a price before entering the taxi. Fares quoted in U.S. dollars may be significantly higher than those quoted in the local currency. Road conditions on the main thoroughfares are good to fair.
Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information. Travelers may also wish to visit Sint Maarten’s official tourist office website for more information.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Sint Maarten’s Civil Aviation Authority as not being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Sint Maarten’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
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This replaces the Country Specific Information for Sint Maarten dated February 22, 2013, to add information on LGBT issues.