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European Passport - working/living in St.Martin/Sint Maarten

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Toronto, Canada
posts: 4
reviews: 7
European Passport - working/living in St.Martin/Sint Maarten

Good Evening Everyone,

Curious in regards to working and living in St.Martin/Maarten. I currently hold Canadian and British citizenships and was wondering how realistic it is for me try out a new life on this Island. I have no qualms about getting up and jumping ship.

I essentially would like to work in hospitality as that is currently what I do now however I am unsure of cost of living, wages/salaries etc as it is quite different from Canada. If I was to make this big decision I would have somewhere to live as I friend that already resides on the Dutch side. I am not a big spender and like to save and enjoy the simple things in life but of course do like to treat myself once in a while.

I know that my Canadian citizenship will allow me to stay on the island for up to 3 months with no ability to work. My question is, does holding a British citizenship (European passport) allow me to obtain work visits and necessary documents? I know it will be easier if I have a job lined up. I am thinking of a trip in September and wondering if it is acceptable or common for a non-resident to start applying for work in hopes of finding an employer that is willing to help out.

Hypothetically speaking, If I were to obtain these documents would I be allowed to work on the French and Dutch side or just one or the other?

Thank you in advance for your responses!

7 replies to this topic
Destination Expert
for Nevis
posts: 5,828
reviews: 5
1. Re: European Passport - working/living in St.Martin/Sint Maarten

British citizens are allowed to live/work in France without a visa or Work Permit. The French side of St. Martin is a Department of France so therefore British citizens can live/work there. I think (but am not 100% sure) that the same rules apply for British Citizens wishing to live/work on the Dutch side but you should check with the Netherlands Consulate for verification.

Now, whether or not you can find work is another matter. Like most places around the world the economy in the Caribbean is "soft" and St. Martin is no exception (lots of locals are unemployed or looking for work). Unless you have a very unique skill most employers won't hire you unless you already living on the island -they learned long ago that the majority of job applicants who say they are planning to move to the island never actually show up so the employers don't waste their time interviewing "non-residents". You should know that it is VERY DIFFICULT to find work unless you are on island and you will find that very few jobs are "advertised" on the internet. Most employers will want to see you in person.

So, it seems there's nothing to stop you from looking for work on the island, however, a point to consider, September is Low Season in the Caribbean (and on St. Martin) and many restaurants, resorts and seasonal type business are closed so job hunting will probably be more difficult than it would be if you went closer to "High Season" (mid-December to mid-April) when many employers are looking for help.

Lastly, you asked bout living expenses and wages. Generally speaking in the Caribbean (and St. Martin is no exception) wages are lower and living expenses are higher than they are for comparable jobs, housing, groceries, utilities, etc. then they are "back home" in Canada. That's the Catch-22 of living in the Caribbean. FYI - it is not unusual for people to work 2 jobs in order to maintain a decent lifestyle.

If you do come to live/work, plan on bringing enough money to support yourself for at least 6 months in the event you are unable to find gainful employment. Set aside enough money to purchase a return ticket in case things don't quite work out the way you hope.

Living/working in the caribbean is far different than being here on vacation so, one last hint. Before you commit to living/working in St. Martin you'd be wise to making a Pre-Move Visit. Come for at least several weeks 9a few months would be even better. Don't stay at a resort but rather stay in an efficiency unit or small apartment and "live like a local", do everyday chores like house cleaning, laundry, cooking, go grocery shopping, check out banking, run errands - as you'll be doing those types of things while you are living on the island. Use your time to see what commuting is like (yes there is are rush hours and traffic jams), check out housing costs, look at various neighborhoods and, while you are at it, look for employment to get an idea of the salaries for jobs in your field.

Good luck following your dream.

Cupecoy Bay, St...
posts: 8,575
reviews: 8
2. Re: European Passport - working/living in St.Martin/Sint Maarten

The only passport that will help you on the Dutch side is one from the Netherlands. Please do check with the consulate for accurate information. Working papers are required and must be arranged and paid for by your employer prior to arrival on the island. On the French side, you must speak French. There is a plethora of folks from the hospitality industry out of work here.

Toronto, Canada
posts: 4
reviews: 7
3. Re: European Passport - working/living in St.Martin/Sint Maarten

Thank you both for the information. I will definitely take everything into consideration.

I am welcome to more advice should anyone have any.

St Maarten-St Martin
Destination Expert
for St Maarten-St Martin, Philipsburg
posts: 1,591
reviews: 14
4. Re: European Passport - working/living in St.Martin/Sint Maarten

FYI to caribsurfer : British citizens have no inherent legal rights to work on the Dutch side and the process of obtaining work and residency papers is long difficult and costly.

Montreal, Canada
posts: 1
5. Re: European Passport - working/living in St.Martin/Sint Maarten

Hey Lauren,

I am wondering if you ever made this dream come true? I am eager to dot he same thing and tried a bunch of years ago. Mind sending me a note at jasonjdevine@gmail.com?


Thornhill, Canada
posts: 1
reviews: 58
6. Re: European Passport - working/living in St.Martin/Sint Maarten


My son is interested in doing the same thing this winter. He is Canadian and wants to stay from January to March.. He is hoping to work while he is there and I am wondering if you were able to make this work for you this year. Would like to hear about your experiences or anyone's experience working in St Martin for the winter. Thanks,

Bogota, Colombia
posts: 1
7. Re: European Passport - working/living in St.Martin/Sint Maarten

Hi, Im thinking of doing the same this month. Did you manage to get over there/find a job/get the work visa? Cheers

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