So, third times a charm? The process of getting a residence permit here is like a complicated dance, and the first steps are being on the island 6 months then getting a ticket off this island (for as far from now as possible). With the future itinerary in hand we go to a specific immigration officer in Roseau and ask for an ‘extension of stay’ so that we might be allowed to stay until our planned trip off the island. During that time we can start the process of getting a residence permit, which means handing in the paperwork we’ve been amassing and holding onto since a few months before we moved. We know this process will take a while no matter how prepared we think we are. But since we needed to get tickets off the island, we decided on St Martin / Sint Maarten.
The last time I was on this island I’m pretty sure I was 15 or 16, I did some diving around the island and found shelter during a summer hurricane. So I have been there, but it was half my lifetime ago and now it’s only an hour long flight away.
The latest flight we could get was at the end of October and we scooped up tickets that will give us a 3 night stay, enough time for at least 3 dives, some exploring, eating and lounging. Of course we can always change these plans, or make the most of a random trip to one of our neighboring islands. Of course we would love recommendations from any of our friends, family, or readers who have been to St Martin or who live / vacation on the island. Your favorite restaurants, areas to stay, best beaches and best dives! We would love to hear from you! We are going during hurricane season so keep that in mind if it’s a factor!
Honestly we can’t wait to take advantage of the proximity to such fabulous islands, the hard part will be to figure out which to visit next, and in what order to visit the rest! I know we will make a trip to Barbados soon since I’ve got a dive buddy on the island, and Rich and I have always tried to visit places that are new to both of us first. Of course just because we live in the caribbean doesn’t mean that we are free from layovers, in fact visiting most islands requires a stop over in Antigua, St Martin, or San Juan, so the length of layover will definitely come into play on deciding where to go next!
Today Richard got his first extension of stay. Apparently they give you 3 months at a time, so about every 3 months we will need to come back with our printed airline tickets to St Martin and get approval for another 3 months. Of course we still have other questions for immigration, like ‘Can we leave and come back while we are working on our residence permit? Or does that somehow conflict with the extension of stay?” We will find out in 2 weeks when I get to go in for my own extension of stay!
In the meantime, we would love to hear our readers / friends / family’s recommendations for places to stay, visit, dive, eat and play on StMartin. Even though it will be a short trip, we want to make the most of it! Feel free to leave your comments or send your recommendations via email or the contact page!