Bonaire, St. Eustatius, and Saba (BES)Official Name: Bonaire, St. Eustatius, and Saba (BES)
Must be valid for period of stay.
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:
One page required for entry stamp
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:
None required for visits up to 180 days
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
Embassies and Consulates
J.B. Gorsiraweg 1,
Telephone: +(599) (9) 461-3066
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(599) (9) 510-6870
Fax: +(599) (9) 461-6489
The three islands of Bonaire, St. Eustatia (or “Statia”), and Saba are collectively known as the BES Islands and are special overseas municipalities of the Netherlands. They were previously part of the Netherlands Antilles (see the Department of State’s Background Note on the Netherland Antilles for more information).
Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
All U.S. citizens must have a U.S. passport for all air travel, including to and from the BES Islands. All sea travelers must have a passport or passport card. To enter the BES islands, you are required to have an onward or return ticket, proof of sufficient funds, and proof of lodging accommodations for your stay. For the most current visa information please visit the website of the Caribbean Netherlands Immigration and Naturalisation Service.
For further information, travelers may contact the Royal Netherlands Embassy, 4200 Linnean Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008, telephone (202) 244-5300, or the Dutch Consulates in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Houston, and Miami. For more information on visas or extending your visit, please call the Immigration Office of Bonaire at +599-715-8330.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of the BES Islands.
See our webpages for more information about dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction, customs information, and the CDC’s immunization information.
Safety and Security
There are no known areas of instability on the BES islands, although drug trafficking organizations do operate on the island.
Crime: The crime threat is generally considered low for Saba and St. Eustatuis and medium for Bonaire, although travelers should always take precautions in unfamiliar surroundings. There are incidents of theft from hotel rooms and vehicles, and armed robberies have occurred. Do not leave valuables unattended in public areas or unsecured hotel rooms and rental homes. U.S. travelers should have a copy of their valid U.S. passport in a secure location in case their passport is stolen.
Car theft, especially of rental vehicles, can occur. Vehicle leases or rentals may not be fully covered by local insurance when a vehicle is stolen or damaged. Be sure you are sufficiently insured when renting vehicles and jet skis. Parents of young travelers should be aware that the legal drinking age of 18 is not always rigorously enforced on the BES islands, so extra parental supervision may be appropriate. Young travelers in particular are urged to take the same precautions they would take when going out in the United States, e.g., travel in pairs or groups and be responsible with alcohol consumption. If you are a victim of crime, report it immediately to the local police and to the U.S. Consulate General Curacao. Do not rely on managers of hotels, restaurants, or tour companies to make the report for you.
For information on scams, visit the Department of State and FBI pages on scams and safety.
Victims of Crime:
If you are a victim of crime, report it immediately to the local police. Dial 911 if you need emergency police assistance.
Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes that occur on the BES Islands.
Call the U.S. Consulate General Curacao at +5999-461-3066. We can:
- help you find appropriate medical care
- assist you in reporting a crime to the police
- contact relatives or friends with your written consent
- explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
- replace a stolen or lost passport
- provide a list of local attorneys
- provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
- provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
- help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
For more information, see our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Consulate for assistance.
For further information:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Call us in Washington at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
- See the State Department's travel website for Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts.
- See traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Consulate. See our webpage for further information.
Persons violating the laws of the BES islands, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Dutch law allows for suspects to be held by order of a judge without a hearing during an investigation.
Faith-Based Travelers: See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report.
LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in the BES islands. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Some public areas and buildings are not wheelchair accessible and may present difficulties for persons with mobility issues.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
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, D.C., or one of the Dutch consulates in the U.S.
Medical care on the BES islands is generally good but may be limited in availability. Hospitals have three classes of services, with patients accommodated according to their level of insurance.
Drug stores or “boticas” provide prescription and over-the-counter medicine. Visitors need a local prescription, and may not be able to find medications normally available in the U.S. Emergency services are usually quick to respond.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
Carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription.
Zika virus has been reported in the Dutch Caribbean, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued travel notices for Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, and Sint Maarten. Visit the CDC website for general information about Zika and to obtain CDC travel notices.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the CDC.
Further health information:
Travel & Transportation
Road Conditions and Safety: Nonexistent, hidden, and poorly maintained street signs are the major road hazard on the BES islands. Proceed through intersections with caution. Roads can be extremely slippery during rainfall. Night driving is reasonably safe for drivers who are familiar with the route and road conditions. Many streets are poorly lit or not lit at all. In Bonaire and Statia, drivers should be vigilant for wild donkeys or other animals crossing the road. Drivers should use caution when driving in Saba as roads tend to be steep and have many sharp turns.
The emergency service telephone number is 911. Police and ambulances tend to respond quickly to emergency situations.
Traffic Laws: Driving on the BES islands is on the right hand side. Right turns on red are prohibited and traffic conditions require somewhat defensive driving. Local laws require drivers and passengers to wear seat belts and motorcyclists to wear helmets. Children under 4 years of age must be in child safety seats; children under 12 must ride in the back seat.
Public Transportation: Taxis are the easiest, yet most expensive, form of transportation on the islands. As there are no meters, passengers should verify the price before entering the taxi. Fares are quoted in U.S. dollars. In Bonaire, public minibuses are inexpensive and run non-stop during the daytime with no fixed schedule. Each minibus has a specific route displayed on the windshield. Buses, which run on the hour, have limited routes. The road conditions on the main thoroughfares are good to fair. There is no public transportation in Saba or Statia; however, hitchhiking is common in Saba.
See our Road Safety page for more information.
Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of the BES Islands’ Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of the BES Islands’ air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.