Immigrating to Bonaire, a practical checklist

If you have weighed all pro and cons and you have finally decided to immigrate to Bonaire, the practical part of your plans will start.

1. Determine on what date you will leave.
It might sound strange, because you have been thinking about this for so long, but once you made the decision it will amaze you how hard it is to pick a date for departure. There is always a reason to postpone: My sister is getting married, it’s my mother’s 60th birthday, an uncle and aunt celebrating their anniversary, a friend is having a baby… There is always something going on that makes it difficult to set a date. Pick a date and hold on to that date. Your departure date is key when you are collecting the necessary papers. Legal statements and certificates are not valid indefinitely

2. Make sure you have all the necessary papers at hand when you get on the plane.
Your dreams and plans can be fantastic, but when you don’t have all the papers, you will be back home in an instant. Everything you need to know, you will find on the IND site.

3. Websites and social media. From the moment your decision is final to move to Bonaire start following news and social media. Follow the popular Facebook sites off Bonaire, subscribe to relevant websites en listen to the radio through streaming. In this way you will already be up to date with daily business. For example: or

4. Housing.
Of course you need a place to stay when you arrive on Bonaire, maybe you decided to stay first in a hotel or apartment the first week(s) and that’s fine. but the market for long term rent and/or sale is busy and there are many candidates, so start in time with your search. It is in any case recommended to rent first time before you proceed to buy a house or apartment.

5. Immediately after arrival: A simple and short advice, Get yourself a local phone number. Your reachability is very important at the below mentioned points..

6. Step 1: Take all your collected papers and go to the immigration office (IND). Take your time… probably this will be the first time that you encounter the local bureaucracy: friendly, helpful people, who will give you all the attention you need, and you’re not alone... When your papers are in order and your file is completed, your file will be processed. Lead time is 3 months.

7. After you visited the IND office and your file is in process you will get a temporary sticker in your passport. With this you can go to the health insurance office to subscribe. The health insurance is mainly free but you are required to subscribe.

8. Also, useful to get at an early stage is your CRIB number, a personal tax number. If you will be working on the island you’ll get one with your first paycheck automatically. But it’s handy to have it at an earlier stage. You need it for example when you buy a car for the car insurance.

9. Finally: the above list perhaps gives the impression that it's a long lonely trip along counters, but nothing could be further from the truth, everyone is very helpful and it all takes maybe a little longer than you're used to and would like to…. in that case: Welcome to Bonaire!