Outstanding news for those traveling to Anguilla via St. Maarten (often the best way to reach Anguilla). The two countries have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that is a first for both countries. Why is is important for air travelers to Anguilla?
It should shortly lead to preclearance for visitors arriving from St. Maarten into Anguilla. It has long been a goal of the Anguillian Government to have a more seamless transfer to Anguilla through St. Maarten. And it has long been an equally strong desire by those traveling to our fair shores.
Princess Juliana International Airport is the main airline hub for travel into Anguilla, with San Juan (SJU) placing an important second for some points of origin. Over ninety percent (90%) of visitors arrive to Anguilla via St. Maarten.
An Immigration office has been office has been opened at the Anguilla dock in Simpson Bay to accommodate travelers to and from Anguilla in an effort to improve the overall quality of service. Here are the details of the MOU…
1) The Anguilla-St. Maarten Ferry Terminal will be an official transit point for residents, tourists and business travelers traveling between St. Maarten and Anguilla. It is now an official point of entry/checkpoint wherein immigration and border controls will be uninterruptedly carried out as long as the dock is in operation.
2) The signing of the MOU establishes an understanding between Anguilla and St. Maarten where it pertains to the admission of persons in and out of the islands.
3) The Ministry of Justice of St. Maarten will be responsible for the execution of the immigration for the execution of the immigration and customs services provided at the Anguilla-St. Maarten ferry terminal (dock).
4) All passenger vessels using the Anguilla-St. Maarten ferry terminal will be required to operate under the immigration and maritime laws of both St. Maarten and Anguilla and in accordance with international law.
5) All vessels destined for the Anguilla-St. Maarten ferry terminal will be subject to controls by Dutch Coast Guard if deemed necessary by these services.
6) Utilization of the facilities at the Anguilla-St. Maarten ferry terminal acquired by the Government of Anguilla will be extended to the Government of St. Maarten for immigration and customs purposes
7) A Port Manager will provide entry and departure clearing services for all vessels operating within the below mentioned hours. The Port Manager will be responsible for assuring proper customs and immigration adherence under any applicable local laws.
8 ) The above-mentioned Port Manager will be appointed by the Government of Anguilla, subject to approval by the Government of St. Maarten.
9) The Anguilla-St. Maarten ferry terminal will operate from Monday to Sunday from 7am to 10pm.
10) All vessels will be required to report to the Port Manager and Immigration office at the Anguilla-St. Maarten dock when entering the Lagoon at Sandy Ground, giving name of vessel, estimated time of arrival and number of crew and passengers.
11) All vessels carrying passengers between the two territories must be authorized to do so by the country of registry, each vessel must carry on board valid copies of boat registry, radio license, insurance, copy of last inspection of vessel in addition to life jackets, rafts, fire extinguishers and any other pertinent life-saving or operational equipment.
12) Captains must be in possession of a current Captains license recognized by the country of registry of the vessel. Each boat crew must be in possession of a Port Pass from the country of registry. Vessels and Captains not complying with the above requirements will not be permitted to operate services between the two territories.
13) All operational and maintenance cost associated with the dock will be the responsibility of the Government of Anguilla with exception to the salaries of the Immigration officers. All accessories including office supplies will be provided by the Ministry of Justice, St. Maarten.
Ideally, those arriving in St. Maarten would be able to simply get on a boat or plane and leave for Anguilla. That’s “ideally.” We await the actual implementation with great anticipation.