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Travel Tips for St. Martin/Maarten

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Note: All United States citizens are required to have a valid passport to re-enter the United States.

Size / Population: St. Maarten/St. Martin is the smallest landmass shared by two countries. The southern Dutch St. Maarten is 16 square miles with a population of 41,000 people. French St. Martin to the north is 21 square miles with 36,000 people.

Political Status: St. Martin: Dependency of the French Overseas Department of Guadeloupe (an overseas territory of France). St. Maarten: autonomous within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Language: English is widely spoken on both sides but French and Dutch are the primary languages of the respective provinces as is a local patois.

Currency: St. Martin uses the Euro. St. Maarten uses the Netherland Antilles Guilder. U.S. dollars are widely accepted in shops and restaurants on both sides.

Electricity: St. Martin uses 220 volts so a converter and adapter will be needed. St. Maarten uses 110 volts, same as U.S.

Time Zone: Atlantic Standard Time (one hour ahead of New York); Daylight Saving Time is not observed.

Communication: To call St. Martin from the U.S dial 011 + 590 + the 6-digit local number. To dial St. Maarten key in 011 + 599 + the 7 digit local number. Internet service is widely available at cyber cafes. Check with your cell phone provider for international coverage.

Drinking Water: Tap water is safe to drink, coming from desalinated sea water or filtered rain water. Bottled water is also readily available and inexpensive.

Transportation: Taxis are abundant and the fares are set. However, the fares increase by 25% from 10pm to midnight and 50% from midnight to 6am. The local bus service runs between the two capitals of Philipsburg(Dutch side) and Marigot(French side). Visitors can also rent cars or scooters. Drivers must be 21-25 years old (varies by rental company) and must be in possession of a valid driver’s license and a major credit card. Ferries run regularly from Marigot to the islands of St. Barthelemy and Anguilla.

Local Customs: The legal drinking / gambling age is 18. Casinos are located on the Dutch side only. Tipping: generally 15-20% in restaurants; bellmen: $1 per bag; housekeeping staff: $1-$2 per day. Taxis about 10%.

Getting Married: U.S. citizens can legally get married in St. Maarten; St. Martin is more difficult with a 6-month residency required for at least one of the partners. Please contact a AWAY WE GO TRAVEL LLC representative for details on resorts offering special wedding packages and to discuss your particular wedding requirements. Our experienced group department will be happy to assist with travel arrangements for all attendees.

Wedding Requirements
The information below is a general list of requirements to perform a legal wedding ceremony in St. Maarten. Please check with the St. Maarten tourism department or wedding coordinator at your resort for additional information on legal requirements and fees for weddings in St. Maarten. Church weddings can be arranged for most denominations in advance. All information below is subject to change without notice.
Foreign couples planning on getting married on St. Maarten without the consent of parents must be at least 21 years of age; persons with a Netherlands nationality should be 23 years of age. Foreign couples must request permission from the Lt Governor of the Island Territory of St Maarten to marry (see address below). Please note that it can take up to two months to receive a reply, and you need to be on island two days before your ceremony. If permission is granted a temporary tourist permit will be issued in order to contract a marriage. Registration at the office of Civil Registry needs to take place at least ten days before the marriage. This can be done by faxing their office at the address below.

Divorced persons may remarry in St Maarten but should provide a recent divorce decree. Divorced women can only remarry after 306 days.

Documents Required:
-A full abridged birth certificate to prove the legality of the same.
- In the event persons are not of Dutch nationality, a valid passport is required
- Address of both parties
- Duration of stay on St. Maarten
- Unmarried persons must present a declaration of marital status not older than 3 months
- If widow(er), a death certificate
- If divorced, a divorce certificate or a final judgment decree
- For minors (under 21 years of age), permission of the parents is required; names of parents, maiden names of mother including place of birth and birth date; professions of the bride, the groom and the parents
- 6 (six) witness if the marriage is performed outside of the Marriage Hall, 2 witnesses if it is to be performed at Wedding Hall. Non-Dutch witnesses must present a valid passport or a birth certificate with a picture I.D.
- Original documents other than Dutch or English need to be translated into the Dutch language (i.e. a French or Spanish document must be translated into Dutch, not English). Note: one to two weeks is required for translation.

Fees: The cost for contracting foreign marriages is US$275.55 and includes civil ceremony, marriage books, stamps and certificates.

Registrars Offices: The registrar's office should be contacted for specific rules regarding planning your destination or beach wedding in St Maarten. They will also provide information regarding marriage licenses and marriage certificates.
Chief Registrar
Office of Civil Registry and Census Office
Soualiga Road
Philipsburg, St. Maarten
Tel: 599 542 2457
Fax: 599 542 4267

Office of the Lt Governor
Government Administration Building
Clem Labega's Square
PO Box 943
Philipsburg, St Maarten
Fax: 599 542 4884

Mandatory Health Insurance for St. Maarten:   Effective January 1, 2021, all visitors to St. Maarten must purchase mandatory health insurance prior to arrival in order to ensure the safety of guests and the community. The cost for adults (ages 15 and up) is $30US, for children (ages 0-14) the cost is $10US. The St. Maarten Visitors Protection Plan is sold via the mandatory health form found here: https://stmaartenehas.com. For additional details and frequently asked questions, visit https://sxmprotectionplan.com. This goes into effect for ALL ARRIVALS starting January 1, 2021.

Hotel Cancellation Penalties: We understand the unexpected can happen and choosing to cancel your vacation is never an easy decision. For that reason, we are providing you with a chart of estimated cancellation penalties for our partner hotels. Visit https://www.vacationexpress.com/hotel-cancellations/ for more details.

Passenger Information with regards to rights under the Canadian Air Passenger Protection Regulations: SOR/2019-150
If you are travelling to or from a Canadian airport and are denied boarding or your baggage is lost or damaged, you may be entitled to certain standards of treatment and compensation under the Canadian Air Passenger Protection Regulations. For more information about your passenger rights please contact your operating airline or visit the website of the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA).

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