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How to Move to St. Martin (SXM)

Worried about the Brexit? Is Donald Trump’s candidacy giving you the jitters? Are you looking for a place to simply escape? If you are, you’re not alone. Following the Brexit on June 26, internet searches for “how to move to Canada” skyrocketed.

“Moving to Canada” has been a trend this year — after Donald Trump’s big primary wins in March, Google searches for the term “how to move to Canada” spiked:

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Canada’s Big Drawback: It is Cold

As everyone knows, Canada is pretty cold. If you’re unfamiliar with how cold it is in Canada, just remember that it’s colder than the Polar Vortex that has plagued the United States for the past few years — with the “wind chill” it’s typically -40F in winter in Toronto… it’s one of the reasons so many people come here to the Turks and Caicos!

So, we have a better idea: why not move to our island St. Martin? St. Martin is warm. It is surrounded not by snow, but by sparkling blue water. We have French wine! Delicious food! Beaches!

beaches of st martin

A Short Guide to Moving to St. Martin

Simply put, St. Martin is one of the most interesting and beautiful places in the Caribbean. And our home of Grand Case is one of the most beautiful towns in which to live.

St. Martin: the “French Side”

Divided between a “French side” (St. Martin) and a “Dutch side” (Sint Maarten) our island is loved for its blend of Caribbean and European charm, gourmet food and friendly people. We’re also loved for our astounding variety of beaches.

Located on the “French side” of St. Martin, Grand Case is actually part of France, and therefore part of the European Union.

The small fishing village of traditional wooden homes is populated with a mix of French expats, local islanders, and, most importantly, the best variety of gourmet restaurants in the Caribbean, if not the world.

Sint Maarten: the “Dutch Side”

The Dutch side is generally regarded to be quite developed (think fast food and casinos) while the our French side is much quieter with placid beaches and truly stupendous food and wine.

There are no border controls when crossing from one side to the other.

While English is the main language of the Dutch side of the island, French is the lingua franca on our side.

Moving to St. Martin: FAQ’s

Visitors and prospective residents alike all have similar questions about St. Martin. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Where is St. Martin?

Located east of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, and to the north of St. Kitts, St. Martin is about 90 minutes by air from Miami.

St. Martin (aka Sint Maarten, or SXM for short, aka “the most famous airport in the Caribbean“) is regarded as a prime destination by most of the world’s major airlines, which makes planning a flight to St. Martin simple and convenient.

What does “SXM” mean?

SXM is the callsign for Princess Juliana Airport. It’s also the nickname of St. Martin.

Do I need a visa to live on St. Martin?

Both France and the Netherlands are members of the European Union (EU), so if you’re hoping to escape the Brexit, St. Martin may be the island for you. Since the EU itself is borderless, there is no border on St. Martin either.

For prospective expats, it means you must deal with EU regulations on immigration, or abide by local rules regarding permanent resident.

This means that if you are not a citizen of a European Union country you cannot just show up one day on St. Martin and take up residence. You must first apply for residency status before you will be allowed to live on the island. Also, even if you are granted residency you will not be able to work on the island without a work permit.

Those are difficult to get as you must posses a unique skill and your potential employer must prove that there are no locals qualified to fill the position.

For more information, refer to the Sint Maarten immigration service (the Dutch side of the island typically has more information in English than the French side). They have a guide to moving to Sint Maarten that is very thorough.

What’s the cost of living like?

You’ll probably find that the cost of living on St. Martin is around 30% to 50% higher than where you now live (especially if you live in the United States). If you are eligible to work, you’ll find wages substantially lower. If you don’t have retirement savings, and you want to be able to work, you may consider working remotely using the Internet and a laptop.

What’s the Internet like on St. Martin?

St. Martin is an island, and this means internet must be provided by undersea cable. So, like most island communities around the world, the internet is slower on St. Martin. It’s also more expensive. Companies such as UTS and Caribserve provide Internet services, but it’s going to cost about 50% more than in the United States.

What kinds of jobs are on St. Martin?

Tourism has also provided lots of jobs for the foreign locals. Many of these jobs are in the boating industry. People who visit the island not only fly in but they come on cruise ships, private and chartered yachts, sail boats and ferries. This creates opportunities for those who have boating skills or who are willing to learn the skills.

Working with boats is not the only place you can find foreign locals working. Some people work in construction, while others may sell real estate real estate. And, as mentioned, many people work remotely.

What’s the weather like?

The weather is especially dry and temperate between December and April.

The winter season is typically when most of our visitors experience St. Martin and Grand Case for the first time. And for everyone who has ever stayed with out, Grand Case is love at first sight.

What are the beaches like?

What is the food like on St. Martin?

One of the great things about living on the island was the hundreds of eating establishments—Saint Martin is often called the “culinary capital of the Caribbean.” From fish kebabs to barbeque and sushi, there is something for every taste on our island.

If you like good food, this is the place to be. It has been said that there are so many restaurants on St. Maarten/St. Martin that you can eat in a different one every night and never eat in the same one twice.

In fact, there are more than 67 restaurants set up in typical Creole houses along Grand Case Boulevard, just a short walk from our beautiful Caribbean resort.

What are the hospitals like?

There is a large, modern hospital in Marigot, the largest city on the French side of the island. There is also a hospital in Philipsburg, on the Dutch side of the island. Both hospitals provide good quality medical care. Of course, if you are not a permanent resident you must come equipped with travel insurance before you move here.

Can I buy property on St. Martin?

There are no restrictions on the purchase of real estate by foreigners. . Saint Martin is an overseas collectivity of France, so people who buy real estate here enjoy all the legal protections of the French Republic and the European Union.

Any Questions?

Neither Brexit nor the possible election of Donald Trump will mean the end of the world (we hope). But many people are motivated to live in the Caribbean… because it’s the Caribbean. We live here ourselves, so we know what the attraction is: warm weather, beautiful beaches and a relaxed island vibe. If you are considering moving here and have more questions, let us know in the comments below!