Rika from Cubicle Throwdown recently wrote an excellent post of the new Visa rules for Honduras/Roatan. She outlines the changes below:
Anyway, visa ‘extensions’ from within the country are no longer permitted and you must leave Honduras for at least 72 hours before re-entering to get a new visa. Overstaying your visa comes with some hefty fines… there is no ‘official’ number anywhere but I have heard of people 1-5 days over being charged around $160 and up.
How often will these visa runs be necessary you ask? Oh, every 90 days. Yes. Seriously.
Roatan has become a popular place to retire for lots of Americans and Canadians. And why not? Top notch weather, tropical island, beautiful water, great food, and cheap real estate. But here’s what you may NOT know. I know a good amount of Canadians that have “retired” to Roatan and run there own local business, bed and breakfasts, etc. Every single one that I know maintains citizenship in Canada, and is considered a tourist of Roatan/Honduras. In the past, this wasn’t an issue because they could continuously reapply for their temporary visa while in Roatan. Simply renew with a little paperwork, and continue to live in bliss.
The New Reality
Honduras is making a move to require the exit of the country for several days to renew the visa. Every 90 days, you would have to buy a plane ticket to exit the country, pay for a hotel elsewhere or transportation home, as well as incur other costs associated with traveling away for several days.
This becomes an issue very quickly. It simply isn’t affordable for these retirees to be flying in and out of the country just to reapply for their visas. The early feelings from my friends in Roatan is cautious, nervous, yet optimistic. Some say they will leave, others say it will have no impact. Since Roatan nearly exclusively relies on tourism, it could potentially put a large hamper on potential retirees contributing to the Roatan community. Whether a subsidiary rule is put into place for these long-term tourists or not is still up in the air.
What Does This Mean For Me?
So what does this mean for all of you? And for Roatan in general? Potentially, there could be a shift in the Roatan atmosphere. If you looking for a cute bed and breakfast, a small retiree-run restaurant, or a community of American/Canadian retirees – you glory days in Roatan may be coming to an end. Not to say that it will disappear, just…it could change.
If you are looking to retire to Roatan, you may want to wait for the dust to settle.
If the rules are enforced, I would see the larger hotels and resorts once again taking prominence on the island. I would expect to see less traffic, less people, which may also be a good thing for you.
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- Roatan secrets only the locals know
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- Detailed information about the best resorts, restaurants, and activities
- Money saving tips for Roatan
- And MORE!