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By No owner — last modified Jun 12, 2015 09:32 PM

 British Virgin Islands - Formalities

Clearance

SailClear, the advance web notification service for clearance. It does not take the place of actual clearance procedures on arrival. It is just a pre-notification.

2015: Cruisers report that authorities in Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda, and Soper’s Hole (West End) Tortola, still do not use SailClear.

As of 1 August 2017, the official Ports of Entry are: Road Harbour (Tortola), West End (Tortola), Great Harbour (Jost Van Dyke), Spanish Town (Virgin Gorda), Gun Creek (Virgin Gorda), Beef Island (Airport). Nanny Cay is NOT a port of entry.

On approaching BVI during daylight, proceed directly to a Port of Entry and clear immigration controls. Yachts arriving outside of business hours must fly the Q flag and register with Immigration on the next business day. It is advisable to contact Immigration in advance if you are likely to arrive at night. No persons may go ashore until the yacht has been cleared nor may it enter a marina unless an agent has been employed.

Failure to comply with these regulations can lead to heavy fines or imprisonment. Also ensure that all your paperwork is in date as there are heavy fines is any is found to be out of date.

Normal business hours are 08:30 to 16:30 (Monday-Friday) and 08:30 to 12:30 (Saturday), but they do vary at different ports. See the individual port pages for more details.

Clearance outside normal working hours incurs additional charges. Call Customs at 284-494-3475 and Immigration at 284-494-3701 ext. 4700 to make after-hours arrangements.

Because space at jetties at the Ports of Entry (see bottom of page) is limited, vessels are allowed to anchor in the harbour before Clearing in.

Ship's papers, passports and last clearance must be shown, and an inward manifest and/or outward manifest, and crew list completed.

It should be noted that the British Virgin Islands and the US Virgin Islands require full Customs clearance out and in when sailing between them. If, however, your stay is short, you may be able to clear in and out at the same time.

Private boats are automatically given up to 30 days to cruise around the BVI. Recently (Feb 2015) some officials in some ports have been charging private yachts a fee of $1/foot/day. Cruisers have suggested that having paperwork showing that you have not previously been charged this fee will allow you to avoid it. However, according to the BVI Ports Authority's own statement, it currently should not be charged at all. See 'Fees' section below.

A cruising permit is required for all charter yachts cruising in the BVI.

If wishing to use a day mooring in a National Park, then a permit must be purchased when clearing in.

A recreational fishing permit must also be obtained if planning to fish. See Fisheries Department Tel: +284 494 5681

NOTE: Travel between the US Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands require clearance in and out. It is sometimes possible, for short stays, to clear in and out at the same time.

Last updated August 2017.

British Virgin Islands Ports Authority
Port Purcell P.O Box 4, Road Town , Tortola, British Virgin Islands
Tel:(284) 494-3435 Fax:(284) 494-2642

Immigration

All visitors require a passport which is valid for at least 6 months. This law is strictly enforced.

Most nationals do not need a visa for the BVIs. Exceptions include Israeli and Russian nationals, who do need a valid BVI visa. For more information contact the BVI Tourist Board Office, or contact the Chief Immigration Department, BVI Government T: +1 (284) 494-3471 or 494 3701ext. 4700. Visas can be obtained from any British Embassy or High Commission, but may take up to three months to process. Proof of identity: US and Canadian citizens can use an original birth certificate accompanied by a valid photo ID, but a passport is preferred. All other nationalities need to present a valid passport.

 

For further information, including visa requirements, see www.bvitourism.co.uk/entry-requirements

If arriving by air and leaving by yacht, the crew member must have a letter signed by the captain.

Citizens of about 90 countries (including some Caribbean ones; Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti and Jamaica) will require a visa. US, Canadian, EU and northern European citizens do not. To establish the situation for other nationals, it is necessary to call the Immigration department. Be aware that it can take up to 3 months to obtain a visa. They can be obtained from any British Embassy or High Commission.

Due to heightened security checks, all crew need to be present to clear Immigration.

Last updated August 2017.

Immigration Department (Main office)
341 Waterfront Drive , Ashley Ritter Building , Road Town, Tortola, BVI
Tel: (284) +494-3471 or 468-3701 ext. 4700.
Opening hours: 08:30-16:30 (Mon-Fri), 08:30-12:30(Sat)
Call the above number to arrange out of hours clearance, or establish if a visa is required.

Customs

Due to heightened security, a yacht may be searched on arrival.

Firearms are not allowed to be kept on board and must be surrendered to Customs until departure. This law is strictly enforced.

Jetskis/water bikes must also be declared to Customs as their use in BVI waters is illegal.

Meat cannot be brought into the islands unless it is less than 40lbs in weight and from North America.

Yachts in transit may import spare parts free of duty. If the parts are to be fitted by a local company, 5 per cent duty on the value (including shipping and insurance costs) must be paid.

Yachts can remain for 1 month automatically. If wishing to remain longer, then payment of a $200 temporary import fee will allow it to remain for 1 year.

Last updated October 2016.

Customs
Tel:+1 (284) 494 3471 / +1 (284) 468 3701 ext 4701.
Opening hours: 08:30-16:30 (Mon-Fri), 08:30-12:30(Sat)
Customs and Immigration offices are located on Tortola in Road Town and West End, on Virgin Gorda at the Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour, and on Jost Van Dyke in Great Harbour.
After hours clearance can be arranged in advance. Call the phone number.

Health

Do not eat reef fish such as barracuda, grouper, snapper or parrot. They are a source of ciguatera.

Jelly fish are present during the summer months,

Manchioneel trees: these tress are dangerous. They grow along the shore. Do not eat the (apple-like) fruit or sit under them in the rain.

There is no hyperbaric chamber in the BVI. Patients requiring treatment for decompression illness are transferred to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

There is a small general hospital in Road Town, Tortola and also several clinics on the island. Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke and Anegada are the only other islands with a clinic staffed by a nurse.

Documents

If wishing to use a mooring in the National Parks, a permit must be purchased.

Fees

Clearance and Immigration

There is a Immigration fee and a Customs clearance fee. The amount seems to vary from about $8 to $25.

Overtime must be paid for Customs clearance outside 08:30-16:30 Monday to Friday, 0830-1230 Saturdays and on public holidays.

Parks Permit
There is a charge for using the moorings in the National Parks. $6/day, $50/week or $150 for 1 year.

Private Vessels
Private boats are automatically given up to 30 days to cruise around the BVI. A 30 day cruising fee is charged which is based on tonnage (with a maximum of $55).

After 1 month, there is a Temporary Importation fee of $200. This covers the yacht for 1 year.

For more information call Customs on (284) 494-3475.

Charter Vessels

Visiting crewed charter boats also have to pay a departure tax of US$4 per person.

Update August 2017

From 1st September 2017, Noonsite has been advised that visitors over 2 years old, will have to pay a $10 environmental and tourism levy.

Please contact noonsite if you have been asked to pay this new levy as it is not clear it applies to private yacht crew/owners.

Last updated August 2017.

Restrictions

Any out of island contractors require a work permit before working on a boat.

Non-residents must obtain a recreational fishing permit in order to fish in BVI waters. Failure to comply may result in a large fine or custodial sentence.

Spearfishing, lobstering and the collection of live shells is prohibited. Jet-skis are prohibited in BVI waters.

National parks: A reef protection programme is in operation in an effort to limit damage caused by visiting boats. Mooring buoys have been laid in a number of sensitive areas, which have suffered extensive damage due to increased anchoring activity. NOTE: These mooring are for day use only.

Cruising boats must obtain a National Parks moorings permit and follow these regulations:

(1)The reef protection buoys are colour coded: Red buoys: non-diving, day use only; Yellow buoys: commercial dive vessels only (or boats over 55ft); White buoys: non-commercial vessels for dive use only, on a first come first served basis and a 90 minute time limit; Blue buoys: dinghy use only.

(2) Vessels over 55 ft LOA or 35 tons may now use the larger yellow mooring buoys.

(3)Vessels must use the existing mooring line. To avoid chafe, the line may be extended.

(4)The use of the buoys are at the user's risk and neither the BVI Government, which owns the buoys, nor the BVI National Parks Trust, which manages them, will bear responsibility for any loss or injury.

(5) A fee is charged for the use of the moorings.

Last updated October 2016.

Fishing Licences
Min. of Natural Resources, , East Wing, Gov. Admin Building, , Road Town, Tortola, BVI
Tel:(284) 494 3701 Ex 2147
National Parks Trust Office
61 Main St. Road Town, Tortola.
Tel:284 852 3650 Fax: 284 852 3660
All boats must obtain a National Parks Permit.
Wider Caribbean's Marine Protected Areas (CaMPAM)
A useful database of MPAs in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean region. All Marine Parks are MPAs, and therefore if wanting to find out about any marine parks in the islands you are visiting, details and location can be sourced via this website.

Local Customs

The local dress code is more formal than in some of the other Caribbean islands and beachwear is not acceptable in towns and stores.

Pets

Dogs and Cats
Dogs and Cats are only permitted entry after the Ministry of Agrigulture's Veterinary Division issues an Import Permit. The BVI is a rabies free territory and in order to protect against the spread of this disease there are strict regulations for pets coming in from countries that are known to have outbreaks of rabies, such as United States and Canada.

Caribbean nations of Anguilla, Antigua, Barbados, Dominica, Montserrat, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, and the US Virgin Islands are rabies free.

Full details on requesting an Import Pertmit can be obtained from the Department of Agriculture, Veterinary Division, on Tel: (284)495 3701 ext. 6123 or apply on line at www.britishvirginislands.com.

All Animals
For all animals, a valid Health Certificate issued at least two weeks prior to arrival must be shown (plus a valid anti-rabies certificate for dogs and cats as above).

No animals can be landed without a permit and must remain secured on board at all times. A permit will contain full details (species, sex, age, colour, country of origin, owner's name and address, means of arrival).

A charge of US$5 per animal is made by Customs at the time of clearance and all certificates must be presented at the same time. The penalty for breaking the law is a fine and impounding of the animal. All animals entering the territory must be declared at Customs.

All pets must have current health certificates and vaccinations, especially with respect to rabies.

Last updated march 2016.

Department of Agriculture
Paraquita Bay, , Tortola, BVI
Tel:+284 495 2110 2532 Fax:+284 495-1269
The website has a link to the permit application and details of the regulations applicable.
Share |
gts1544
gts1544 says:
Jun 12, 2015 07:06 AM

Saba Rock Resort has a great Happy Hour (4 - 6 PM) with $4 Painkillers and Rum Punches. They offer a free bag of ice and a free water fill with each $30 overnight mooring ball receipt. Use caution as there are some $35 Bitter End Resort mooring balls over in the Saba Rock area with no associated freebies. Leverick Bay also offers a free bag of ice and a free water fill with each $30 overnight mooring ball receipt.

gts1544
gts1544 says:
Jun 12, 2015 06:19 AM

To reiterate, we base a USCG documented Beneteau 41' in Tortola by purchasing an annual $200 Temporary Importation Permit, then going across the street with our new permit and purchasing a resident $75 annual National Parks Trust Permit and mast decal. We have been doing this for 20 years, have heard nothing about any time limits, use the boat 10 months a year in the BVI's and have never been hassled. Last permits purchased 1/5/15.

Tangogirl
Tangogirl says:
Mar 29, 2015 08:03 PM

The BVI National Park website indicated the following information below. So to clarify, even if you purchase the temporary importation permit and annual mooring permit (totaling $300USD),you can only stay in the BVI and use the mooring balls for 30day/calendar year?
Thanks!
Moorings

There is a self-registration fee of $15.00 for overnight anchoring or mooring between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. Golden Age/Access Passport holders pay half price. Overnight fees must be paid prior to spending the night. Overnight stays in the Park waters are limited to 30 nights in a particular calender year, and no more than seven consecutive nights in one bay. Payment stations are located at Cruz Bay Finger Pier, Caneel Bay Watersports Shop, Hawksnest Bay, Maho Bay Camp, Leinster Bay, Saltpond Bay, and Great Lameshur Bay.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Mar 25, 2015 03:47 PM

Posted on behalf of Robbie Dinion:
The BVI are now chRging a $1 per foot fee for all vessels checking in.
They also charge $10 for each island visited
$10 for a custim services fee
$10 the first time each year you enter
And $20 imigration fee.
Plus the parks fee.
For my private vessel C NUT a 42 Bavaria with just me aboard it was $81 to check in and stay for 1 day.

Robbie Dinion
Sailingallover
Energyallover

Chase Jazzborne
Chase Jazzborne says:
Mar 08, 2014 04:15 PM

DO YOU NEED PROPANE? Click the Road Harbour link and look for propane comment at the bottom for directions.

gts1544
gts1544 says:
Jan 10, 2014 12:57 PM

You can purchase a calendar year long permit in Road Town at the National Parks Trust for $150, including the decal which must be affixed to the base of the mast. Caveat: Our USCG documented boat is based (temporarily, read permanently) in the BVI's by paying $200 annually for a "temporary importation permit" good for the same calendar year. So, for $350, you could stay in the BVI's for a year and use all of the diving mooring balls for that same period. Getting an Immigration Department extension from the main office in Road Town is no problem as long as you are not trying to work there and have the means to support yourself.

kenbrook
kenbrook says:
Nov 25, 2013 05:25 PM

This year, for the first time ever, I was asked by Custom, when checking in, if I needed a National Parks permit. They had no documentation on the park locations. I was told the fees are US$6/day/person or US$50/week/boat of 4 people. Which means US$360 on the daily rate for two cruisers staying the 30 day max allowed or only US$200 for four weeks on the weekly rate. At www.bvinpt under "Mooring Bouy System" I found "To use the mooring bouys you are required to purchase a Parks Permit". So I assume if you do not plan to use Parks mooring bouys (which are day use only - no overnight) you do not need a permit. But "Foreign vessels are required to purchase permits at Customs" which means you need to be prepared to answer the question when you check in.

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Set in one of the finest and most central locations in the BVI, Nanny Cay is located on the South side of Tortola, between the capital Roadtown and West End. We are proud to provide the very best marine services and facilities possible in what after all is one of the most popular sailing destinations in the world today.

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