How long can one stay BVI - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 11 Old 07-13-2009 Thread Starter
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How long can one stay BVI

Hi
Sorry for being a bit lazy ,but could someone tell me how long can a holder of a British passport stay in the BVI? interested to hear from someone who lives out there liverboard etc . I have read you need a return flight,is this true?

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post #2 of 11 Old 07-13-2009
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Nominally they (usually the airline, but also the immigration officers) can ask for a return flight ticket but usually that isn't checked on, in an emergency a one-way flight to SJU or SXM is cheap and quick to get.
The officers at the airport will give you a 30-day visa at most. It can be extended in Road Town (if you are on Tortola) but at that time they will ask questions and will demand sighting a return ticket (I showed them the booking on my PC once, but they required a printout - I had waited several hours and was required to return the next day with the printout and waited several more ). Another method you can use is to take a ferry to St. John or St. Thomas for a day and get another 30 day stay upon return - I've done that as well. It really comes down to being able to convince the BVI immigration authorities that you are not working illegally and have a reason to stay in the BVI. Although they are part of the commonwealth, being a UK or EU citizen doesn't give one a right to stay indefinately.


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post #3 of 11 Old 07-14-2009 Thread Starter
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Thanks for making the situation clearer ,a return ticket with a print out and a good reason to stay looks like the obvious solution .
Owning a boat in the BVI surley must be a good reason for them to extend/issue your visa.
Cheers

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post #4 of 11 Old 07-14-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gafferduck View Post
Owning a boat in the BVI surley must be a good reason for them to extend/issue your visa.
Cheers

Not really......

I've had a boat in the BVI for several years and it is a real pain to make the trip to Road Town to get the 30 day extension. It will generally cost you several days hassle and to me definitely NOT worth it. It is even more difficult to get the 2nd extension and it is typically given for emergencies such as medical or boat repairs not completed and you have to have full documentation on either.

Like almost everyone I know... I also head over the USVI for a day or so. I actually typically go for at least a week because I love to sail and hike around St. John.

HOWEVER, you have a PROBLEM... your British. Due to some Tit for Tat rules based on what private US boats are required to do in UK, the US adopted the same rules for UK boats in the Carib. You have a problem entering the USVI on a private boat with out advance approval. You may come by ferry boat with no problem but then you will need to stay overnight.

You can get the advanced approval if you apply. I have several Friends from Wales that recently did that so we could sail in on my boat when we wanted to hike and visit the big stores in USVI. Not sure of the form name but I'm sure you could locate it.

Do note that if you have a 30 day entrance permit and leave prior to the end and return prior to the end... your next entrance visa will be ONLY for the remaining days. Do Not return until after the initial 30 entrance permit has expired.

Funny how governments forget about little cruisers and make life difficult to go a mile and a half.

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post #5 of 11 Old 07-14-2009
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in order to sail to the USVI as a non-NAFTA individual on a non-commercial vessel you will either need a visa or do something tricky like take a ferry, then return to the BVI without giving up the I-20 form and then sailing to the USVI.
I once had to extend mz visa due to boat problems (the rudder and the rest of the boat had parted paths) and the officers on VG cross checked both with the yard and called up the charter company who had sold me the old boat and had issue my letter of running. They made me feel like someone trying to "cheat" extra time on island.


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post #6 of 11 Old 07-14-2009 Thread Starter
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thanks guys ,its not looking good, if and when i buy a boat in the bvi and what's the piont if you can only hang around for 30 days

what about a work permit ?

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post #7 of 11 Old 07-15-2009
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gafferduck - forget the work permit - it is a lengthy and involved process and you need to get sponsored. But what is the issue with 30 days - if you have a boat the USVI can be reached quickly (if you have no visa then a quick ferry trip as mentioned above will work) or, even better, head to St. Martin in order to get so palatable food on the French side and inexpensive duty-free shopping on the Dutch side. At a guess I would say that the price of boating supplies is around 50% of BVI prices so the trip is worth it. The trip to St. Martin sucks, as it is against wind and waves.
There are some interesting threads here and on traveltalkonline about what people have to go through in order to get a visa. I've heard many a bar tale in the BVI from expats there detailing their trials and tribulations.


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post #8 of 11 Old 07-15-2009
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The Work Permit thing is a problem. One is you can not apply for one if your on the island... it must be done before you get here and it typically takes about 6 months to get an answer. Another is YOU can not apply.... your employer has to apply and prove that no "Belonger" can do the job and what the employer is doing to resolve the problem of no Belongers being capable of doing the job... such as providing job training.

I can be done but you have to show it is in the BVI's best interest for you to be allowed a work permit. If you have some special skill such as a medical doctor, engineer or teacher your chances are better.

You also have to have prior approval for residency before you can get a work permit which you will have to state you are not going to work while your in residency in the islands.... one reason you must be off island while the work permit application is in progress. Sound like Fun???

One way around some of this is to start a business in the BVI. In most cases you can not be the majority owner but a Belonger will be. You will also have to show that your business will supply some ratio of Belonger jobs. I think this is at least two jobs for your work permit/ business license. This is the way some Charter Boat Captains break through the Administrative Maze but for some reason it is typically up to some low level clerk as to if you get submitted for approval or not. Basically you have to know some one who knows the system or pay a Belonger Lawyer to work it for you.

Note a Belonger is a native of BVI. If your a son of a Belonger born out of the BVI you may still apply for citizenship but it is almost impossible for anyone else to have citizenship. All the labor laws in BVI are very protective and promote Belongers.

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post #9 of 11 Old 07-17-2009 Thread Starter
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[ (if you have no visa then a quick ferry trip as mentioned above will work) or, even better, head to St. Martin in order to get so palatable food on the French side and inexpensive duty-free shopping on the Dutch side. At a guess I would say that the price of boating supplies is around 50% of BVI prices so the trip is worth it. The trip to St. Martin sucks, as it is against wind and waves

I assume you dont need visa's for the above if you hold a british passport?

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post #10 of 11 Old 07-17-2009
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St. Martin is a Department and Sint Maarten is directly a part of Holland. The Schengen rules apply so no worries for Schengen signatories. I was given to understand that no special work permit is necessary on the French side but that there are some strange regulations on the Dutch side which necessitate any but Dutch citizens to apply for one. Travel between the two countries is simple, just drive, sail, dinghy or walk.


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