International Travel

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Country Information

British Virgin Islands

British Virgin Islands
British Virgin Islands
Exercise normal precautions in Barbados.

Exercise normal precautions in Barbados.

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Barbados:

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Embassy Messages
Alerts
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

Must be valid at time of entry

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

1 page required for entry stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Not required for stays up to one month

VACCINATIONS:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

None

ALL /
ALL /
Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Bridgetown

Wildey Business Park
Wildey
St. Michael BB 14006
Barbados, W.I.
Telephone: +(246) 227-4399
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(246) 227-4000
Fax: +(246) 431-0179

Destination Description

The British Virgin Islands are a British overseas territory and part of the British West Indies. See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on the British Virgin Islands for information on U.S. – British Virgin Islands relations. 

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Passports and Visa:  U.S. citizens must have a valid U.S. passport at time of entry. For further information, travelers may contact the BVI Tourist Board at (800) 835-8530 or (212) 563-3117, Fax: (212) 563-2263 or visit the BVI Tourist Board online for current entry requirements.

NOTE: Be aware that Caribbean cruises that begin and end in the United States (closed loop cruises) do not require that you travel with a valid passport. However, should you need to disembark due to an emergency and you do not have a valid passport, you may encounter difficulties entering or remaining in a foreign country. You may also have difficulty attempting to re-enter the United States by air because many airlines will require a valid passport before allowing you to board the aircraft. As such, we strongly recommend that you always travel abroad with your valid passport.

HIV/AIDS:  Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions may exist.  Please contact the BVI Immigration Department before you travel.

Find information on dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction, and custom information on our websites.

Safety and Security

The British Virgin Islands continues to rebuild following Hurricane Maria in September 2017. Electricity is restored to most populated areas, although some properties remain without electricity. Most roads are passable with repairs ongoing. Ferry services to the major islands have resumed, although there is still some disruption to the regular schedule. Hotel accommodations are limited and conditions at some hotels are below comfort level. Travelers should verify whether their hotel has hot water, air conditioning, and or other amenities they consider necessary.

Crime: Crimes, including murder, rape, armed robbery, petty street crime, automobile break-ins and burglary, do occur. Avoid walking alone, especially in isolated locations and at night. Do not leave valuables unattended in public areas, unsecured hotel rooms or in rental homes.

Do not buy counterfeit and pirated goods. Not only are bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them you may be breaking local law.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Victims of Crime: For police, medical, and fire emergencies call 999. After you have contacted local authorities, contact the U.S. Embassy at (246) 227-4000. 

Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical
  • support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance at (246) 227-4000.

For further information:

Watersports Advisory: You should carefully assess the potential risks inherent in recreational water activities and measure your participation in them against your physical capabilities and skills. Never venture out alone, particularly at isolated beaches or far out to sea. Avoid entering the water above your waist if you have been drinking and always be mindful of jetski traffic in the area. When in doubt, stay out!

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties:   You are subject to local laws. Persons violating British Virgin Island laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs or firearms in the British Virgin Islands are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law.  For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification:   If you are arrested or detained,  request that police or prison officials  notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

Firearms:  Firearms entry restrictions may exist for visitors to and foreign residents of the British Virgin Islands. Please contact the BVI Immigration Department before you travel.

Faith-Based Travelers:  See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report.

LGBTI Travelers:  There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in the BVI.

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Access to buildings, pedestrian paths and transportation is extremely difficult for persons with disabilities. Sidewalks (if they exist) are very uneven and will only occasionally have ramps at intersections. Pedestrian crossings are also very infrequent and can be poorly marked. Buses and taxis do not have special accommodations for disabled persons.

Students:  See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers:  See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Health

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not apply overseas and that doctors and hospital will expect immediate cash payment for health services. 

Medical facilities in the British Virgin Islands do not meet U.S. standards. The main hospital is Peebles Hospital (Telephone (284) 494-3497. There is no hyperbaric chamber in the BVI.

A volunteer organization, Virgin Islands Search and Rescue (VISAR), responds 24-hrs/day to medical emergencies at sea or on the outer islands. VISAR transports casualties to the nearest point for transfer to ambulance. Reach VISAR at SOS (767) or call on Marine Channel 16.

Zika Virus: Zika virus is a mosquito-borne illness that can be spread from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby as well as through sexual contact.  The CDC has concluded that the Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects in some fetuses and babies born to infected mothers.  For additional information about Zika, including travel advisories, visit the CDC website

Chikungunya and dengue fever are present on the island. Travelers should carry and use CDC recommended insect repellents.

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas.  We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage

Carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription.

Zika Virus: Zika virus is a mosquito-borne illness that can be spread from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby as well as through sexual contact. The CDC has concluded that the Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects in some fetuses and babies born to infected mothers. For additional information about Zika, including travel advisories, visit the CDC website.

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety

Please be aware that much of the country’s infrastructure was impacted by the 2017 hurricane season.  Public transportation and services may not be running at full capacity, and travel around the island may be difficult.

Road signs are limited and drivers often fail to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians, even at painted crosswalks. Speeding and reckless driving are fairly common in the BVI. Drivers can encounter nighttime drag racing on main thoroughfares and livestock on roads both day and night. Roads in Tortola's interior can be steep and extremely slippery when wet. Travelers planning to drive across the island should consider requesting four-wheel drive vehicles and should ensure that tires and brakes are in good operating condition on any rental vehicle.

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.

Traffic Laws:   Driving is on the left-hand side of the road.  Seatbelts are required by law and cell phone use while driving is prohibited.

Public Transportation: Public transportation consists of mini-buses and taxis.

See our Road Safety page for more information.  Visit the website of the country’s national tourist office and national authority responsible for road safety.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) assesses whether local civil aviation authorities are in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of air carrier operations.  Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Last Updated: April 10, 2018
Travel Advisory Levels

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Bridgetown
Wildey Business Park
Wildey
St. Michael BB 14006
Barbados, W.I.
Telephone
+(246) 227-4399
Emergency
+(246) 227-4000
Fax
+(246) 431-0179
British Virgin Islands Map