BVI Information

Capital: Road Town

Currency: US Dollar

Language: English

Population : 26,000

Time Zone : Atlantic Standard Time (AST) 1 hour ahead of EST

Location: The British Virgin Islands are located at Latitude 18.25° North and 64.36°West in the Caribbean Sea - approximately 90 miles East of Puerto Rico.

Banks:Full Service Banks have offices in Road Town and Virgin Gorda: First Bank VI, Scotia Bank, Banco Popular and First Caribbean Bank.

Credit Cards: Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted in most establishments. American Express is less accepted. An American Express office is located at Romney Associates in Road Town.

Customs: All imports are subject to customs duty tax varying rates from 5% - 20%. Imports that are in transit or entering the the BVI on a temporary basis are not subject to duty. There is no duty on importation of computers.

Departure Tax: BY AIR: Departure tax $15.00 per person; Security Tax $5.00 p/p. BY SEA: Departure tax $5.00; $7.00 cruise ship passengers (subject to change).

Hotel Accommodation Tax: A 7% hotel accommodation tax is payable by guests who stay for 6 months or less in hotels and vacation villa accommodations. p/p. BY SEA: Departure tax $5.00; $7.00 cruise ship passengers (subject to change).

Sales Tax:There is no sales tax for goods purchased in the BVI.

Dress Code:Caribbean casual (shorts, sundress and t shirts); For finer dining a sundress, slacks and collared shirt are more appropriate. We are more than just a beach and beach attire worn elsewhere tends to offend residents. Therefore please wear proper attiire and shoes (no bare chest or midriffs) in residential and commercial areas.

Driving:A valid drivers liscense is required for all who wish to drive and you must be 25 years or older to hire a car. Driving is on the left-side throughout the British Virgin Islands - KEEP LEFT!

Drugs:Illegal drug possession, sale, use or distribution constitutes a criminal offence which is punishable by law. Conviction on drug charges can lead to stiff fines and jail sentences.

Emergency:Dial 999 for Police, Fire - Ambulance; VISAR (Virgin Island Search and Rescue) is a voluntary organization providing 24 -hour marine search and rescue service in BVI Waters. In an emergency call on VHF marine radio Channel 16 or dial 999 or Channel 16.

Fishing Permit:The removal of any marine organism from B.V.I. waters is illegal for non-british Virgin Islanders without a recreational fishing permit. Call the Fisheries Division at (284) 494-3429 for information.

Hazards:There are no dangerous animals or insects in the B.V.I. Beware of the caustic fruit, sap and leaves of the Manchioneel tree (or Poison Apple tree) which are severely irritant, and poisonous if ingested. It is found near beaches. Dengue Fever- while etremely rare - is transmitted by several species of mosquito - symptoms include fever, headache, muscle/joint pains and a skin rash similar to measles. Be sure to stock up on mosquito repellent.

Beach Safety Flags:Red & Yellow: Lifeguard patrolled; Black & White: Non-swimming area; Red: Danger, No Swimming: Yellow: Take Caution (weak swimmers discouraged); Purple: Marine life such as jelly fish present.

Marriage License:Red & Yellow: With prior arrangement and minimum residency, the Registrar will often marry couples at the venue of their choice, including a beach, villa or boat.For regulations and residency requirements contact Registrar's Office (284) 468-3701 Ext 5001 or (284) 494-3492.

Medical:An International Vaccination Certificate is not mandatory. Peebles Hospital (284) 494-3497 has surgical, x-ray and lab facilities. Private lab facilities are offery by B & F Medical Complex (284) 494-2196, Eureka Medical Clinic (284) 494-2346 and Medical Diagnostic Lab (284) 494-9069. The Bougainvillea Clinic is a private surgical clinic. For info on health services, call the Dept of Health (284) 468-3701.

Passport:A valid passport is required for entry into the B.V.I. Vistors from some countries may also require a visa for entry. If in doubt about the necessity of a visa, contact the Immigration Department, B.V.I. Government (284) 494-3471 or 468-3701 ext 2538.

Pets:Family pets are allowed entry into the Territory with an import permit issued by the Dept. of Agriculture Tel: (284) 495-2532; Fax: (495-1269. For regulations on animal importation, contact well in advance.

Telephone:The international dialing code for the B.V.I. is +1(284) followed by a 7-digit number. LIME, DIGCEL and CCT Global Communication all offers cell phone services, wireless internet and other telecomunication services. Marine communications are offered by Tortola Marine Radio - call on VHF channel 16, talk on 27 or 84.

Tobacco:Smoking is prohibited in all public indoor and outdoor spaces (and within 50" of these spaces). This also applies to most beaches. For more information contact the Ministry of Health and Social Development Tel: (284) 468-3701 ext 2174.

Tourism Information:The B.V.I. Tourist Board is located in Road Town in the Akara Building, Wickams Cay I. Tel: (284) 494-3134, Fax: (284) 494-3866.Email - website:BVI Tourist Board

Travel Insurance:Trip interruption and cancellation insurance is highly recommended.

Voltage:110 Volt, 60 cycles.

Weather:B.V.I. average temperature is 84°F/29°C in summer and 80°F/27°C in winter. The average rainfall is approximately 45 inches annually.

More Information

Information courtesy of BVI Tourist Board

Governor: His Excellency Boyd McCleary

Premier: Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith

National Anthem: "God Save the Queen"

Flag: Union Jack

Territory status: Non-Sovereign, overseas territory of the United Kingdom, internal self-governing

Legal system: English Law

Judicial Branch: Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court

Largest Island: Tortola

Capital: Road Town, Tortola

Language: English (official), Spanish

Population: 28,882 (2009 est. based on 2005 census

Religions: Christianity (major), Hinduism, Islamic Faith, Other

Airport & Code: Terrence B. Lettsome International Airport (EIS)

Monetary Unit: US Dollar. Major credit cards are accepted in many, but not all establishments.

Calling Code: From the US: Dial 1 (284). From the UK: Dial 001 (284)

Economy: One of the most prosperous in the Caribbean; highest income generators – tourism and financial services.

Banks: Bank of Nova Scotia, National Bank of the Virgin Islands, Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, VP Bank (BVI), First Caribbean International, First Bank Virgin Islands.

Departure Taxes: $20.00 per person leaving by air, $5.00 leaving by sea and $7.00 for cruise ship passengers

Accommodation Tax: 7% Hotel Accommodation Tax payable by guests who stay for six months or less in hotels, apartments, houses, cottages, villas and similar accommodations

Driving: Persons staying in the territory under 30 days are not required to purchase a temporary driver’s license.

However, if your stay is over 30 days a license is required

Life Expectancy at Birth:

Male: 70.2 years

Female: 78.6 years

Medical Centres/Hospital: One Public Hospital - Peebles Hospital; various public and private health clinics and medical centres; Medivac (medical airlift) is readily available. An International Vaccination Certificate is not mandatory in The British Virgin Islands. Peebles Hospital has surgical, x-ray and laboratory facilities; there is a private plastic surgery clinic as well several private medical centres. A chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous meets regularly. Call (284) 496-8422

Unemployment rate: 3%

Literacy rate:98.2% (15 years plus)

Internet TLD: .vg

National Bird: Turtle Dove (Zenaida Aurta)

National Tree: White Cedar

Cruising Permits: A cruising permit is required for all cruising in The British Virgin Islands SEASONAL RATES: (December 1- April 30). All recorded Charter Boats - $2.00 per person per day. All non-recorded Charter Boats - $4.00 per person per day. OUT OF SEASON RATES: (May 1 - November 30). All recorded Charter Boats - $0.75 per person per day. All non-recorded Charter Boats - $4.00 per person day. Dive, day charter and sport fishing boats should contact The British Virgin Islands Customs Department Tel: (284) 494-3475 or (284) 468-3701 ext. 2533 for current cruising permit requirements.

Customs Duties: All imports are subject to varying rates of duty. Imports entering The British Virgin Islands on a temporary basis will not be subject to duty. Department of the Customs

Fishing Permits: The removal of any marine organism from British Virgin Islands waters is illegal for non-BVIslanders without a recreational fishing permit. Contact The Ministry of Natural Resources & Labour, Tel: (284) 468-3701 ext. 2147 for information. Immigration: The following measures are to be adhered to in respect of all non British Virgin Islanders entering the Territory: Bona fide visitors may be granted entry for up to one month at the ports of entry, provided that they possess return (or ongoing) tickets, evidence of adequate means of support and pre-arranged accommodations during their stay. Visitors wishing to stay longer will need to apply for an extension from the Immigration Department in Road Town, Tortola or at the Government Administration Building in Virgin Gorda. A valid passport is the principal requirement for entry into the BVI. U.S. citizens travelling by air to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda must present a passport or other WHTI-compliant documentation to enter or depart from the United States. Visitors from some countries may also require a visa for entry. If in doubt about the necessity of a visa, contact the nearest BVI Tourist Board Office, the nearest British Embassy, or contact the Chief Immigration Officer at the Immigration Department of the BVI Government at: Tel (284) 494-3471 ext. 4700 or (284) 468-3701 ext. 2538.

Marriage License and Regulations: For information regarding requirements on getting married in the Territory, contact: Registrar's Office, P.O. Box 418, Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands or phone (284) 468-3701 ext. 5001 or (284) 494-3442/5650. Or see our Weddings & Honeymoon's Section. www.crisvi.org Pets: Pets are allowed entry into the Territory only after an import permit is issued by the Department of Agriculture. For regulations governing animal importation, contact the Department of Agriculture, Paraquita Bay, Tortola, British Virgin Islands. Tel: (284) 495-2532 or Fax: (284) 495-1269.

Or click here to visit their website.

Marine Conservation Permits: The use of National Parks Trust mooring without a permit is illegal. Call the National Parks Trust Office at (284) 494 3904 for information. Smoking Policy: Smoking in public places has been banned in the BVI as a result of a law passed by the Legislative Council. The law bans smoking in public places including bars, restaurants, nightclubs, airports, offices, and sports facilities. It also bans smoking within 50 feet of any public space

Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings

There are regularly scheduled meetings. For more information, please call:

Tortola: (284) 499-0574 and/or (284) 544-3950.

Virgin Gorda: (284) 540-3133.

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