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Countries Information & Lifestyle
 Brit. Virgin Islands Brit. Virgin Islands

Country Information & Lifestyle

 Discover the Magic of the Islands

Discover the Magic of the Islands

Lifestyle

Purchasing a Property

Unless you or your parents were born in the BVI, you will need a Non-Belonger Land Holding License (NBLHL) in order to buy property. A NBLHL is only granted in order for you to take title to a specific property. A NBLHL takes 12 to 24 months to obtain. A 10% deposit is paid on a Sale & Purchase Agreement and goes on to a CD until closing. Interest to the seller is customary.

If buying an empty lot, you must agree to build within 2 to 3 years with a minimum expenditure of approximately US$250,000.

If you wish to rent your house, you must request the right to rent on your NBLH License Application. It may or may not be granted. If the home had a previous rental license from the Department of Trade then chances are you may get permission to rent. Since 1998, most NBLH Licenses have had a restrictive clause saying something to the effect: this home may not be rented without permission of the Governor in Council, which will not be reasonably withheld.

Once agreement in principle has been reached, a legally binding purchase and sale agreement is drawn up by the vendor's attorney, and signed by the parties. This normally contains a condition that completion is contingent upon the purchaser obtaining a NBLHL. A prospective purchaser normally pays a 10% earnest deposit to the vendor's agent, to be held in escrow. A purchaser will normally acquire absolute title which is registered in the BVI Government Land Registry.

Applications for a License must be accompanied by two personal financial references, one bank reference, two character references, police record, application fee of US$200 (individual) or US$500 (company), and, once approved, issuance of license fee of US$600 (individual) or US$1,000 (company). Licenses carry a 2 or 3-year commitment to develop unimproved land. The objective of the licensing regulations is to prevent speculation on undeveloped property.

If the application for a License relates to undeveloped or partly developed land, the applicant will be required to commit to spend a specific sum on development, normally not less than US$250,000, within a specified period, normally three years. Undeveloped land cannot be resold until such a development commitment has been fulfilled, or a penalty paid, normally 25% of the sale price.

However, the purchase of developed property for residential purposes will generally not incur a development commitment. An overseas investor is free to let a property on a long term or short term (holiday let) basis subject to approval to rent the property by the Executive Council as part of the License application and the granting of a Trade License. Such approval by the Executive Council will be stated on the License and will automatically grant approval of the relevant Trade License. The annual fee for the required Trade License of a Non-Belonger is US$400.

Fees & Taxes

Stamp Duty 4.00% - 12%paid by the buyer.

Non-Belonger Land Holding License US$600 paid by the buyer.

Legal Fees 1.00% - 2.00% paid by the buyer.

Real Estate Agent's Commission 6.0% - 8.0% paid by the seller.

Visas

A passport is necessary for all visitors to the British Virgin Islands (including citizens of the U.K.). The following measures are to be adhered to by 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.

U.S. citizens, E.U. citizens, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, and South Africans do not require a visa to enter the British Virgin Islands. If you are travelling through the U.S. but your final destination is the B.V.I., you may still need to travel with a visa, according to U.S. entry requirements.

All other nationalities need to check the entry requirements prior to travel.

Yacht Clearance

If you plan to exit and then re-enter the British Virgin Islands during your sailing vacation, please be certain to follow the proper procedures for clearing your yacht and crew with both BVI Customs and Immigration.

The ports of entry and exit are located at:
Road Harbour, Tortola
Soper Hole, West End, Tortola
Great Harbour, Jost Van Dyke
St. Thomas Bay, Virgin Gorda

Your captain may clear all crew, provided he or she has all of the required documentation, including:

Ships documentation. Prior to leaving the charter base, be sure this item is aboard if you plan to leave BVI waters.

Valid passports for each crew member. (In the absence of a passport, Canadian & US citizens need an original or notarised copy of their birth certificate and at least one piece of photo ID such as a driver's license if travelling between the British Virgin Islands and the US Virgin Islands.)

Be sure you clear into the territory you plan to visit. Don't forget to stop off again at any of the above listed BVI ports of entry on return to the British Virgin Islands.

If visiting the USVI, you may clear in at Cruz Bay, St. John or Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas. If you are not either a US or Canadian citizen, and are entering the USVI waters on anything other than a commercial carrier (ferry, airline, etc.), you must obtain a visitor's visa.

Visitors from the UK and all other countries should consult their local US Embassy prior to arrival in the British Virgin Islands to determine what is required to obtain the proper visas for crew wishing to exit the BVI by yacht.


BVI Cruising Tax / Permits

A cruising permit is required for all cruising in the British Virgin Islands.

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