Things to Know about the British Virgin Islands

Things to Know about the British Virgin Islands

We want you to thoroughly enjoy your time here on our beautiful islands and we have some information and tips to help with that.

Responsible Tourist Tips

Language: The official language is English, Spanish is also spoken.

Currency: The U.S. Dollar.

Time: Atlantic Standard Time, G.M.T.-4.

Electricity: 110 Volts Standard, 60HZ. Please use efficiently!

Ports of Entry: Road Town, Tortola; West End, Tortola; Great Harbour, Jost Van Dyke; Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda; Gun Creek, Virgin Gorda; Beef Island, Tortola.

While Out and About: As with any time that you are on vacation, you should secure your property by ensuring doors and windows are fastened before heading to bed, or leaving your hotel room or house. Store your valuables in your hotel safe deposit box and travel with small amounts of cash. Be mindful or your surroundings when walking at night.

Driving: Stay to the left while driving, wear your seatbelt and use only a hands-free mobile phone device. Temporary driver’s licenses are available for visitors who plan to stay longer than 30 days.

Taxis: Taxi fares are listed and are based on the number of people traveling and final destination. Confirm the fare with your driver prior to embarking. Use only authorized taxis – fares, driver’s name and license should be clearly displayed in the vehicle.

Communication: Our area code is (284). Check with your mobile phone company about coverage as roaming fees may apply. Internet and phone centers are available.

Departure: A $20 departure tax is required at the Airport. A $5 departure tax is required at the Sea Ports.

British Virgin Islands Marriage Licence:  You’re getting married and you’ve chosen the BVI! To obtain a marriage license, application must be made to the Attorney General’s Chambers. Processing the application and granting the licence takes three working days, and the licence is valid for three months.

Firearms: Are restricted imports and must be declared to Customs on entry. Any firearms or ammunition will be sequestered at Police Headquarters until your departure.

nosmokingSmoking:  THE TOBACCO PRODUCTS CONTROL ACT, 2006 – One of the most talked about laws in the British Virgin Islands was passed on November 14, 2006. This law banned smoking in public areas and 50 feet within reach of any public places.
This sign (right) can be seen all over the BVI in restaurants, bars, airports, ferry terminal, night clubs, sport facilities and many more venues.The law provides that any one convicted of smoking in a public place is liable of fines up to $1000 on the first offense and up to $2000 on following offenses. The BVI is following the UK and other countries who has passed laws to control the use, packaging, advertising and distribution of tobacco.

Responsible Boating

You are in command! That’s why it’s so important to make sure you and your passengers remain as safe as possible while on the water.

  • Wear your life jackets! In an emergency there won’t be time to reach stowed life jackets.
  • Never boat under the influence. The sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion common to the marine environment intensify the effect of alcohol, drugs and even some prescription medications. These stressors can cause fatigue and dramatically affect judgment, balance, coordination and reaction time.
  • Check the weather report and tides/currents prior to departure.
  • File a float plan – make sure someone knows where you are going and when you intend to return.
  • Know the waters in which you are navigating – refer to the local charts and stay within marked channels.

BVI Fishing Licences

It is illegal to remove any marine organism from BVI waters without a recreational fishing permit. Under the 1997 British Virgin Islands Fisheries Act, all fishing activities occurring within the 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone have certain, specific restrictions. All fishing vessels must have valid Certificates of Registration and owners have valid fishing licences. Guests on charter must have valid Fishing Licences or Temporary Fishing Permits.

A Recreational Fishing License is defined as a license granted to a person who catches fish on a catch-and-release basis. This license allows tourists to fly fish in the flats and the fish commonly caught include Bonefish, Tarpon and Snook.

It is ILLEGAL to have in one’s possession billfish such as Blue & White Marlin, Sailfish and Sword Fish. It is also ILLEGALto have more than thirty pounds of fish by weight in one’s possession per boat.

A Sport Fishing License is a license granted to fishermen who escort mostly tourists on a fishing expedition, by foreign sport fishing companies and locals. Fish commonly caught include Wahoo, Kingfish, Tuna, Marlin, Sailfish, Dolphin, King Mackerel, Swordfish.

For links to these and other applications and information, visit: