Customs And Immigration

Since the Virgin Islands are divided between the U.S. and Britain, you will be crossing international boundaries during your cruise. Therefore, it is necessary to clear customs when entering and leaving each respective territory. Failure to observe this formality could result in substantial fines or even loss of your vessel. Should you pick up your charter boat in the USVI and wish to cruise the waters of the BVI, it would be necessary to "clear" the vessel with U.S. Customs and Immigration. Then proceed to the nearest British port of entry for clearance "inbound." You are required to clear the vessel out again before departing for U.S. territory. Often, if your stay is short and of a known duration, you will be permitted to clear in and out at the same time.

At the time of clearance, it is necessary to have in your possession the ship's papers and passports or identification for all crew members, in addition to your clearance from the last port. All crew members must be present for clearance. It is also recommended that you wear proper attire when making your clearance.

BVI Cruising Permits

For all charter yachts cruising in BVI waters, there is a daily tax payable at the time of clearance. This does not apply to private vessels cruising the area. In the future, day charter boats, dive boats and sport fishing boats will be required to obtain cruising permits.

The rates are as follows:

A. Charter boats based outside of the BVI:

$4/person per day all year.

B. Charter boats recorded in the BVI:

Fishing Permits in the BVI

It is illegal for a non-resident to remove any marine organism from the waters of the British Virgin Islands without first obtaining a recreational fishing permit.

Locations of Customs

St. Thomas: Wharfside at the ferry dock. St. John: Waterfront at Cruz Bay. St. Croix: Gallows Bay atChristiansted. Tortola: Roadto wn at the Government Dock. West End ferry dock. Virgin Gorda: Airport or Yacht Harbour. Jost Van Dyke: Great Harbour.

Office Hours

U.S. Customs are open from 8 a.m. to noon and 1-5 p.m. Monday through Sunday, but vessels clearing in on Sunday will incur overtime charges. Vessels arriving after hours must raise their quarantine flag, remain on board and clear the next morning. Customs and immigration are located next to each other for ease in clearing.

British Customs are open: Monday through Friday, 8:30-3:30 for normal business, with extended hours to 6 p.m. (with overtime fees); Saturday, 9-12:30, with extended hours until 6 p.m.; Sunday carries overtime charges all day. Customs officers can be found clearing in the ferries on Sundays for yacht clearance. Outside these hours, raise your quarantine flag and clear at the first available opportunity. Do not leave your vessel except to go straight to customs and immigration.

Schedule of Charges

Clearance into and from U.S. waters is free during normal working hours except for a token charge for the forms involved.

Typical charges for a 10 ton yacht clearing into the BVI are as follows:

Harbour Dues $2.00

Ship's Dues $3.00

Overtime fees additional $4.00

Please note that there is a 10-cent stamp duty payable throughout the BVI on all travelers checks.

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