Persons wishing to take advantage of the new BVI Visa Exemption Programme would not be able to travel on a United Kingdom (UK), United States of America (USA) or Canadian visa that was recently acquired.
The new visa policy took effect on 1 September and makes provision for persons to visit the Territory without having to obtain a BVI visa. Now travelers who previously required a BVI visa would be exempted if they already possess a visa from either the United States, United Kingdom, or Canada.
However, in the educational campaign it was announced that only visas that were used would qualify: “Current and valid visas issued by the United Kingdom, United States or Canada should have six months of validity or use prior to travel to the BVI. Furthermore, the exemption would only apply to visits of six months or less,” a Government issued flier stated.
Under the new visa provisions nationals of a country that require a BVI visa, but who also hold a United Kingdom (UK), United States of America (USA) or Canadian visa, can visit the Territory for business, tourism and other related matters and remain for a period less than six months.
The initiative is part of the labour and immigration reform efforts to further streamline entry and facilitate economic growth for the Territory. It is also part of the Territory’s efforts to facilitate visitors, while at the same time, safeguarding national security.
Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE said “My Government believes that the implementation of our visa exemption programme will also help tremendously with our global marketability in tourism and in the financial services sector. Given recent advancements in trade, investment, tourism and financial services in the region, and with Britain’s exit from the European Union, it is in the Territory’s best interest to lift certain visa restrictions as needed in order to facilitate further economic growth in the British Virgin Islands.”
Premier Smith added that it is a well-known fact that the UK, USA and Canada already have a strong system for issuing visas. Therefore, nationals of a country that would typically require a BVI visa or a visa-waiver to enter the Territory, once they hold a current and valid visa issued by the United Kingdom, United States of America or Canada, can travel to the BVI.