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Moving to British Virgin Islands

Updated on Monday 02nd May 2022

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Moving to British Virgin Islands.jpgMoving to British Virgin Islands is a multi-step process that starts with meeting the general entry requirement, depending on your nationality.
 
Read below to find out more about the conditions and reach out to our local BVI company formation agents if you are interested in opening a business here.
 
If you are an investor or entrepreneur who already has a running business operation here and wishes to immigrate to BVI, our team can assist you.
 
 Quick Facts  
  Nationalities accepted (EU/Non-EU)

EU and non-EU 

Business investment option (YES/NO)

NO

Real estate investment option (YES/NO)

 NO
Other investment options
(if available) 
N/A
Living requirement in BVI Maximum absence of 90 days in a calendar year for permanent residency purposes
Exceptions apply in case of illness or educational purposes
Residence or direct citizenship option

NO

Direct immigration with family members (YES/NO)

NO  

Family members allowed to join the program Subject to prior approval
Residence visa/citizenship processing time (approx.)   4 weeks
Additional financial requirements for family members (YES/NO)  Can apply on a case-to-case basis
Timeframe for obtaining citizenship/residency by investment  Lawful residence of at least 20 consecutive years for those applying for permanent residence
Qualifying foreign nationals can apply for registration as a British Overseas Territories Citizen, effectively becoming an UK citizen
Dual citizenship permitted (YES/NO) Yes, subject to British dual nationality laws
Reasons to choose BVI Good quality of life
Beautiful country
English is the official language
Opportunities for investment and offshore company creation
Personal income tax rate N/A
Visa free travel to other countries (approx. number of countries)  190 with a UK passport
 

What are the conditions to relocate to BVI for companies?

 
The British Virgin Islands are an attractive location to base an offshore business, given the fact that this business form is not subject to taxes on corporate profits (no corporate income tax, dividend tax, or capital gains tax for the International Business Company - IBC).
 
Investors who wish to open a company here and offer international services can opt for moving to British Virgin Islands with an existing company (relocate their company), as well as relocate here themselves for an extended period with the appropriate permit.
 
Reach out to our company formation agents in BVI for more information about redomiciliation or the general offshore company formation process.
 

What are the conditions to move to BVI for individuals?

 
A foreign national who wishes to enter the British Virgin Islands needs to obtain a visa to enter the Islands. Although this document is not required for all foreign nationals, nationals from the following countries need to apply: Afghanistan, Albania, Belarus, Cambodia, China (except Hong Kong), Columbia, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Jamaica, Korea (North), Libya, Pakistan, Philippines, Russian Republic, Senegal, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam.
 
Please keep in mind that the list above is not an exhaustive one. You should always check the conditions for your country of origin, and our team can help you during this pre-application process.
 
Foreign nationals from other countries not listed above, foe example the United States, can remain in the Virgin Islands for up to one month without a visa.
 
Obtaining a visa is also possible and this is granted for entry and/or work purposes. When a foreign national wishes to relocate to BVI using a visa, he will expect the following:
 
  • - pay the $150 visa fee;
  • - pay the $25 application fee;
  • - wait 3 to 5 business days for the visa.
 
The application is made in person and accompanied by supporting documents such as the filled in application form, a valid passport, and any other documents that may be requested by the Civil Registry and Passport Office, operating under the Government of the Virgin Islands. These steps are mandatory in order to immigrate to BVI, as formal registrations are required with the local authorities.
 
All documents issued in foreign languages are to be accompanied by a certified English translation that is also legalized and notarized.
 
Moving to the British Virgin Islands is subject to different conditions in case of British and British Overseas Territory Citizens. They do not require a visa to enter the BVI and they receive a one-month entry stamp. They can receive an extension of stay for up to 6 months, subject to approval from the Chief Immigration Officer.
 

Immigrate to BVI – acquiring permanent residence

 
Once an individual has lawfully resided in the Virgin Islands for a period of 20 consecutive years, he or she can apply for permanent residence. During this time, the individual cannot be absent from the country for more than 90 days in a calendar year (exceptions apply in cases of illness or for educational purposes).
 
Acquiring the permanent residence status is done by submitting an application to the Immigration Department, together with supporting documents.
 
Compared to other countries, the minimum period before applying for permanent residence is longer, however, for those who already have a business here, the choice to immigrate to BVI is a rather natural one, given the fact that they run their operations from the Islands.
 

Issues to keep in mind when starting the relocation process

 
Moving to a new country is an important business and professional decision that can be motivated by a number of factors. While the British Virgin Islands are a location suited for starting an international business, foreign nationals can also choose to relocate here if the company they work for opens a BVI office, for example.
 
Regardless of the motives behind the relocation, that can lead the foreign national to choose to immigrate to BVI, it is advisable to keep a few issues in mind:
 
  1. Health insurance: the national health insurance is available to those who become residents and a portion of the salary is deducted automatically for these contributions; however, certain treatments are subject to copayment;
  2. Taxes: foreign nationals who derive income from the British Virgin Islands will need to report it and make the needed payments; a special regime applies to International Business Companies, however, as individuals, foreign nationals will need to state their individual income from dividends or employment and make the needed arrangements with their country of origin to avoid the double taxation of their income (both in the BVI and in their country of origin);
  3. Driving: those who become permanent residents are required to obtain a BVI license; for those who have a driver’s license issued by another state, the driving test will not be needed, only the written one; in addition to this test, a medical report is also required;
  4. Banking: opening a bank account is one of the mandatory steps that take place soon after relocation; clients can choose between one of the available banks and open an account by presenting the required documents (identification documents, proof of address, references such as the employment contract, if needed, or a letter of good standing from their bank in their country of origin, etc.).
 
These are a few aspects to keep in mind. For entrepreneurs or employees relocating with their minor children, kindergartens and schools are another important topic. Parents will wish to explore their options in the public and private school system. For the child, the transition will be an important one, and, at the same time, it will be a unique opportunity to understand the culture of the Islands and get to know other children.
 
As a general rule, in the BVI children between 5 and 16 years of age need to be enrolled in an educational programme while they reside in the Islands with their parents or guardians.
 
Enrolling a child with a public school is performed with the Department and Education. The parent fills in a special form and provides additional information about the child, the immigration status, the parent’s work permit or other documents to provide proof of the lawful status. For children enrolled in a private school, an acceptance letter from the school is required.
 
For those who open a company in BVI, opening both a corporate bank account and a personal bank account is required. Our team can help you with the first type of account, as soon as your company is registered. You can reach out to our experts to find out more details about banking and financial services.
 
New residents will also wish to sign different types of services agreements, for example with internet providers and mobile services providers.
 
As far as accommodation is concerned, foreign nationals will need to make the needed arrangements for themselves and their family members, if applicable. Those who choose to rent a property will need to decide if temporary or long-term rent suits their needs. moreover, for the purpose of starting a business, a local registered address is mandatory. In most cases, it will not be the one where the individual resides as this address may be subject to a temporary lease. Instead, a virtual office for the IBC in BVI may be a suitable option.
 

Living in BVI

 
As seen in this article, moving to the BVI is a process that involves a number of steps and registrations. The data presented herein should be used for informational purposes only, and those interested in immigration for business purposes should reach out to our team, as indicated, for the purpose of receiving ongoing assistance when starting their business and making the first steps in the relocation process.
 
Many foreign nationals choose to immigrate to BVI for the splendid beaches. However, the BVI is a good place to live for a number of other reasons:
 
  1. Safety: the country is safe as crime levels are relatively low, making moving to the British Virgin Islands ideal if you have children;
  2. Business: with a low tax regime, the BVI is an ideal location to start a business, not only relocate for the purpose of enjoying the climate and the scenery;
  3. Quality of life: moving to the British Virgin Islands will mean becoming accustomed to a different way of life, including embracing the Caribbean climate, customs and island life;
  4. Activities: sailing and sea sports lovers rejoice in this beautiful paradise as there are plenty of opportunities for them in the Islands.
 
If you want to move to BVI our experts can help you handle the needed steps. We can also help you open a BVI offshore company and handle business-related matters.
 
Contact us if you want to know more about the requirements for acquiring the BVI residence status. We can help you throughout the process needed for moving to the British Virgin Islands.

 

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Call us now at +230 5252 6703 to set up an appointment with our business consultants in the British Virgin Islands. Alternatively you can incorporate your company without traveling to the British Virgin Islands.

As a BridgeWest client, you will beneficiate from the joint expertize of local lawyers and international consultants. Together we will be able to offer you the specialized help you require for your business start-up in the British Virgin Islands.

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