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British Virgin Islands

british virgin islands,caribbean,resort real estate,vacation rentalsThe British Virgin Islands (BVI), also called the Virgin Islands is a British overseas territory, located in the Caribbean to the east of Puerto Rico. The islands make up part of the Virgin Islands archipelago, the remaining islands constituting the U.S. Virgin Islands. Technically the official name of the Territory is simply the "Virgin Islands", but in practice since 1917 they have been almost universally referred to as the "British Virgin Islands" to distinguish the islands from the American Territory. To add to the regional confusion, the Puerto Rican islands of Culebra, Vieques and surrounding islands began referring to themselves as the "Spanish Virgin Islands" as part of a tourism drive in the early 2000s.
The British Virgin Islands consist of the main islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Jost Van Dyke, along with over fifty other smaller islands and cays. Approximately fifteen of the islands are inhabited. The capital, Road Town, is situated on Tortola, the largest island which is approximately 20 km (12 mi) long and 5 km (3 mi) wide. The islands have a total population of about 22,000, of whom approximately 18,000 live on Tortola.

For everything from history to geography to religion, click on link to Wikipedia.org.  British Virgin Islands Cultural and Historical Information

Interested in facts and statistics across a myriad of topics, click on our link to the CIA World Fact Book.  British Virgin Islands Current Government, Economic and Investment Information 

For detail information on what to do, where to dine, and where to stay, click on  British Virgin Islands Travel and Tourism

Taking your own boat or planning on chartering, current marina information is invaluable, click on British Virgin Islands Marinas

The following articles contain important information on how to buy property in the British Virgin Islands,  as well as residency considerations, marina locations and local publications.

British Virgin Islands Residency Laws

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Purchase of a property in the BVI does not in itself establish resident status. However an identification card is available to a person who holds a Non-Belonger Land Holding License which will allow the holder to be granted leave to stay in the BVI for a period of up to six months.
A certificate of residence, entitling the holder to land or embark in the Territory for an indefinite period, may be granted to a person who intends to reside permanently in the BVI.


British Virgin Islands Purchase Process

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All overseas investors, including citizens of the United Kingdom, require a Non-Belonger Land Holding License to purchase property in the BVI. Agreements to purchase property are therefore made contingent upon such a license being obtained by the purchaser. A license gives an entitlement to own a specific property and is non-transferable. Application for a Non-Belonger Land Holding License is made to the Government of the BVI and must be supported by two character references, a financial reference, a police certificate of good standing plus other supporting documentation. The purchase of a property by a Non-Belonger is required to be advertised locally for four consecutive weeks in a local paper prior to submission of the Licence Application to Government.
If the application for a License relates to undeveloped or partly developed land, the applicant will be required to make a commitment to the BVI Government to expend a specific sum on development within a specified period which will normally be three years. The development commitment required will normally be not less than $250,000 and can be proportionately more according to acreage. Environment and other planning considerations will determine the appropriate level of development. Sub-division of land is not encouraged except as a part of a comprehensive development scheme.
Applications for all licenses are referred to the Executive Council for approval. There is a license filing fee of $200.00 for each person named in the application and $300.00 for companies. The fee for the grant of the License is $600.00 for each person or company named in the License as well as for each director or shareholder of a company. This $600.00 fee is also applicable to each director or shareholder of a company.
An overseas investor is free to let a property on a long term or short term (holiday let) basis subject to approval 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.

Planning and Building Control
Development in the BVI is governed by Planning Guidelines which determine general policy. Development work must be approved by the Land Development Control Authority who are concerned with planning matters and by the Building Authority who are responsible for ensuring that building conforms with the building code guidelines. It is preferred if working drawings submitted to these Authorities are prepared by architects based in the BVI.


British Virgin Islands Marinas

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British Virgin Islands : Profile


  • The Virgin Islands are an archipelago comprising hundreds of small islands and cays situated between Puerto Rico and the Leeward Islands. The eastern half is a British dependency, while the western part is US territory.

  • The largest British islands are Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost van Dyke and Anegada, the latter being slightly set apart, while the former are grouped together around the Sir Francis Drake channel.

  • The Virgins are perfect cruising ground - scenically beautiful, with countless bays, coves and anchorages, the waters sheltered from the strong trade winds and ocean swells.

  • The British Virgins are now the largest bareboat charter centre in the world. For this reason they are often less attractive to the long-distance cruising sailors, who prefer the less crowded islands of the Caribbean.

  • The BVI uses the American buoyage system, so red buoys mark the starboard side upon approach from the sea.


The Caribbean's first walk-in weather centre, CARIBWX, is based in Road Town. Customised weather forecasts, a daily Caribbean SSB weather net, and also daily email marine forecasts are among the many services they can offer. Tel. 494 7559, email: weather@caribwx.com, and website: www.caribwx.com

Click British Virgin Islands Main Ports to see:

There are two other entry points, Port Purcell and Beef Island Airport, but yachts are not supposed to enter or clear at these.

Jost van Dyke: Great Harbour *

Other Islands: Cooper Island , Norman Island , Peter Island

Tortola: Nanny Cay , Road Harbour * , Sopers Hole *

Virgin Gorda: Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour *

*Indicates a port of entry.




British Virgin Islands Duty and Taxes

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Real Estate Taxes
On the transfer of a property title, a Stamp Duty at the rate of 12% of the price or appraised value is payable by the transferee (purchaser). A Land Tax at the rate of $50.00 is due annually for any acreage under a half of an acre. $150.00 is charged for the first half an acre to one acre and $50.00 for any additional acreage thereafter. House Tax is also levied annually at the rate of 1% of the assessed annual rental value. In practice, annual taxes for an average two or three bedroom house will generally be less than $500.


Income Tax
For homeowners who are not ordinarily resident in the BVI, only income arising in the BVI (such as holiday rental income) will be taxable in the BVI. The tax is levied on a sliding scale of between 0% and 20%.


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