BVI Implementing Yet Another Customs Increase


Last Sunday we mentioned how the British Virgin Islands was increasing its cruising permit fee by $12 per person beginning August 1st. Well we just learned that there is going to be yet another increase effective September 1st.

We received a message from our friends over at Kekoa yesterday alerting us to a new “environmental levy”. Beginning on September 1st, visitors will have to pay an additional $10 in customs. It’s all part of the British Virgin Islands’ Environmental Protection and Tourism Improvement Fund Act 2017.

This means that within the next two months, people choosing to visit the BVI will now have to pay an additional $24 per person. So it’s pretty likely that a boat that currently charges $45 a person for customs – there are fees to enter the BVI and also to return to the USVI – will increase that cost to about $70.

There are a few exceptions, however, according to BVI News Online. They are:

1. Residents and belongers

2. Non-residents two years old or under

3. Officers of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court

4. Guests of the Government

5. Official representatives of the Government of any country/territory

6. Persons accorded diplomatic privileges in accordance with the Diplomatic Privileges Ordinance

7. And persons exempted by the Minister by Order published in the Gazette.

Other exemptions include visitors arriving in the [British] Virgin Islands on a second or subsequent occasion in the course of the same visit, persons in transit who on arrival do not leave the airport or dock, and crew of vessels.

Between the added fees and the time it takes to clear customs – we’ve heard of up to an hour waits lately – I’m think I’d rather stick to US waters.

We wrote about this Sunday and mentioned some options for USVI day trips. Click here to read all about it.

15 thoughts on “BVI Implementing Yet Another Customs Increase”

  1. Going to the Soggy Dollar for a day just got expensive. Looks like Painkillers exclusively at the Beach Bar or a extra trip to Skinny Legs!

  2. No reason to leave St. John and go there.
    St. John has plenty to offer and I’m the Chatter Biats will discover even more places to take us when we come this Winter.
    Will make them become even more creative then trey already are. Sure their are some hidden treasure yet to be discovered !! ❤️ Connie & Bill
    See you in January for extended stay . Paradise be there in 6 months

  3. No reason to leave St.John no where more peaceful and gorgeous beaches at every turn.
    I have confidence that our terrific Charter Boat Captains & Mates can come up with some hidden treasure to show us right on St. John.
    Many more Cay only accessible by water to explore .
    Hope to see some new excursion when we arrive in January for an extended visit.
    We ❤️ St. John and always eager to find new and beautiful places on the Island .
    See you in January ready to see what all the ChRters come up with .
    Connie & Bill Avalon, NJ

  4. All the more reason to book cruises that EXCLUDE St. Johns… Pretty place, but I guess they don’t want cruise ship visitors… Sorry St. Johns…

    • We’re actually St. John. St. John’s is in Antigua. And if you were taking a cruise here, these new increases wouldn’t affect you as they are British Virgin Island increases, not the United States Virgin Islands.

  5. Does anyone know if it would even make sense for a boat to offer day trips to Buck Island Reef National Monument off St Croix? It’s not that much further than The Baths but it’s all open water. Maybe a fast boat like Bad Kitty?

    • Hi Ron,

      Interesting idea but the boat trip between STJ/STT and STX is REALLY REALLY rough. The last time I went to STX by boat, I flew back. Never again for me and I have lived in the islands since 1959.

  6. Last year I took a Coral Bay boat to VG to haul and touch up. Two of us for almost 5 days and the Gov’t. BVI cost was about $7.00. NOW you would have to pay almost $1,000.00. “Import duty,” “work permits for 2.” Yeah, you have to get a work permit to do anything on your own boat. The BVI has been pulling stuff like this for years, arresting fishermen that they couldn’t prove were over the imaginary line, seizing boats, running over U.S. boat passengers. If it wasn’t such a beat back to STT, Culebra would be the place to go, and skip the greedy belongers. How about this? Tit for tat. Same exact clearance rules and fees on this side. THEN you would see some rollback amidst the squealing. Unfortunately, the U.S. Gov’t couldn’t care less.

  7. Good morning all,
    My fiancé and I own a charter business out of Coral Bay and have a vast amount of experience with all of this and here’s our take. First off, there will still be guests that will pay this if they want to go to the BVI. The BVI is not worried about losing our business, they don’t care – trust me, a customs officer told us that. Beyond that, there are a TON of sites to explore in the USVI. We have so many beautiful places to see whether it be snorkeling spots, beaches, cays, and places to eat and drink. There’s Abi’s Beach Bar, Pizza Pi, Hansen Bay and Water Island – these are all great spots – and that’s just to name a few! It’s also fun to show up to Cruz Bay by boat! All that being said, our rates for a USVI day is cheaper than a BVI day, so it makes even more sense to stay local. I just hope that the USVI gov’t makes it more attractive for businesses to start up in the beach bar & grill/floating bar & grill industry for destinations for boats in the charter industry. There is a huge opportunity here if the tourism industry thinks big picture here!!! We LOVE the USVI! Let’s keep our dollars here and support local businesses!!!

  8. I hope they have painkillers somewhere on St John this August. At $24 a person just to take the family over to soggy dollar like we’ve done for the last 15 years doesn’t seem feasible. And that’s before we order painkillers at the Soggy dollar. Maybe they should open a second location in the USVI.

  9. The Beach Bar And Joes Rum Hut make the best painkillers, no need to go anywhere else. Although I do like Hendos

  10. They should differentiate between people coming to stay in the BVI’s for a week or two and those that are coming over for a day visit to snorkel, bar hop or spend money in their islands. Most 7-14 day vacationers will not be swayed by the increase, but there will be a big reduction in the day boat visitors.
    They need to have a day pass with a lower entry fee or the money they think they are going to net on this increase is going to vanish not to mention the tourist dollars that keep many of the off islands in business is going to cause some closures.

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