Travel.State.Gov > International Travel > Country Information > British Virgin Islands International Travel Information
See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on the United Kingdom for information on U.S.-UK relations.
Passports and Visa: U.S. citizens must have a valid U.S. passport at time of entry. For further information, travelers may contact the BVI Tourist Board at (800) 835-8530 or (212) 563-3117, Fax: (212) 563-2263 or visit the BVI Tourist Board online for current entry requirements.
Generally, all U.S. citizens are required to present a valid U.S. passport when traveling to the British Virgin Islands, as well as proof of anticipated departure from the British Virgin Islands. This includes travelers arriving by airplane and by private sea-going vessel. Those traveling to the British Virgin Islands on a cruise may use another Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) compliant document. However, we strongly recommend visitors obtain a passport before travel in case of an unforeseen emergency that requires a cruise passenger to disembark and return by air.
HIV/AIDS: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of the British Virgin Islands.
Crime: U.S. citizens are not specifically targeted for crime in the British Virgin Islands. However, crimes of opportunity such as petty larceny, burglary, automobile break-ins; as well as incidents of violent crime, such as murder, sexual assault, robbery, shootings, and drug related crimes do occasionally occur. As you would in any major metropolitan area of the United States, use the below personal security measures while traveling:
Victims of Crime: Report crimes to the local police at 999 and contact the U.S. Embassy at (246) 227-4000.
Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance at (246) 227-4000.
Watersports Advisory: Carefully assess the potential risks of recreational water activities and consider your physical capabilities and skills. Never venture out alone, particularly at isolated beaches or far out to sea. Avoid entering the water above your waist if you have been drinking and always be mindful of jet ski and boat traffic in the area.
Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, hospitals are able provide urgent medical treatment, though very serious injuries often require medical evacuation. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs or firearms are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Firearms: Firearms entry restrictions may exist for visitors to and foreign residents of the British Virgin Islands. Please contact the BVI Immigration Department before you travel.
Faith-Based Travelers: See the following webpages for details:
LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in the British Virgin Islands.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Access to buildings, pedestrian paths and transportation is extremely difficult for persons with mobility issues. Sidewalks (if they exist) are very uneven and will only occasionally have ramps at intersections. Pedestrian crossings are also very infrequent and can be poorly marked. Buses and taxis do not have special accommodations.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not apply overseas. Doctors and hospitals will expect immediate cash payment for health services.
Medical facilities in the British Virgin Islands do not meet U.S. standards. There is no hyperbaric chamber in the BVI.
A volunteer organization, Virgin Islands Search and Rescue (VISAR), responds 24-hours to medical emergencies at sea or on the outer islands. VISAR transports casualties to the nearest point for transfer to ambulance. Reach VISAR at SOS (767) or call on Marine Channel 16.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
If traveling with prescription medication, check with the government of the British Virgin Islands to ensure the medication is legal in the British Virgin Islands. Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.
The British Virgin Islands have reported past or current transmission of the following diseases:
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Road Conditions and Safety: Road signs are limited and drivers often fail to yield to pedestrians, even at painted crosswalks.
Speeding and reckless driving are fairly common. Drivers can encounter nighttime drag racing on main thoroughfares and livestock on roads both day and night. Roads in Tortola's interior can be steep and extremely slippery when wet. Travelers planning to drive across the island should consider requesting four-wheel drive vehicles and should ensure that tires and brakes are in good operating condition on any rental vehicle.
Traffic Laws: Driving is on the left-hand side of the road. Seatbelts are required by law and cell phone use while driving is prohibited.
Public Transportation: Public transportation consists of mini-buses and taxis.
Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) assesses whether local civil aviation authorities are in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to the British Virgin Islands should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. . Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings.