US Virgin Islands Travel Guide
No passport required for US citizens! Helpful tips, essential tidbits, and fun facts are all rolled into one in our unique USVI travel guide.
About USVI: The United States Virgin Islands are an unincorporated territory of the United-States. The islands are St. Croix, St. Thomas, St. John, Water Island and some several dozen smaller islands.
The US Virgin Islands are mountainous and hilly except for St. Croix which was formed by coral reef and is flatter in comparison to the other islands. The climate is tropical with the average temperatures in the summer around 91F (33C) and 72F (22C) in the winter. The islands are prone to hurricanes and the season runs from June to November.
The US Virgin Islands economy is dependent on tourism with it accounting 80% of the nation's GDP.
Anthem: British: God Save The Queen, US: Virgin Islands
Capital: British: Road Town, US: Charlotte Amalie
Time Zone:UTC -4
Power Outlets:115V, 60 Hz
Currency:US Dollar (USD) (On both US and British Islands)
Credit Cards:All major credit cards accepted
Traveler Checks:Traveler checks accepted
Side of road to drive on:Left
: : ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS
No passport is required for U.S. citizens visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands only, but you are highly encouraged to carry one. For non-U.S. citizens, visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands is just like visiting the mainland United States: You need a passport and visa depending on your country of origin.
The U.S. State Department has a Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allowing citizens of the following countries to enter the United States without a visa for stays of up to 90 days: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Canadian citizens may enter the United States without visas; they will need to show passports and proof of residence.Citizens of all other countries must have (1) a valid passport that expires at least 6 months later than the scheduled end of their visit to the United States, and (2) a tourist visa, which may be obtained without charge from any U.S. consulate.
Note: You are required to declare to customs when entering and departing the United-States, please review below the list of restricted/ prohibited materials.
Automobile (for import)
Cultural Artifacts and Cultural Property
Defense Articles or Items with Military or Proliferation Applications
Fish and Wildlife
Animal Hide Drums
Dog and Cat Fur
Plants and Seeds
Meats, Livestock and Poultry
IMPORTANT: Narcotics and certain other drugs with a high potential for abuse - Rohypnol, GHB and Fen-Phen, to name a few - may not be brought into the United States, and there are severe penalties for trying to do so. If you need medicines that contain potentially addictive drugs or narcotics (e.g., some cough medicines, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, antidepressants or stimulants), do the following:
-Declare all drugs, medicines, and similar products to the appropriate CBP
-Carry such substances in their original containers;
-Carry only the quantity of such substances that a person with that condition (e.g., chronic pain) would normally carry for his/her personal use; and
-Carry a prescription or written statement from your physician that the substances are being used under a doctor's supervision and that they are necessary for your physical well being while traveling.
If you plan to take your pet abroad or import one on your return, please review a copy of the CBP brochure Pets and Wildlife. You should also check with state, county and local authorities to learn if their restrictions and prohibitions on pets are stricter than federal requirements.
Textiles and Clothing: In general, there is no limit to how much fabric and clothing you can bring back as long as it is for your personal use or as gifts. If you have exceeded your personal exemption, you may have to pay duty on the items. Unaccompanied personal shipments (packages that are mailed or shipped), however, may be subject to limitations on amount.
What You Can Bring into the U.S.V.I.
- Every visitor more than 21 years of age may bring in, free of duty, the
(1) 1 liter of wine or hard liquor;
(2) 200 cigarettes, 100 cigars (but not from Cuba), or 3 pounds of smoking tobacco; and
(3) $100 worth of gifts.
For more details regarding U.S. Customs and Border Protection, consult your nearest U.S. embassy or consulate, or U.S. Customs (tel. 202/927-1770; www.cbp.gov).
: : SALES TAX AND FEES
US Virgin Islands 4%
All vacationers leaving the U.S. Virgin Islands will pay a flat-rate departure tax of $10(USD).
: : MEDICAL INFORMATION
The emergency number in the US Virgin Islands is 911.
The US Virgin Islands has hospitals but the medical care offered is not as extensive as you would find in the continental United-States.
Travelers are urged to have proper medical coverage whether visiting the US or British Virgin Islands.
Bringing in prescriptions:
Declare all prescription drugs being brought in. Keep them in their labeled containers from the pharmacy with the physician clearly written on the label. Carry only the quantity needed for the duration of the trip with a few days extra in the case of emergency. Also carry your prescription or note from your physician that these substances are being used under a doctor’s supervision and are needed for your well being while you travel. Always carry prescription drugs in your carry-on luggage.
No vaccinations are required but travelers are still advised to have their routine vaccinations up to date.
: : Crime
Of the U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Thomas has the highest crime rate. Most problems occur in Charlotte Amalie, don't wander around at night. Compared to St. Thomas, both St. John and St. Croix are relatively safe. Nonetheless, there is some crime on St. John, although most of it is non-violent petty theft.
: : TRANSPORTATION
Rental agencies have different age minimums for foreign drivers, but 21 years old is common. Your foreign license will be fine, but check ahead to see if you'll need an International Driving Permit.
: : CULTURAL INFORMATION
"United in Pride and Hope"
In the Virgin Islands, the tipping standard is 15 to 20 percent of the bill. Bar service generally receives 10 to 15 percent. A 10% service fee is usually charged at hotels but check your bill to tip accordingly if this has not been charged.
: : TRAVEL AND SAFETY TIPS
- Always walk like you know where you are going, even if you don't. This
means keep your back upright and eyes straight ahead. When asking for
directions keep your voice low so others don't know you are lost.
-Take precautions. Do not wear a lot of jewelry or conspicuous clothing while traveling to avoid being a target of crime.
-Be cautious when taking a taxi and always look for the appropriate documentation which should be posted in eyes view. Never take a cab from the airport that is off by itself.
-If your hotel or resort recommends staying on their property you should follow these precautions.
-Never leave valuables in a soft material. The seam can easily be cut. Often the crime takes place long before it is noticed. This applies to purses, bags and luggage.
-Do not invite strangers to your hotel room.
-Do not agree to meet strangers by yourself. Even those you consider new friends and fellow tourist's.
-Plan for the unexpected, this includes extra money and medication that is required should your stay be extended.