Quick Guide >Laws to Know
Laws that British Virgin Islands Tourist need to know
THE TOBACCO PRODCUTS CONTROL ACT, 2006
One of the most talked about laws in the British Virgin Islands was passed on November 14, 2006. This law banned smoking in publicareas and 50 feet within reach of any public places.
The following sign (left) below can be seen all over the BVI in restaurants, bars, airports, ferry terminal, night clubs, sport facilities and many more venues.The law provides that any one convicted of smoking in a public place is liable of fines up to $1000 on the first offense and up to$2000 on following offenses. The BVI is following the UK and other countries who has passed laws to control the use, packaging, advertising and distrubtion of tobacco.
British Virgin Islands Marriage Licence
Marriage, is a beautiful thing !! It's even more beautiful when you have it in the British Virgin Islands. Application must be made to the Attorney General's Chambers for a marriage licence. Processing the application and granting the licence takes three working days, and the licence is valid for three months. Documents required include:
- if there has been a previous divorce, a certified copy of the divorce decree; and
- $110 in postage stamps, purchased at the Post Office, which is the licensing fee.
The Registrar General performs a civil marriage at the Registry office for a fee of $35, or at the locale of choice (within reason) for $100. For religious ceremonies contact the church of preference. There may well be additional requirements and fees in that case. A certified copy of the entry of marriage can be obtained from the Registry, on payment of a fee of $2.
|Attorney General's Chambers,
Second floor, East Wing, Central Administration Complex,
Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands
Tel: (284) 468-0242 or (284) 468-3701, ext. 2160
Fax: (284) 494-6760
|Registry of Births, Death, & Marriages
Top Floor, Burhym Electrical Building,
P.O. Box 418,
Road Town, Tortola,
British Virgin Islands
Tele: (284) 494-3492
Fax: (284) 494-6664
Temporary BVI Driver's Licence
Visitors who wish to drive in the B.V.I. must obtain a temporary driver's licence, either from the Vehicle Licensing Department or from a car hire firm, with production of a valid driver's licence from another country and payment of $10. This licence is valid for three months. If a person cannot produce a valid driver's licence he/she must apply to take the driving tests, practical and written, which may take some weeks to be scheduled. (Car hire firms will not rent out their vehicles to any one under the age of 23.)
BVI Fishing Licences
It is illegal to remove any marine organism from BVI waters without a recreational fishing permit. Under the 1997 British Virgin Islands Fisheries Act, all fishing activities occurring within the 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone have certain, specific restrictions. All fishing vessels must have valid Certificates of Registration and owners have valid fishing licences. Guests on charter must have valid Fishing Licences or Temporary Fishing Permits.
BVI Commercial Fishing Licenses (not for Tourist or visitors of the BVI)
This licence is issued only to B.V.Islanders and Belongers. Fish catch is intended for sale in the BVI. Licence is valid for one year, and costs $10.
BVI Pleasure and Recreational Fishing Licence
A Recreational Fishing License is defined as a license granted to a person who catches fish on a catch-and-release basis. Visiting tourists usually conduct this type of fishing activity.
Areas where this type of fishing may occur are called “FLATS”. Flats are situated behind reefs and near mangroves with large portion of seagrass beds.
The gear used to catch these fishes is called a “FLY ROD”.
Fish commonly caught may include:
It is ILLEGAL to have in one’s possession billfish such as Blue & White Marlin, Sailfish and Sword Fish. It is also ILLEGAL to have more than thirty pounds of fish by weight in one’s possession per boat.
If granted by the Minister of Natural Resources & Labour, a Pleasure/Recreational Fishing License is valid for one month.
This licence is suitable for day sailers and recreational charters, where guests wish to use hand lines. Licence is valid for one year, and costs $25.
British Virgin Islands Pleasure and Recreational Fishing License Application.
BIG GAME / BVI Sport Fishing Licence
A Sport Fishing License is a license granted to Fishermen who escort mostly tourists on a fishing expedition. This type of fishing is usually carried out by Foreign Sport Fishing Companies and local fisher-persons.
The majority of persons applying for this type of fishing license are foreigners. These foreigners mostly migrate from the surrounding islands e.g. U.S Virgin Islands.
The BVI is known for it’s wealthy fishing banks such as:
• The North Drop
• The Sea Mount
• The South Drop
The method used in Game or Sport Fishing is the use of a Fishing Rod/Reel, which can be termed as TROLLING.
This type of fishing yields a more prosperous catch. During the year 2000, the USVI economy generated over 80 million dollars from conducting fishing excursions in the BVI waters. However, when these fishes are caught during these excursions, the boats then return to St. Thomas where a market will be made available.
Licence is valid for one year and costs $200.
Species commonly caught includes: Wahoo, Kingfish, Tuna, Marlin, Sailfish, Dolphin, King Mackerel, Swordfish.
It is ILLEGAL to have more than thirty pounds of fish by weight in one’s possession per boat.
If granted by the Minister of Natural Resources & Labour, a Sport Fishing License is valid for one year.
Commercial, Pleasure and Sport Licences can be obtained from the Department of Natural Resources and Labour.
|The Department of Natural Resources and Labour,
First Floor, East Wing,
Central Administration Complex,
Road Town, Tortola,
British Virgin Islands.
Tele: (284) 468-3701, ext.2147
Fax: (284) 494-4283
|Department of Conservation and Fisheries,
The Quastisky Building,
P.O. Box 3323,
Road Town, Tortola. Tele: (284) 494-5681/3429 or (284) 468-3701, ext.5555/1
Fax: (284) 494-2670
- It is illegal to catch, kill, or harass turtles or turtle eggs when not in season (not in season April 1 to November 30). This relates to all species.
- It is illegal to use spears or fishing guns in the British Virgin Islands as the penaltycould bring a maximum fine of up to $15,000.
- It is illegal to remove any sea shells, sand and all other materials from beaches and shore lines.
- It is illegal to remove, injure, break or distroy any living coral or mangroves in the British Virgin Islands
BVI Cruising Permit
A cruising permit is required for all commercial boats cruising in B.V.I. waters.
Seasonal Rates: December 1 - April 30
Charter Boats licensed and operating in the B.V.I, $2.00 per person per day.
Foreign Charter Boats $4.00 per person per day.
Out of Season Rates: May 1 - November 30
Charter Boats licensed and operating in the B.V.I. $0.75 per person per day.
Foreign Charter Boats $4.00 per person per day.
(Family boats, with no paying passengers, are not required to obtain a cruising permit.)
Permits are issued by the B.V.I. Customs Department,
Ashley Ritter Building, Road Town, Tortola
Tele: (284) 494-3475 or (284) 494-3701, ext. 6800/6801
Private and Commercial
Licences are required for private wharfs and jetties, buoys and moorings, and other marine facilities such as slipways and haul-out facilities. Annual fees applicable to commercial and non-commercial facilities are detailed in the Port Authority's website, in the Second Schedule of Fees.
National Parks Trust Moorings
The Marine Parks & Protected Areas Regulations state that all vessels using National Parks Trust mooring buoys and dinghy docks must have a permit.
Current annual fees are:
B.V.I. based charter vessel, 5 guests or less, $150.00 (for 15 weeks);
B.V.I. based term charter vessel, 6 guests or more, $225.00 (for 15 weeks);
Foreign based term charter vessel, $375.00 (for 15 weeks).
Permit stickers are Red for Commercial, Blue for Private, and all moorings and docks are marked and colour coded, to distinguish them from other marine facilities.
Permits and further information can be obtained from any Customs office, or from the B.V.I. National Parks Trust.