The paradisal British Virgin Islands have re-opened their borders to international tourists for the first time since March. A popular yachting destination comprised of over 60 islands set in a volcanic archipelago, the news is sure to be welcomed by travelers and those who live on the islands alike as the country looks to restart its tourism sector following Hurricane Irma and the pandemic.
Where Do We Arrive?
Whilst the British Virgin Islands are known for their many unspoiled islands, entry into the territory is only permitted at one specific location. The Terrance B. Lettsome Airport, the country’s main airport on Beef Island, is exclusively the port of entry that prospective travelers must arrive at and has the necessary Covid-19 protocols in place to ensure a safe arrival.
Entering the islands isn’t as simple as just turning up, and proper preparation must be carried out beforehand in order to secure access to the country.
What’s The Process To Enter?
The government of the British Virgin Islands has published the protocols to gain entry online. These protocols are effective as of December 1st, 2020, and are as follows:
- Register to travel on the BVI Gateway App.
- Obtain a Certified RT-PCR SARS-CoV-2 negative test result 5 days before arrival and submit it on the App. Sampling must be nasopharyngeal and in the case of children 5 to 9 years old oropharyngeal. Children under age 5 will only be tested if medically indicated.
- Complete and submit the Public Health Declaration form 48 hours before arrival to the Territory.
- Each traveller including children must have completed an application to obtain a travel certificate for presentation to airline authorities.
- Receive a Travel Certificate which is valid for 5 days.
- Use your travel authorisation to make your travel arrangements and keep a printed or electronic copy of the authorisation AND your negative PCR results with you along with your ticket and passport to check-in and board your flight.
- Present the Travel Certificate and a copy of the negative RT-PCR test to airline/vessel agent during the check-in process. Please note that you will not be able to board without your travel authorisation and PCR test results.
- Be subject to the approved screening, Immigration and Customs procedures upon arrival in the Territory.
- Be tested on arrival for SARS-CoV-2.
- Install and/check the BVI Gateway App for health monitoring, medical health request, geo-fencing for quarantine support and contact tracing, on arrival.
- Be transported to the approved property after completion of the testing, Immigration and Customs clearance processes.
- Be quarantined at the approved location for 4 complete days.
- Travellers will test on Day 4 and await results before release;
a. If positive, the traveller will be isolated and care provided as needed for a minimum of 10 days.
b. If negative, the traveller will be allowed free movement within the Territory.
These protocols must be carried out by visitors from any nation, regardless of pre-existing visa agreements between the two states.
Cases Almost at Zero
The decision to open their borders comes following a prolonged period of little to no cases, with only one case recorded in the last 30 days. Whilst this may owe to the islands’ remote nature and closed borders, it also comes following a lot of hard work and preparation by those on the island.
According to the territory’s Premier, Andrew A. Fahie, the territory has revised its legislation, improved its medical facilities and made adjustments to daily life on the islands, such as mask wearing, social distancing and installing hand washing stations at various establishments. He also reassured travelers that most of the hospitality businesses are now Gold Seal Certified and ready for tourists to return.
What Does This Mean For Travelers?
Travelers are now free to enter the British Virgin Islands providing the carry out the steps noted in the protocols listed above. Various airline carriers are servicing the Terrance B. Lettsome Airport, and Covid-19 related safety features now will be far superior to what was available on the island when it first closed the borders in March.
Following their 4-day quarantine, travelers will be free to enjoy all that the islands have to offer.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories