US Virgin Islands Waives Visas for Caribbean Nationals

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The US Virgin Islands will no longer require a visa for visitors from neighboring Caribbean islands.

The US Congress House Judiciary Committee approved The Virgin Islands Visa Waiver Act, making it possible for visitors from the Caribbean to receive a nonimmigrant visitor visa exemption to enter the US Virgin Islands, for up to 45 days.

The amendment to the Act applies only to the U.S. Virgin Islands and does not allow entry into other parts of the United States.

The Act was first presented to the Committee for amendment in September 2021 by Congresswoman Stacey E. Plaskett, a native of the US Virgin Islands. A press release from the Congresswoman’s office did not state specifically which countries will benefit from the amendment to the Act. The scope of the amendment will, however, be limited to the Caribbean community and other countries permitted by the Department of Homeland Security.

The amendment is similar to the limited visa waiver program which allows citizens of some countries to visit overseas US territories, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands by completing a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Form I-736 prior to arrival and presenting their country’s passport on arrival. The Visa Waiver Act is also expected to be an impetus for increased visitors and economic activity in the US island territory.

Congresswoman Plaskett, who serves on the US Congress Ways and Means Committee, stated in a news release, “This legislation would extend this same program to the U.S. Virgin Islands. This limited visa waiver program would better enable the Virgin Islands to compete economically with other islands and nations in the Caribbean community.”

The Ways and Means Committee gives recommendations to the House on all revenue-raising channels. The committee is the primary source of legislation on international trade agreements, customs, and taxation.

FULL STATEMENT BELOW:

Delegate to Congress Stacey E. Plaskett

Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett released the following statement after her Virgin Islands Visa Waiver Act (H.R. 5460) was approved by the House Judiciary Committee in a bipartisan vote of 24-14:

“I and my team have worked steadfastly with the House Judiciary Committee over several years on the Virgin Islands Visa Waiver Act. I would like to thank my Republican colleague, Representative Thomas Massie from Kentucky, for his vote in favor of this bill.

“The Virgin Islands Visa Waiver Act would allow the Department of Homeland Security to consider approving non-immigrant visitor visa waivers for entry into the U.S. Virgin Islands for up to 45 days (primarily for residents of neighboring Caribbean countries). Such a non-immigrant visitor visa waiver program is already being utilized successfully in both Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands for nationals of other countries.

“This legislation would extend this same program to the U.S. Virgin Islands.  This limited visa waiver program would better enable the Virgin Islands to compete economically with other islands and nations in the Caribbean community. A nationwide U.S. Visa Waiver Program already allows nationals of certain countries to travel to the United States for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa.  This bill would apply solely to the U.S. Virgin Islands, and because the Virgin Islands is outside the U.S. customs zone by law, it would not allow entry into any other part of the United States.

I thank my colleagues on the House Judiciary Committee for their hard work during the marathon markup session that took place over the past few days.”

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39 COMMENTS

  1. If it’s walk like a Duck is still a Duck. Non immigrant Visa is still a Visa. What is important one have to still apply? Be careful it’s might be only the BVI citizenry.

        • Colombo, Denley Prince is right. your comment does not make sense. 1. “The Virgin Islands Visa Waiver Act 2. The Visa Waiver Act is 3. a nonimmigrant visitor visa exemption 4. Such a non-immigrant visitor visa waiver program. READ: there is nowhere in this article that talks about a “NON IMMIGRANT VISA” but it does talk about a non immigrant “WAIVER PRPGRAM” WAIVER WAIVER WAIVER WAIVER. The word WAIVER changes the context! DAMMM!

      • @DP You are so correct. Interestingly the fools among us are not wiser and are quick to believe in the folly.

      • The lips of the wise spread knowledge. Hope you all aware that act must be passed by both houses of Congress and Home land security have to decide how it will be administered? Folks don’t be surprised that you don’t have to eat your words. No needs to fall over your heads by not comprehending sane comments. Let’s wait and see. No need for all this negativity and hysteria. Both BVI and USVI have always lobbied the US Congress to allow the BVI citizen access to the USVI territories but the US Authorities and Home land security have a major role to play in this arrangements.

    • Reading + Comprehension are two very important components of the English Language. The article stated, “The US Congress House Judiciary Committee approved The Virgin Islands Visa Waiver Act, making it possible for visitors from the Caribbean to receive a nonimmigrant visitor visa exemption to enter the US Virgin Islands, for up to 45 days.” The Word ‘exemption’ should have clarified the previous 14 words before it.

  2. Antiguans have suddenly become experts at analyzing and over-analyzing everything that emanates from any official source that, like the dunces that we have allowed ourselves to become, we cannot read and comprehend a simple announcement “US Virgin Islands Waives Visas for Caribbean Nationals.” Geez!

  3. Visa waiver means no visa needed as a visitor to the usvi up to 45days stay simple .mainly targeting Caribbean nationals to stimulate the economy of the usvi( St croix, St Thomas and St John).

    • I do! Not because you may not have any reason for going there, MANY Caribbean people have families there, like myself. And before you might go there…. I do have a US visa any which way. Smh

      • What about All the Antiguans who rushed to Canada why pick on the poor jamaican people see this is why none of you Caribbean would never become a first world country because you always back stabbing each other SMH

  4. This is great news for the Caribbean people and for LIAT. People will instead of travelling to Puerto Rico to shop, now just go to St. Croix or St. Thomas. as they do not need any visa. great news

    • Trust me, there is nothing to shop for in usvi. Visited relatives and couldn’t even find clothes to buy. I was told that they buy on line or go to Puerto Rico to shop.

        • Then why spend money go there to shop when you can go on line and shop from Antigua.
          Was replying to From The Sideline who said Antiguans can go to usvi to shop. Please don’t chat for chat sake.

  5. The US Virgin Islands did it to themselves. This US territory failed to embrace tourism, and failed to invest in real infrastructure, especially on the island of St Croix. In the past, they never really embraced their Caribbean neighbors, they brought them down with hate, with nativism. St Croix is a beautiful island, but the people on that Island refused to embrace the 21st century

    • Oh my gosh. You are so right. They treated us badly in the 60s 70s. Now they are coming on the radio talk show and talking about ‘we are one caribbean’. Now that they see that our islands are progressing and their st croix is sinking they are sucking up to us.

  6. Every one has their own input but this is a plus for the Caribbean island not having buy any ticket to travel to Barbados to obtain a non immigrant visa. Just buy your ticket and you are welcome to come to u.s Virgin Islands

  7. The US Virgin Islands did it to themselves. This US territory failed to embrace tourism, and failed to invest in real infrastructure, especially on the island of St Croix. In the past, they never really embraced their Caribbean neighbors, they brought them down with hate, with nativism. St Croix is a beautiful island, but the people on that Island refused to embrace the 21st century.

  8. Oh my gosh. You are so right. They treated us badly in the 60s 70s. Now they are coming on the radio talk show and talking about ‘we are one caribbean’. Now that they see that our islands are progressing and their st croix is sinking they are sucking up to us.

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