The British Virgin Islands (BVI) officially reopened its borders last week to international travelers, exclusive to arrivals at Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport on Beef Island, with specific COVID-19 safety protocols in place. Closed to visitors since March, the BVI Government has developed an extensive program to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the territory.
To ensure safety for all in the destination, the following outlines protocols visitors are expected to follow before arrival, upon arrival and while visiting the BVI. Protocols and procedures for visitors arriving by sea, including ferry service from St. Thomas, in addition to private boats and charter rentals, are expected to be finalized in the coming weeks.
Pre-Arrival: Before landing in the BVI, it is mandatory that all guests have a certified negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test result from within five days of arrival, as well as proof of travel insurance that includes comprehensive medical coverage. In addition, all travelers must apply for a “BVI Gateway Traveler Authorization Certificate” within five days of travel to the BVI and must complete the application at least 48 hours prior to arrival with the uploading of the PCR COVID-19 test result. (Application found at bvigateway.bviaa.com.)
Upon Arrival: Upon arriving Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport, travelers will be directed to the BVI’s new “Welcome Centre” for an additional RT-PCR test. All guests will also be required to activate a contact tracing system on their phones (which requires either data or Wi-Fi connectivity) and wear a government-issued wristband monitoring device, in addition to being given an appointment for their day four RT-PCR test.
During the Visit: All arriving visitors are required to quarantine for four days at their hotel, resort, villa or docked vessel (for charter guests), with another RT-PCR test administered on the fourth day. If negative, they will be allowed to move around the BVI freely while still following the government’s social distancing and safety measures. Anyone who tests positive upon arrival must continue to quarantine at their respective location for a minimum of 14 days.
Visitors must take approved transportation to and from their accommodations and testing sites, which are located throughout the BVI. These include but are not limited to Road Town and Cane Garden Bay in Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke and Anegada.
Departing the BVI: The government will not allow visitors to depart if they test positive and will require them to quarantine in an approved location for 14 days at their own expense.
Note that the two required RT-PCR tests, use of the mobile contact tracing app and monitoring bracelet will be at the visitor’s expense, costing approximately $175.