Virgin Islands (British)
- General Info
- Health Risks
- Security Concerns
- Weather Notes
- Electrical Standards
- Visa Info
- Time Zone
First settled by the Dutch in 1648, the islands were annexed in 1672 by the English. The economy is closely tied to the larger and more populous US Virgin Islands to the west; the US dollar is the legal currency.
Source: CIA World Factbook
The preventive measures you need to take while traveling in the Caribbean depend on the areas you visit and the length of time you stay. You should observe the precautions listed in this document in most areas of this region.
Food and Waterborne Diseases
Make sure your food and drinking water are safe. Food and waterborne diseases are the primary cause of illness in travelers. Travelers' diarrhea can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites, which are found throughout the Caribbean and can contaminate food or water. Infections may cause diarrhea and vomiting (E. coli, Salmonella, cholera, and parasites), fever (typhoid fever and toxoplasmosis), or liver damage ( hepatitis). Illness caused by a parasitic worm (Angiostrongylus cantonensis) can occur in this region. People can get infected by eating raw or undercooked snails or slugs that are infected with the parasite.
Diseases found in the Caribbean (risk can vary by country and region within a country; quality of in-country surveillance also varies)
There is no risk for malaria in: Anguilla (U.K.), Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda (U.K.), Cayman Islands (U.K.), Cuba, Dominica, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Martinique (France), Montserrat (U.K.), Netherlands Antilles, Puerto Rico (U.S.), St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos (U.K.), Virgin Islands (U.K., U.S.).
Yellow fever is present only in Trinidad & Tobago in this region. A certificate of yellow fever vaccination may be required for entry into certain countries in the region if you have visited Trinidad & Tobago or an endemic area in South America or sub-Saharan Africa. For detailed information, see Comprehensive Yellow Fever Vaccination Requirements. Also, find the nearest authorized U.S. yellow fever vaccine center.
Other Disease Risks
Dengue is transmitted by mosquitoes in this region. Protecting yourself against insect bites (see below) will help to prevent this disease.
Cutaneous larval migrans is a risk for travelers with exposures on beaches and leptospirosis is present. Eosinophilic meningitis caused by Angiostongylus cantonensis occurred in travelers to Jamaica. Anthrax occurs in Haiti. Other infections that tend to occur more often in longer-term travelers (or immigrants from this region) include lymphatic filariasis (Dominican Republic and Haiti), cutaneous leishmaniais (Dominican Republic), tuberculosis (Haiti), HIV (Haiti), and hepatitis B (Haiti and the Dominican Republic). There remains very limited risk of schistosomiasis in few areas. Other hazards for travelers include toxic fish poisoning.
Other Health Risks
Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury among travelers. Protect yourself from motor vehicle injuries: avoid drinking and driving; wear your safety belt and place children in age-appropriate restraints in the back seat; follow the local customs and laws regarding pedestrian safety and vehicle speed; obey the rules of the road; and use helmets on bikes, motorcycles, and motor bikes. Avoid boarding an overloaded bus or mini-bus. Where possible, hire a local driver.
Check with your healthcare provider: you and your family may need routine as well as recommended vaccinations.
Before travel, be sure you and your children are up to date on all routine immunizations according to schedules approved by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP). See the schedule for adults and the schedule for infants and children. Some schedules can be accelerated for travel.
See your doctor at least 4-6 weeks before your trip to allow time for shots to take effect. If it is less than 4 weeks before you leave, you should still see your doctor. It might not be too late to get your shots or medications as well as other information about how to protect yourself from illness and injury while traveling.
The following vaccines may be recommended for your travel to The Caribbean. Discuss your travel plans and personal health with a health-care provider to determine which vaccines you will need.
- hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG).Transmission of hepatitis A virus can occur through direct person-to-person contact; through exposure to contaminated water, ice, or shellfish harvested in contaminated water; or from fruits, vegetables, or other foods that are eaten uncooked and that were contaminated during harvesting or subsequent handling.
- hepatitis B, especially if you might be exposed to blood or body fluids (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population, or be exposed through medical treatment. hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants and for children ages 11-12 years who did not receive the series as infants.
- rabies, if you might have extensive unprotected outdoor exposure in rural areas, such as might occur during camping, hiking, or bicycling, or engaging in certain occupational activities.
- typhoid, particularly if you are visiting developing countries in this region. typhoid fever can be contracted through contaminated drinking water or food, or by eating food or drinking beverages that have been handled by a person who is infected. Large outbreaks are most often related to fecal contamination of water supplies or foods sold by street vendors
- Yellow Fever, for travelers to Trinidad and Tobago
- As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria and measles.
All travelers should take the following precautions, no matter the destination:
- When using repellent on a child, apply it to your own hands and then rub them on your child. Avoid children's eyes and mouth and use it sparingly around their ears.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or, if hands are not visibly soiled, use a waterless, alcohol-based hand rub to remove potentially infectious materials from your skin and help prevent disease transmission.
- In developing countries, drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes. If this is not possible, learn how to make water safer to drink.
- Take your malaria prevention medication before, during, and after travel, as directed. (See your health care provider for a prescription.)
- To prevent fungal and parasitic infections, keep feet clean and dry, and do not go barefoot, even on beaches.
- Always use latex condoms to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
- Protect yourself from mosquito and insect bites.
- Do not eat food purchased from street vendors or food that is not well cooked to reduce risk of infection (i.e., hepatitis A and typhoid fever).
- Do not drink beverages with ice.
- Avoid dairy products, unless you know they have been pasteurized.
- Do not swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to certain water-borne diseases such as schistosomiasis.
- Do not handle animals, especially monkeys, dogs, and cats, to avoid bites and serious diseases (including rabies and plague). Consider pre-exposure rabies vaccination if you might have extensive unprotected outdoor exposure in rural areas.
- Do not share needles for tattoos, body piercing or injections to prevent infections such as HIV and hepatitis B.
After You Return Home
If you have visited a malaria-risk area in Haiti or the Dominican Republic, continue taking your chloroquine for 4 weeks after leaving the risk area.
Malaria is always a serious disease and may be a deadly illness. If you become ill with a fever or flu-like illness either while traveling in a malaria-risk area or after you return home (for up to1 year), you should seek immediate medical attention and should tell the physician your travel history.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
SAFETY AND SECURITY: For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found.
The Overseas Citizens Services call center at 1-888-407-4747 can answer general inquiries on safety and security overseas. This number is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Callers who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, may obtain information and assistance during these hours by calling 1-317-472-2328.
CRIME: Although the crime rate is low in the BVI, thefts and robberies do occur, with a small increase in robberies against boats in the far flung islands. Visitors should take common-sense precautions against petty crime. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash and use hotel safety deposit facilities to safeguard valuables and travel documents. Do not leave valuables unattended on the beach or in cars.
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.
U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet, A Safe Trip Abroad, for ways to promote a trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/.
Source: U.S. Department of State
subtropical; humid; temperatures moderated by trade winds
Source: CIA World Factbook
The British Virgin Islands' electrical current is 110/60 (volts/hz) and uses the plug adaptors listed to the right under Related Items.
To determine which plug adaptors you'll need and if you'll require a transformer or converter, use our Electrical Connection Wizard.
For a detailed discussion of international electrical standards, see our related article on Electrical and Phone Adaptation.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: For tourist stays of up to six months, U.S. citizens need a valid or expired U.S. passport or other proof of U.S. citizenship (original or certified birth certificate, Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship as well as photo identification), onward or return tickets, and sufficient funds for their stay. Upon initial entry, no more than 30 days will be granted. At the end of 30 days, visitors must report to the Immigration Department's main office in Road Town for an extension. Extensions of up to 90 days are issued at the discretion of the Immigration Officer subsequent to an interview. For further information, travelers should contact the BVI Department of Immigration at (1)(284) 494-3471.
In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.
For further information, travelers may contact the British Embassy, 3100 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20008; telephone (202) 588-6500; or the nearest British consulate in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Orlando, or San Francisco. Internet: http://ukinusa.fco.gov.uk.
Source: U.S. Department of State
The time zone for Virgin Islands, British is -4 hours offset from GMT, which means that if it is 12:00 noon in New York, the time in Virgin Islands, British would be 1:00 pm
The unit of currency in Virgin Islands, British is the US dollar (USD).
Look up the current exchange rate using XE.com's Universal Currency Converter
Traveled to Virgin Islands (British)?
If you have visited this country recently and have ideas, thoughts, or suggestions to share with other travelers, we'd love to hear from you! Share your travel experiences and we'll post them on our website.
Other Travelers' Experiences in Virgin Islands (British)
"Your cell phone will work in the islands, but reception is a problem unless you're in sight of the USVI"
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"The electric supply is US standard 110 and 220V. You can use any US appliance without an adapter. English plugs will not work in the BVI"