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Dockwalking in BVI
Posted: Tuesday, November 22, 2011 6:21 PM
Joined: 24/08/2010
Posts: 1

Is it legal for US citizens to look for work in BVI? Is is legal to work there? Any advice on crew services in BVI? I'll be terminating a trip there and want to make the most of my time in a new place, thanks!
Posted: Wednesday, November 23, 2011 6:45 AM
Joined: 15/11/2010
Posts: 37

The islanders don't take kindly to "outsiders" being there. Working or not. This coming from someone who has lived/worked there(not on yachts). If you are not a belonger"(i.e local who was born there), you will need a work visa. They are a pain in the butt to get, and they dont just hand them out. Mine took 6 months and about $2000. The police routinely will set up road blocks and check visas/passports, and question people. If they dont like your answers, be prepared to be detained. Not trying to over-exaggerate things, just telling you how it is. If you do decide to stay and look, be careful. most locals dont like tourists to begin with, let alone someone coming in and trying to find a job.
Posted: Saturday, November 26, 2011 1:53 AM
Have to agree wih the above comment, being based there the last two winters the immigration/work thing can be tricky. Do not overstay the date stamped on your entry card, you get blackllisted. The yacht I captain was given 6 weeks to be in the territory (even though the boat is BVI flagged and had a crusing permit for the BVI's) and I was only given 4 weeks, nothing about it made sense. (Quite often it doesn't make sense there or anywhere in the Caribbean for that matter, customs forms cost $3 in one office and the same form is $1 at another; one occasion I was asked to give a $20 'donation' to the local basketball team before the official would stamp the passports.) When I went back to the Road Town office to get an extension it was all too complicated (and it was easier to do a day trip over to the USVI). Like all customs officials it really depends on what type of day they are having and also what island you 'check in' at. In the past Jost Van Dyke has been the best - avoid the Road Town Customs office. The customs guys have also done random checks on the yacht when at anchor. Best bet is to head to St Thomas and try to find work on yachts that visit the BVI's. Daywork in BVI's is pretty much out of the question, the local dayworkers have it sewn up and rumour is they tip off the guys at customs. Tortola is a very small island, expensive for tourists and difficult for yachties who are there for transient periods trying to get work done. Until things are made easier for yachties and the officials realise the amount of $ that year round and seasonal yachts bring avoid trying any temp work there unless you apply for your visa now and can get sponsored by a local company. Work visas take at least 6wks and you need to be sponsored. Charter Yacht Managment in Road Town might be able help you with questions.
Tara Phelan
Posted: Saturday, November 26, 2011 9:53 PM
Joined: 20/11/2010
Posts: 10

I totally agree with the above 2 postings, I have been based in the BVI since March and they are very funny about people coming and going too often. Go the legal route even if you apply for a work permit as a free lance Chef or Captain or what ever position you are looking for but don,t try to just Dock Walk as there are way too many eyes and ears on this small Island. Also to work on any boat or yacht over here you must have you STCW before you even think about work permits.
Michelle Cowley
Posted: Monday, November 28, 2011 8:05 PM
Joined: 21/10/2011
Posts: 1

I'm curious about how this applies to Canadian citizens and if the rules are the same? I would also like any input reguarding St Maarten or Antigua and if the situation is the same on these Islands for dock walking and getting day work?
Posted: Tuesday, November 29, 2011 7:15 PM
Joined: 02/05/2008
Posts: 392

Check out Papers, Please – 2011-2012 Caribbean immigration regulations on for more information on dockwalking in the Caribbean.

Tara Phelan
Posted: Wednesday, November 30, 2011 3:33 PM
Joined: 20/11/2010
Posts: 10

Michelle the answer to your question is it applies to everyone unless you where born on the BVI a belonger or married to a local, even "Brits" have to bend over backwards to get a work permits.........
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