How to Get British Virgin Islands Citizenship
Would you like to know how to get British Virgin Islands citizenship? We’ll answer all your questions about acquiring a second passport in this British Overseas Territory, as well as the benefits the passport will afford.
While many countries in the Caribbean and West Indies offer citizenship by investment programmes, the British Virgin Islands offers some advantages when it comes to securing citizenship. Why should you opt to acquire your second passport in the British Virgin Islands instead of anywhere else in the region to go along with your potential business registration in the archipelago? We’ll walk you through the perks here.
Is the British Virgin Islands offering citizenship by investment?
In June 2018, BVI Premier Dr. D Orlando Smith outlined his National Democratic Party (NDP)’s proposal to offer residency or even citizenship for those wealthy investors who bring money to the territory. He described the plan as a policy that would foster an attractive environment for both foreign direct investment and domestic investment and was a matter of national trade. While his opponents claimed this was a “buying citizenship” scheme, Smith argued that the plan “...is encouraging people to invest in the territory. And I would not like to believe that if someone invests $100 million in the territory, we would not want to allow them to come to the territory undisturbed, or give them some form of residency; whether it is for a certain number of years.” Smith claimed that the move served as a means of diversifying its financial services industry, which saw itself threatened by a public registers mandate that the UK government placed on the territory.
What makes British Virgin Islands citizenship attractive?
British Virgin Island Citizens are British overseas territories citizens
Who are British overseas territories citizens? The term refers to a type of British nationality class that was known as “British dependent territory citizenship” before reverting to the present nomenclature on 26 February 2002.
If you are a British overseas territory citizen or BOTC, there are some significant benefits entitled to you. First, you can hold a British passport, which allows you to enter 168 countries without a visa, allowing it to be tied with the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Lithuania, Slovakia, Canada and New Zealand at the Number 5 position in the 2019 Passport Power Index. The British passport will also grant you the right to consular representation and assistance from the Foreign Secretary’s (British Foreign Ministry) diplomatic posts around the world.
As of 2002, all British Virgin Island citizens are part of the list of BOTC territories that automatically became British citizens. Other territories that qualify include Turks & Caicos, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. While they initially did not have the “right to abode” in the United Kingdom and were once classified as third-party nationals by the European Union, they now have those rights.
British Virgin Island Visa Requirements
You may be wondering if British citizens may move to the British Virgin Islands. While they can move to the British Virgin Islands, they must request for long-term permission to stay just like any other foreigners, even if they have a UK passport. When travelling to the British Virgin Islands, you will be issued a one-month stamp on arrival, which you can extend for up to six months at the discretion of the Chief Immigration Officer as long as you can prove that you can support yourself financially.
Should you wish to apply for a work permit or a residence permit, there are other procedures to follow that are different than general tourism visa requirements. Those who would be eligible for immediate residency or even citizenship are those individuals with significant business ties in the British Virgin Islands or direct investors with a net worth of at least $100 million. Plus, individuals who “...are employed in a senior management position in a company with a substantial business presence in the BVI, or if they have ‘independent means/wealth’” would qualify for residency. The criteria that the BVI government established for independent means/wealth was $25 million or more.
How to become a citizen of the British Virgin Islands
How can you qualify to become a citizen of the British Virgin Islands? All citizens for naturalisation must fill out an application form, as well as submit a checklist and language requirement to the Immigration Office. Depending on the means of naturalisation, the required documentation will differ, but you will have to provide the following:
- Birth Certificate
- Letter of Financial Support
- Newspaper Clippings
- Employment Letter
- Current and Expired Passports
- Certificate of Good Standing – Inland Revenue
- Certificate of Good Standing – Social Security
- Three Photographs
The applicant will receive an interview date where an immigration officer will screen them; the officer will notify the applicant if they are missing any documentation. If the application is complete, the documents will be accepted for processing, and the application receives a guide for naturalisation and must pay an application fee.
Once the application is approved, the applicant will be notified of the decision and the date and time of the oath and swearing-in ceremony. After attending Naturalisation Ceremony and takes the Swearing of Oaths of Allegiance/ Pledge of Loyalty to Her Majesty the Queen, the applicant will receive a Naturalisation Certificate confirming their status as a British Overseas Citizen.
You must complete the entire naturalisation process in person and takes a total of six months.
Are you interested in pursuing citizenship in the BVI? We at Europe Emirates Group can guide you through the process of successfully obtaining the necessary documentation you need to meet the requirements.
Rowena M. Aggabao
Team Leader- International Corporate Services Division