Thursday, September 17, 2009
USVI & BVI Customs policies
Despite what the CDP.gov (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) tells you, for US citizens as of June 2009 a passport is required to go from the USVI (United State Virgin Islands) to the BVI (British Virgin Islands) and then return to the United States. After calling the CDP ahead to confirm it was ok, we planned our trip around using a certified birth certificate for exit and re-entry.
As of September 2009 there seems to be some games going on because the CDP offices in St Thomas will tell you it is fine to go to the BVI using a certified birth certificate and they even tell you to enjoy your trip. When you go to get on a ferry to the BVI, the operators won’t take you because the CDP fines ferry operators $3,000USD for taking non-passport carrying US citizens to the BVI even if they have a certified birth certificate.
Why does the CDP tell people to enjoy their trip yet fine the ferry operators? Are they afraid of retaliation or reciprocal policies from the British border patrol in the BVI?
The US CDP office in St. Thomas was very rude and even hung up on us when we asked why we were given mis information. This seems like poor policies left over from the Bush administration and 9/11 hysteria.