Relocation Guide

By Megan McCann | Published July 30, 2023

RELOCATION GUIDE

Congratulations! You’ve received an offer to come and work in the BVI and now you need to think about the logistics of relocating.

We recommend that you do not book your flights or make any financial commitments until your work permit has been approved. As with most things in the BVI, there are broad parameters for how long it will take for your permit to be processed, you could be looking at anything from 4 weeks to 4 months or longer. So the best way to approach relocating is to get your ducks in row, so you can proceed swiftly once your permit is approved.

If you are acquiring a trade license to operate your own business in the BVI and require office space, you should start looking into this as soon as possible. Commercial leases are more complex and many office spaces will need to be fitted out with furniture as well as computer hardware before you move in.

Please reach out to Anthony Campbell who handles Smiths Gore’s commercial leasing portfolio. Anthony.campbell@smithsgore.com

+ (1 284) 544 2812.

FINDING A HOME

The long term rental market moves quite fast and generally speaking landlords will only hold a property on security deposit for up to 4 weeks. After that, they will expect rent to be paid monthly. This does mean that it can be quite tricky coordinating a rental with the issue of your work permit and arrival in the BVI. In most cases, the best approach is to rent accommodation on a short term basis for 2-4 weeks and during that time, you should be able to secure a property to move into long term, especially if we already have a short list to work from.

Affordable short term rentals can be found on Airbnb and we also have connections with local landlords who from time to time have monthly rentals available. Prior to your arrival dates being finalised, we can send you property details of upcoming rentals so that you can start to build a short list. We can also do virtual tours on whatsapp video call, which can give you a better idea of location and layout.

SEARCH CRITERIA

In order for us to help you find your home in paradise, we need you to provide us with some essential information.

  • How many bedrooms/bathrooms?
  • How many adults will be living in the property?
  • How many children will be living in the property?
  • Do you have or plan to get a cat or dog?
  • What is your monthly budget (US$) for rent?
  • Would you prefer an apartment or a villa?
  • Would you like a pool?
  • Is A/c essential?
  • Do you have a preferred location on the island?
  • Are you looking for fully furnished? Semi furnished

(appliances only)? Or Unfurnished (nothing included)?

RENTAL RATES

Rates vary considerably and generally speaking they do tend to be higher than people anticipate. An approximate guide to rental rates (excluding utilities/WiFi) is as follows:

Apartments:

1 Bedroom: $1200-1700

2 Bedroom / 1 Bathroom: $1800 – $2200

2 Bedroom /2 Bathroom: $2200 – $3000+

3 Bedroom / 2 or 3 Bathroom: $3000 – $3750

Villas/Standalone Houses:

Standalone House /2 bed: $3000+

Standalone House with Pool / 2 bed: $3500+

Standalone House/3+ Bed with Pool: $4000+

Houses are harder to find and houses with pools are in short supply on the long term rental market. The high end rental houses tend to be used for the vacation rental market. However, there are some nice properties that come up & we are usually the first in the know. Pet friendly properties are few and far between, so you will need to compromise on your wish list if you plan to bring a cat or dog with you. You may also find yourself paying a premium rent.

UTILITIES

WiFi

$100-200 per month – Fiber Optic Broadband is available in most areas, but not all.

Water

Many houses are on cistern water only (which means they rely on rain water for supply). During the summer your cisterns may run low and you may need to truck water in – 4000 gallons is $350. If you find a house with town water supply as well as cisterns, billing is erratic, but perhaps factor $30 – 50 per month

Electricity

Standard Voltage is 110v, using US Plugs (either 2 flat pins or 2 flat pins with a rounded ground) Cost of electricity varies according to use of a/c and pool pumps. A 2 bed, without ac would probably bill at less than $100 per month. With A/c probably $250. Likewise, if you have a pool, running the pool pumps usually adds about $100 per month to your bill. Larger houses with pools will have bills of $400 – 500 per month.

Gas

Propane for cooking is supplied in 100lb tanks which cost $80 to refill. A tank will last 6 -12 months.

Pool and Garden Maintenance

Landlords usually include these costs in the rent. If they are excluded, you should anticipate paying around $300 per month for each service.

Generator

The landlord will pay the maintenance and service costs, but tenants are required to pay for the fuel. Power supply is reasonably reliable these days, but if there is an extended outage after a storm, you will be grateful to have a generator. It is also a consideration if you will be working frequently from home.

OTHER INFORMATION

Transport

Public transport is extremely limited and taxis (while abundantly available) are expensive. On arrival you will need to rent a car ($65 per day) and ultimately you will need to purchase a car. Without a car, your housing (and social options) will be extremely limited – the hills are steep and the roads are treacherous for pedestrians. There are several car dealerships on island and plenty of 2nd hand vehicles available for sale on Facebook Marketplace (eg BVI Cars and Parts). It is also common to ship cars in from Japan using companies such as BeForward (www.beforward.jp). It is recommended to purchase a 4WD or AWD.

Banking

There are 4 main banks on island.Republic and FCIB are Caribbean registered banks, while First Bank and Banco Popular are registered in Puerto Rico.If you are transferring funds from the UK or US, you will find it easier to transfer to First Bank or Banco Popular. There are stringent anti money laundering regulations which can make simple banking tasks challenging. Online banking is improving, but by and large it is decades behind the services provided in North America and Europe.

Health Services

Health services here are very efficient. With the compulsory NHI (National Health Insurance) payments that will be deducted from your wages, the everyday services are very affordable. Your employer may offer private health insurance which will cover all medical costs or if you have a family, you may wish to look into private insurance to cover the percentage which is not covered by NHI.

Postal Service & Shipping

There is a postal service in the BVI, but it operates on island time. If you need to send or receive any important documents or anything that is time sensitive, we recommend that you use FEDEX or DHL. There are several Shipping companies and freight forwarding companies who can be used to import or export bulky goods to and from the BVI and North America/Europe (Tropical Shipping / Island Shipping /Crowley / Kestrel). There are also services such as Aeropost and E-Zone that can be used to import smaller online purchases (clothes, books, electronics etc).