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British Virgin Islands Residency

British Virgin Islands Residency

Foreign nationals who wish to apply for British Virgin Islands residency need to live in the country for a long period before they can submit their application. The initial entry, as well as the subsequent stay, is conditioned by having a proper, valid visa, according to one’s purpose of stay.

Common reasons for investors to remain in the country for long-term purposes are directly linked to BVI company formation in 2024 and management, however, foreign nationals can also choose to remain in the country for employment purposes.

Investors who are interested in British Virgin Islands company formation can read below to find out more about the conditions that apply if they also wish to obtain British Virgin Islands permanent residency.

 Quick Facts  
  Temporary residence permit types


Time needed to obtain the temporary British Virgin Islands residency permit (approx.)

30 working days for a new work permit application

Temporary residence permit validity

 12 months for the new work permit
Documents for obtaining temporary residence in BVI For the new work permit:
– cover letter;
– passport-size photographs;
– proof of relevant qualifications;
– signed copy of the employment agreement, if applicable;
– a description of the job position;
– application fee and other documents, as needed for the applicant’s particular situation/work industry.
Mandatory registrations with state authorities (i.e. with the population/municipality register) Yes
Dependents can join the temporary permit holder in BVI (Yes/No)


Temporary or permanent residency for investment purposes


Type of investments available for residency purposes Not applicable
Minimum investment amount  for British Virgin Islands residency Not applicable
Minimum temporary residence before applying for permanent residence 20 years of lawful British Virgin Islands residency
Residency for individuals married to a citizen of the country Not directly, although the application time is shorter for the spouse of a belonger (5 years)
Documents for obtaining permanent residence Valid identification document, bank statement, proof of social security benefits, proof of self-sufficiency, police record from the country of origin and the BVI, other documents as needed
Naturalization requirements Birth certificate, residence certificate, marriage certificate, employment letter, proof of financial support, certificate of good standing, photographs, other documents
Citizenship after permanent residence Belonger status can be obtained through a
special application
Dual citizenship permitted (Yes/No)  Yes 

What are the general entry requirements for BVI?

Although not for long-term purposes, tourist visas are required for certain foreign nationals who wish to enter the country in 2024, for example those of Egypt, Albania, Cambodia, Indonesia, Israel, Qatar, the Russian Republic, Syria, Thailand, Cyprus, Vietnam, and other countries. If you plan on entering the BVI for short-term purposes, for example, making inquiries into the BVI offshore company advantages, our team can assist you during this process and with company formation.

Special conditions apply to British Nationals, as well as foreign nationals of other countries who are under the BVI visa exemption programme. If you are a British citizen, we can give you detailed information about British Virgin Islands permanent residency.

We know that understanding the residency requirements is a key issue for foreign nationals who plan on relocating to the British Virgin Islands. This is why our BVI lawyers specializing in immigration matters offer valuable insight into the legal requirements, as well as personalized guidance, according to the applicant’s particular situation. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us for legal services.

What are the types of BVI visas that can be used for long-term stay and residency?

We list the four main types of visas one can apply for below:

  1. Student: for foreign nationals who wish to remain in the country for the duration of their studies with the University of the Virgin Islands, or another recognized educational institution;
  2. Employment: the visa for work purposes is applied for once the foreign national has secured an available job position; conditions apply and depend on the chosen industry;
  3. Business: foreign investors interested in BVI company incorporation can obtain a visa allowing them to remain in the country to pursue their business goals; our team can give you more details on this route for acquiring British Virgin Islands residency;
  4. Resident: the application for this visa is conditioned by the minimum period of residence, for a consecutive number of years, as described in more detail below.

A fee to keep in mind is the $175 non-refundable visa fee for work purposes. If you wish to know more about these visas as a first step towards obtaining British Virgin Islands residency, our team can answer your questions.

The visa application documentation depends on the particular purpose of stay. For example, employees will provide proof of employment that will reflect their position, salary, as well as the employment start date. Business owners will be asked to provide proof of their activities. The mandatory list of documents includes the filled in visa application form, the valid passport, as well as two recent photographs. Our team can give you the complete list.

When can one acquire British Virgin Islands residency?

Residency is only acquired after the foreign national has lawfully lived in the country for a number of years. Any application submitted before this period is not taken into consideration.

The application for British Virgin Islands permanent residency is submitted to the Immigration Department and it is checked for completeness and accuracy. The application needs to receive several approvals, including one from the Board of Immigration and Cabinet. If the residency status is approved, the applicant receives the Belonger Card.

The following rules for gaining British Virgin Islands residency apply in 2024:

  1. live in the country for at least 20 consecutive years;
  2. be absent from the country for no more than 90 days in a calendar year (except when pursuing education or in case of illness);
  3. any dependents of the residence permit holder need to apply for their own certificate 6 months before their eighteen birthday, should they wish to retain their residence status.

Some of the relevant supporting documents when applying for residency include valid bank statements, evidence of accommodation, proof of social security benefits or other means of showing financing self-sufficiency. Copies of police records, as well as medical certificates may be needed. All applications for residency are submitted in person and the usual turn-around time is 2 or 3 business days.

According to reports issued by the BVI Government, the most recent social statistical data concerns the year 2021. The numbers show that:

  • in 2021 there were 210 naturalizations; this number was lower in recent years, however, starting in 2020 it has been higher;
  • the number of employees in 2021 was 20,747; the same year, the country was home to people from 122 different nationalities (a number that remained steady for three years, from 2019 to 2021);
  • according to Government sources, in 2021, the country’s total population was 37,408 out of which 19,570 were men and 17,838 were women; according to data from the World Bank, a more recent value indicates that in 2022 the country’s population was 31,305.

If you would like to know more about the entry rules, as well as the process of acquiring British Virgin Islands residency in 2024, we invite you to contact our BVI experts. We can help answer your questions, as well as assist you throughout the process of opening an offshore company.