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Conditions for Buying Real Estate for Foreigners in BVI

Conditions for Buying Real Estate for Foreigners in BVI

The British Virgin Islands are a beautiful overseas UK territory in the Caribbean. They are both a picturesque tourist destination as well as a successful financial services center because of the favorable business policies. 

The conditions for buying real estate for foreigners in BVI are highlighted in this article by our team of British Virgin Islands company formation specialists.

Can foreigners purchase real estate in BVI?

Yes. They are considered non-belongers for the purpose of property purchase and they can own property, although in most cases only one at a time and conditioned by obtaining a license for this exact particular purpose. 

Investors are often interested in BVI company formation because of the favorable business conditions, and the company can purchase the property once it is incorporated. 

A company in BVI is considered a non-belonger when it is incorporated outside of BVI or when its director/s as well as any shareholders who own more than 33% of the controlling interest and non-belongers. 

For the purpose of buying property, a belonger is an individual who has one or both parents born in the BVI or naturalized. 

What is the special non-belonger license?

The Non-Belonger Land Holding License allows a foreign national to purchase a specific property and it can also be used to purchase a lot. When this happens, the buyer undertakes to build on that lot within two or three years and comply with the minimum expenditure. 

One of our BVI company incorporation agents can provide additional details about the conditions for property ownership by companies, whether offshore companies in BVI or overseas companies located in the United Kingdom or other jurisdictions. 

Can foreigners rent their property?

Yes. However, this is also to be requested when the License application is submitted. The right to rent the property owned in BVI is subject to approval. 

What are the documents required for the license?

When submitting a Non-Belonger Land Holding License, the following documents will be required:

  • – personal financial references;
  • – bank reference;
  • – police record;
  • – application fee and the issuance license fee (payable once the license is approved).

The individual who has obtained the License is required to register with the Land Registry Department and submit the necessary documentation as indicated. 

These requirements will be different when the buyer is a corporation, either registered as a BVI offshore company or as an overseas company, for example, one located in the United Kingdom.  We strongly recommend getting in touch with our agents for complete information about the documentation required for property and/or land purchase. 

What are the steps for property purchase in BVI?

Below our BVI company formation agents present the main steps for buying property:

  1. choose the property: this is an important step when buying property in any location, not only in BVI; important issues to consider are the available budget and the subsequent investment value. 
  2. the letter of intent: in most cases, the buyer will submit the letter of intent which will start the negotiation process.
  3. sign the agreement: the parties will need to agree upon the price and terms and make their agreement official by signing the Sale and Purchase agreement.
  4. prepare the license application: the buyer will need to prepare the application for the Non-Belonger License; it will include financial references as well as the appraisal of the property.
  5. make the payment: once he has his license, the buyer will be able to pay the remainder of the price amount, as in most cases a deposit is made.
  6. pay other taxes: the buyer will need to pay other taxes such as the stamp duty, calculated as per the value of the property. 

One of our BVI offshore company specialists can help investors with more information on the stamp duties and other fees or taxes that may apply when purchasing a property.

Because property ownership in BVI is also open to foreigners, although they need to obtain special licenses, the market is attractive for investors around the world. The following data regarding companies that own property was available for 2018:

  • – approximately 97,000 properties were owned by companies;
  • – out of this total, approximately 23,000 were owned by BVI registered companies;
  • – 44% of the properties owned by foreign companies belonged to UK-based companies (London or Wales, for example).

Buying property or land, as well as constructing or remodeling by foreigners is possible in BVI and many investors may find that this a suitable destination for real estate investments. 

Our lawyers in BVI assist foreign nationals who wish to purchase a property. We offer guidance and legal counsel throughout the process, can review the sale/purchase agreement, and provide clients with legal representation throughout the purchase process. For more information about our services, including those concerning business and commercial law, please do not hesitate to reach out to our attorneys.

Contact our BVI company formation agents for complete information on how to start a business and purchase a property.