Getting Through Customs in the USVI

Duty free ports in the U.S. Virgin Islands make it easy to get through Customs with your treasures

Photo credit: © Luv Letters

Virgin Islands Customs

The U.S. Virgin Islands are duty-free ports, and as a result, luxury goods are priced very well here. American residents must meet specific customs restrictions, and other visitors must follow the same customs regulations as if they were visiting the U.S. mainland. The British Virgin Islands, on the other hand, are not duty-free ports, so restrictions are a bit more stringent.

Entering the USVI and the BVI

Customs inspections for entry into both the USVI and the BVI are relatively lax. Most inspectors are reasonable and won't hassle tourists over seemingly trivial things. (But keep in mind that it is the inspector's decision whether or not something is reasonable.) You are allowed to bring with you two liters of alcohol and two cartons of cigarettes, but most people don't, as liquor is highly discounted in the USVI.

Exit Allowances: U.S. Residents

The U.S. allows its residents $1,600(USD) worth of duty-free imports from the USVI every thirty days. All purchases over this duty-free exemption are taxed at 5 percent. Family members traveling together can make joint declarations. For a husband, wife, and two children, the total exemption is $6,400(USD).

Unsolicited gifts of $200(USD) per day can be mailed from the USVI and are not considered part of your allowance. You can also bring home five liters of liquor plus an extra liter of rum, if one of the liters is produced in the Virgin Islands. All goods made on the island are duty free, but you must show certificate of origin if their value exceeds $25(USD). Keep all receipts and be cautious of people offering falsified receipts, as they may be working undercover for U.S. customs.

For U.S. citizens, the exemption for BVI is only $600(USD), and anything over the exemption is taxed at 10 percent. Mailed gifts cannot exceed $50(USD) a day, and must be unsolicited.

Exit Allowances: U.K. Residents

U.K. residents can bring home the following items without violating customs allowances:

  • 200 cigarettes

  • 50 cigars

  • Two liters of still table wine

  • One liter of spirits or liqueurs (over 22% volume)

  • Two liters of fortified wine

  • 60 ml perfume

  • 250 ml of eau de toilette

  • ?145 GBP maximum value on all other goods.

Exit Allowances: Canada

Canadian residents can mail up to C$60 of unsolicited gifts per day, as long as packages do not include alcohol or tobacco. The following maximum allowances must also be observed:

  • C$750 exemption on duty-free goods

  • One carton of cigarettes

  • One can of tobacco

  • 40 imperial ounces of liquor

  • 50 cigars

Allowances can change over time, however, so it is advisable for travelers to contact their local customs house to ensure that all information is current.

United States U.S. Customs Service
1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20229
United Kingdom HM Customs & Excise
Canada Canada Customs and Revenue Agency
Australia Australian Customs Service
New Zealand New Zealand Customs Service

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