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BVI Facts

 

BVI Facts

A few facts about the British Virgin Islands and information that you may find helpful when visiting the British Virgin Islands. If you have questions that you are unable to find an answer to, feel free to contact us.


 

Official portrait of The Queen taken in the Centre Room in Buckingham Palace in December 2011 © Royal Household/John Swannell Governor: His Excellency John S. Duncan Premier: Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith, OBE
Monarch
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Governor
His Excellency John S. Duncan
Premier
Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith, OBE

 

The Union Jack Flag British Virgin Islands' Territorial Flag
National Flag
Union Jack is the national flag of the United Kingdom.

It is so called because it combines the crosses of the three countries united under one Sovereign - the kingdoms of England and Wales, of Scotland and of Ireland

Territorial Flag
The Territorial Flag is a defaced blue ensign with the Union Jack in the upper hoist corner, which is centred at the fly end with the badge bearing the Virgin Islands Coat of Arms. It was official adopted on 15 November 1960.
   
National Anthem
God Save The Queen - The British National Anthem dates back to the eighteenth century.
'God Save The King' was a patriotic song first publicly performed in London in 1745, which came to be known as the National Anthem at the beginning of the nineteenth century.
Territorial Song
"Oh, Beautiful Virgin Islands" was officially adopted in the House of Assembly on the 24th July 2013.

Lyrics by: Ayana Hull.
Melody by: Ayana Hull & Kareem Hull.
Recorded by: Deanna Wattley.

Vigilate - Virgin Islands Coat of Arms
Photo Credit: Government of the Virgin Islands

BVI Territorial Dress - FemaleTerritorial Dress - Male
Photo Credit: Government of the Virgin Islands

Territorial Badge or Coat of Arms
This symbol consists of the coat of arms, the word "Vigilate" and the wreath. The coat of arms dipicts Saint Ursula framed by eleven oil lamps, which represent the eleven thousand virgins after whom the Virgin Islands were named. Beaneath St. Ursula is a scroll that reads, in Latin, "Vigilate" (Be Watchful). The wreath, an embellished garland of two green branches tied in the centre with a blue bow surrounds them both. The territorial Badge was officially adopted on 15th November 1960.
Territorial Dress
On 24th July 2012 the Territorial dress of the Virgin Islands was officially adopted by the House of Assembly. At the heart of the Territorial dress, is the Virgin Islands Print ot Territorial Print which depicts unique aspects of our culture: The turtle dove, oleander, hibiscus, soursop, sugar apple and the Virgin Islands sloop along with the islands of the Virgin Islands and our name represented in the cloth. The print has been created in white, blue and red fabric. Mrs. Florence Phillips and Miss Kirtin Frazer designed the Territorial Dress while Mr. Keiron Harry designed the Territorial Print. 
   

White Cedar - Territorial Flower of the Virgin Islands
Photo Credit: Robyn Gray

White Cedar - Territorial Tree of the Virgin Islands
Photo Credit: National Parks Trust

Territorial Flower
White Cedar (Tebebuia heterophylla) *as of 1st July 2013. The White Cedar Flower has been chosen as the Territorial Flower. It is the flower of the White Cedar Tree, the Territorial Tree which is indegenous to the Virgin Islands and was integral in the development of the Virgin Islands sloop and in turn, the economy.
Territorial Tree
White Cedar (Tebebuia Heterophylla) is the native cedar on our islands. This tree was important because its wood was used to make the stern, stern posts and frame of our famous Virgin islands sloops. 
   

Turtle Dove - Territorial Bird of the Virgin Islands
Photo Credit: A. McGowan

Fish n Fungi - Photo Credit: Melville Lettsome
Photo Credit: Melville Lettsome

Territorial Bird
Turtle Dove (Zenaida Aurta) was commonly found in the Territory. Tortola is named the land of the Turtle Dove.
Territorial Dish
Fish and Fungi has been chosen as the Territorial Dish. Our forefathers were fishermen and sailors and made their livelihood off the sea. Without question fish, whether fish and fungi with mayonnaise sauce, or fish and fungi with butter sauce, was a staple in every home. 
BVI Territorial Colours Fungi Mural and the Ridge Road Mural on Tortola
Territorial Colours
The following colours have been chosen to represent various aspects of the Virgin Islands and its people. The Territorial colours are:
  • Yellow – Representing the rising sun
  • Green – Representing our verdant hills
  • Blue – Reflecting our beautiful Caribbean Sea
  • White – Reflecting our beaches
  • Red – Representing the feisty nature of Virgin Islands
Territorial Music
The music which has travelled with us from Africa through slavery and emancipation and evolved through to today – Fungi Music, has been chosen as the official music of the Virgin Islands. “Fungi” is the local name of folk music. The word means a “cook up” of combination of. According to local history, fungi music has its roots in our African Heritage. When uprooted from their motherland, our African ancestors took with them as much of their culture as they could. They brought with them the “Bamboula drum” and their dances.

Fungi music evolved in the Virgin Islands during slavery, and was later passed on from generation to generation.
 

Territory Status
Non-Sovereign, overseas territory of the United Kigdom, internal self-govering.
Language
English (Official) , Spanish
   
Legal System
English Law
Judicial Branch
Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court
   
Capital
Road Town, Tortola
Largest Island
Tortola
   
Population
28,882 (2009 est. based on 2005 census)
Religions
Christianity (majority), Hinduism, Islamic Faith, Other
   
Airport & Codes
Terrence B. Lettsome International Airport (EIS)
Auguste  Airport (
 
Calling Code
From the U.S. dial 1 (284).
From the U.K. dial 001 (284)
   
Economy
One of the most prosperous in the Caribbean; highest income generators – tourism and financial services.
Monetary Unit
US Dollar. Major credit cards are accepted in many, but not all establishments.
   
Departure Tax
$20.00 per person leaving by air, $15.00 (visitors) leaving by sea.
Accommodation Tax
7% Hotel Accommodation Tax payable by guests who stay for six months or less in hotels, apartments, houses, cottages, villas and similar accommodations
   
Sales Tax
None
Bank
Bank of Nova Scotia, National Bank of the Virgin Islands, Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, VP Bank (BVI), First Caribbean International, First Bank Virgin Islands.
   
Driving
Persons staying in the territory under 30 days are not required to purchase a temporary driver’s license. However, if your stay is over 30 days a license is required
Customs Duties
All imports are subject to varying rates of duty. Imports entering The British Virgin Islands on a temporary basis will not be subject to duty. 
   
Cruising Permits
A cruising permit is required for all cruising in The British Virgin Islands SEASONAL RATES: (December 1- April 30). All recorded Charter Boats - $2.00 per person per day. All non-recorded Charter Boats - $4.00 per person per day. OUT OF SEASON RATES: (May 1 - November 30). All recorded Charter Boats - $0.75 per person per day. All non-recorded Charter Boats - $4.00 per person day. Dive, day charter and sport fishing boats should contact The British Virgin Islands Customs Department Tel: (284) 494-3475 or (284) 468-3701 ext. 2533 for current cruising permit requirements.
Medical Centres / Hospitals
1 Public Hospital - Peebles Hospital; various public and private health clinics and medical centres; Medivac (medical airlift) is readily available. An International Vaccination Certificate is not mandatory in The British Virgin Islands. Peebles Hospital has surgical, x-ray and laboratory facilities; there is a private plastic surgery clinic as well several private medical centres.
   
Smoking Policy
Smoking in public places has been banned in the BVI as a result of a law passed by the Legislative Council. The law bans smoking in public places including bars, restaurants, nightclubs, airports, offices, and sports facilities. It also bans smoking within 50 feet of any public space
Electricity
Voltage in the BVI is 110/220v. Visitors can use American appliances without an adaptor.
   
Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings
There are regularly scheduled meetings. For more information, please call:
Tortola: (284) 499-0574 and/or (284) 544-3950.
Virgin Gorda: (284) 540-3133.
Marine Conservation Permits
The use of National Parks Trust mooring without a permit is illegal. Call the National Parks Trust Office at (284) 494 3904 for information.

 

 
 
 
 

A few facts about the British Virgin Islands and information that you may find helpful when visiting the British Virgin Islands. If you have questions that you are unable to find an answer to, feel free to contact us.


 

Official portrait of The Queen taken in the Centre Room in Buckingham Palace in December 2011 © Royal Household/John Swannell Governor: His Excellency John S. Duncan Premier: Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith, OBE
Monarch
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Governor
His Excellency John S. Duncan
Premier
Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith, OBE

 

The Union Jack Flag British Virgin Islands' Territorial Flag
National Flag
Union Jack is the national flag of the United Kingdom.

It is so called because it combines the crosses of the three countries united under one Sovereign - the kingdoms of England and Wales, of Scotland and of Ireland

Territorial Flag
The Territorial Flag is a defaced blue ensign with the Union Jack in the upper hoist corner, which is centred at the fly end with the badge bearing the Virgin Islands Coat of Arms. It was official adopted on 15 November 1960.
   
National Anthem
God Save The Queen - The British National Anthem dates back to the eighteenth century.
'God Save The King' was a patriotic song first publicly performed in London in 1745, which came to be known as the National Anthem at the beginning of the nineteenth century.
Territorial Song
"Oh, Beautiful Virgin Islands" was officially adopted in the House of Assembly on the 24th July 2013.

Lyrics by: Ayana Hull.
Melody by: Ayana Hull & Kareem Hull.
Recorded by: Deanna Wattley.

Vigilate - Virgin Islands Coat of Arms
Photo Credit: Government of the Virgin Islands

BVI Territorial Dress - FemaleTerritorial Dress - Male
Photo Credit: Government of the Virgin Islands

Territorial Badge or Coat of Arms
This symbol consists of the coat of arms, the word "Vigilate" and the wreath. The coat of arms dipicts Saint Ursula framed by eleven oil lamps, which represent the eleven thousand virgins after whom the Virgin Islands were named. Beaneath St. Ursula is a scroll that reads, in Latin, "Vigilate" (Be Watchful). The wreath, an embellished garland of two green branches tied in the centre with a blue bow surrounds them both. The territorial Badge was officially adopted on 15th November 1960.
Territorial Dress
On 24th July 2012 the Territorial dress of the Virgin Islands was officially adopted by the House of Assembly. At the heart of the Territorial dress, is the Virgin Islands Print ot Territorial Print which depicts unique aspects of our culture: The turtle dove, oleander, hibiscus, soursop, sugar apple and the Virgin Islands sloop along with the islands of the Virgin Islands and our name represented in the cloth. The print has been created in white, blue and red fabric. Mrs. Florence Phillips and Miss Kirtin Frazer designed the Territorial Dress while Mr. Keiron Harry designed the Territorial Print. 
   

White Cedar - Territorial Flower of the Virgin Islands
Photo Credit: Robyn Gray

White Cedar - Territorial Tree of the Virgin Islands
Photo Credit: National Parks Trust

Territorial Flower
White Cedar (Tebebuia heterophylla) *as of 1st July 2013. The White Cedar Flower has been chosen as the Territorial Flower. It is the flower of the White Cedar Tree, the Territorial Tree which is indegenous to the Virgin Islands and was integral in the development of the Virgin Islands sloop and in turn, the economy.
Territorial Tree
White Cedar (Tebebuia Heterophylla) is the native cedar on our islands. This tree was important because its wood was used to make the stern, stern posts and frame of our famous Virgin islands sloops. 
   

Turtle Dove - Territorial Bird of the Virgin Islands
Photo Credit: A. McGowan

Fish n Fungi - Photo Credit: Melville Lettsome
Photo Credit: Melville Lettsome

Territorial Bird
Turtle Dove (Zenaida Aurta) was commonly found in the Territory. Tortola is named the land of the Turtle Dove.
Territorial Dish
Fish and Fungi has been chosen as the Territorial Dish. Our forefathers were fishermen and sailors and made their livelihood off the sea. Without question fish, whether fish and fungi with mayonnaise sauce, or fish and fungi with butter sauce, was a staple in every home. 
BVI Territorial Colours Fungi Mural and the Ridge Road Mural on Tortola
Territorial Colours
The following colours have been chosen to represent various aspects of the Virgin Islands and its people. The Territorial colours are:
  • Yellow – Representing the rising sun
  • Green – Representing our verdant hills
  • Blue – Reflecting our beautiful Caribbean Sea
  • White – Reflecting our beaches
  • Red – Representing the feisty nature of Virgin Islands
Territorial Music
The music which has travelled with us from Africa through slavery and emancipation and evolved through to today – Fungi Music, has been chosen as the official music of the Virgin Islands. “Fungi” is the local name of folk music. The word means a “cook up” of combination of. According to local history, fungi music has its roots in our African Heritage. When uprooted from their motherland, our African ancestors took with them as much of their culture as they could. They brought with them the “Bamboula drum” and their dances.

Fungi music evolved in the Virgin Islands during slavery, and was later passed on from generation to generation.
 

Territory Status
Non-Sovereign, overseas territory of the United Kigdom, internal self-govering.
Language
English (Official) , Spanish
   
Legal System
English Law
Judicial Branch
Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court
   
Capital
Road Town, Tortola
Largest Island
Tortola
   
Population
28,882 (2009 est. based on 2005 census)
Religions
Christianity (majority), Hinduism, Islamic Faith, Other
   
Airport & Codes
Terrence B. Lettsome International Airport (EIS)
Auguste  Airport (
 
Calling Code
From the U.S. dial 1 (284).
From the U.K. dial 001 (284)
   
Economy
One of the most prosperous in the Caribbean; highest income generators – tourism and financial services.
Monetary Unit
US Dollar. Major credit cards are accepted in many, but not all establishments.
   
Departure Tax
$20.00 per person leaving by air, $15.00 (visitors) leaving by sea.
Accommodation Tax
7% Hotel Accommodation Tax payable by guests who stay for six months or less in hotels, apartments, houses, cottages, villas and similar accommodations
   
Sales Tax
None
Bank
Bank of Nova Scotia, National Bank of the Virgin Islands, Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, VP Bank (BVI), First Caribbean International, First Bank Virgin Islands.
   
Driving
Persons staying in the territory under 30 days are not required to purchase a temporary driver’s license. However, if your stay is over 30 days a license is required
Customs Duties
All imports are subject to varying rates of duty. Imports entering The British Virgin Islands on a temporary basis will not be subject to duty. 
   
Cruising Permits
A cruising permit is required for all cruising in The British Virgin Islands SEASONAL RATES: (December 1- April 30). All recorded Charter Boats - $2.00 per person per day. All non-recorded Charter Boats - $4.00 per person per day. OUT OF SEASON RATES: (May 1 - November 30). All recorded Charter Boats - $0.75 per person per day. All non-recorded Charter Boats - $4.00 per person day. Dive, day charter and sport fishing boats should contact The British Virgin Islands Customs Department Tel: (284) 494-3475 or (284) 468-3701 ext. 2533 for current cruising permit requirements.
Medical Centres / Hospitals
1 Public Hospital - Peebles Hospital; various public and private health clinics and medical centres; Medivac (medical airlift) is readily available. An International Vaccination Certificate is not mandatory in The British Virgin Islands. Peebles Hospital has surgical, x-ray and laboratory facilities; there is a private plastic surgery clinic as well several private medical centres.
   
Smoking Policy
Smoking in public places has been banned in the BVI as a result of a law passed by the Legislative Council. The law bans smoking in public places including bars, restaurants, nightclubs, airports, offices, and sports facilities. It also bans smoking within 50 feet of any public space
Electricity
Voltage in the BVI is 110/220v. Visitors can use American appliances without an adaptor.
   
Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings
There are regularly scheduled meetings. For more information, please call:
Tortola: (284) 499-0574 and/or (284) 544-3950.
Virgin Gorda: (284) 540-3133.
Marine Conservation Permits
The use of National Parks Trust mooring without a permit is illegal. Call the National Parks Trust Office at (284) 494 3904 for information.