The Insider's Guide to Buying Property in the BVI
Overview - The BVI Real Estate Market
A British Overseas Territory offering the benefits of no income tax, VAT or capital gains tax, the British Virgin Islands has emerged as a highly successful offshore financial center. With 4 main islands, 11 smaller inhabited islands and approximately 35 other beach-fringed islets and cays scattered in turquoise waters that appear so close you feel you could almost reach out and touch them, the BVI is also renowned as one of the world’s best sailing and diving destinations.
Like nearby Anguilla and the Cayman Islands, the alluring combination of a barefoot chic lifestyle, first class yachting facilities and an attractive tax regime, has helped the BVI firmly establish itself as a real estate investment location of choice for high net worth property buyers.
Property for sale in the BVI includes magnificent beachfront and hill-side homes with spectacular views of the sea and neighboring islands. Many offer access to private marinas, as you would expect in this yachting paradise.
“The alluring combination of a barefoot chic lifestyle, first class yachting facilities and an attractive tax regime, has helped the BVI firmly establish itself as a real estate investment location of choice for high net worth property buyers”
Strong track record of attracting high net worth real estate investors.
Low tax jurisdiction offering attractive tax benefits, including freedom from income tax, capital gains tax, inheritance tax, sales tax and gift tax.
One of the world’s best yachting and sailing destinations for both first time and experienced sailors.
High quality real estate geared towards the top end of the market.
Thriving offshore financial centre with prosperous economy.
One of the highest standards of living in the Caribbean region.
Stability of being a British Overseas Territory with a US Dollar-based economy.
Buying Process, Fees & Taxes
- Can foreigners buy property in the BVI?
Yes, foreigners can buy property in the BVI and the Government of the BVI welcomes investment from overseas buyers. However, foreign nationals are required to apply for a Non-Belonger Land Holding Licence (NBLHL) for which there is a small fee. The NBLHL is property specific and non-transferable.
- Buying process
Buying property in the BVI involves several steps as outlined below:
- Begin your property search.
- Find your perfect property and make an offer.
- If you make an offer on a property that is accepted, you would submit a “Letter of Intent to purchase” with a 10% deposit that will be held in escrow. We would recommend you then review the “Purchase and Sale Agreement” with your attorney.
- Once signed by you and the seller, apply for the Non-Belonger Land Holding License.
- The property must be advertised for 4 weeks in the local press to offer any “Belonger” an opportunity to purchase the property at the same price.
- Once approved, register the License with the Land Registry Department and make the final payment.
- Pay all required taxes and fees.
- Fees & taxes
Stamp duty is based on the purchase price or appraisal price (whichever is higher) – 4% for Belongers and 12% for Non-Belongers.
House Tax / Land Tax
There is an annual House Tax of 1.5% of the assessed rental value and Land Tax of $50 for sites up to 0.5 acre, $150 for sites 0.5 to 1 acre and $50 for each additional acre.
Latest Real Estate Listings in BVI
Residency & Citizenship
- How long can a foreign citizen stay in the BVI?
Citizens of the USA, Canada, EU and the UK may generally stay in the BVI on holiday for up to 30 days without a visa. In some cases, it is possible for an additional month extension to be granted. Further extensions for up to 6 months are granted at the discretion of the Chief Immigration Officer provided that the individual can demonstrate proof of independent financial means.
- How do you become a resident of the BVI?
Non-Belonger Land Holding License
Non-Belonger Land Holding License holders can obtain an identification card which permits leave to remain in the BVI for up to 6 months.
Certificate of Residence
Individuals with a Non-Belonger Land Holding License who own property in the BVI can apply for a certificate of residence which allows the individual to remain in the BVI for an indefinite period.
Holders of a certificate of residency who have lived in the BVI for a period of 20 years (and only spent up to 90 days in each calendar year overseas) can apply for permanent residency.
Find out More
Find out more: BVI residency
- How do you become a citizen of the BVI?
If you have lived in the BVI with a certificate of residency you can apply for citizenship by naturalization to become a British Overseas Territory Citizen.
Mortgages in the BVI
Looking for financing to fund the purchase of property in the Caribbean?
Contrary to popular misconception, it is possible for foreign nationals looking to invest in BVI real estate to apply for a mortgage.
Our partner – a very well respected international financial organization – offers mortgages for qualifying non-residents buying, building or improving a second home in the BVI.
For more information, see our page on: Caribbean mortgages.
How to Get There
There are no direct flights from the USA, Canada or Europe to the BVI.
From North America fly to San Juan or St Thomas and from Europe, fly to St Maarten or San Juan.
Then take a connecting flight to Tortola’s Terrence B. Lettsome Airport.
Alternatively transfer by seaplane or fly to Virgin Gorda from St Thomas (Air Sunshine).
- Anguilla to Tortola 2h 25m
- San Juan, Puerto Rico to Tortola 49m
- St Maarten to Tortola 35m
- St Thomas to Tortola 22m
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