The Insider's Guide to Buying Property in the US Virgin Islands
A collection of breathtakingly beautiful islands just a hop, skip and a jump from the US mainland, the US Virgin Islands has long been considered America’s Caribbean and one of the easiest places in the region for American buyers to purchase a second home.
If you are currently considering investing in real estate in the US Virgin Islands but you are wondering “where are the best places to buy property in the US Virgin Islands?” or “how do I go about owning property in the US Virgin Islands” then this guide is for you.
Our guide takes you through the process of buying property in the US Virgin Islands from beginning to end, including an introduction to the real estate market, the buying process and the taxes you will need to be aware of.
Overview - The US Virgin Islands Real Estate Market
Comprising the main islands of St Thomas, St John, and St Croix, plus several smaller islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands is an American territory in the Caribbean. Each island has its own unique character and features.
St Thomas is famous for its beautiful capital Charlotte Amalie and harbor area offering fine dining, shopping, and nightlife.
St John is home to the 7,000 acre Virgin Islands National Park which covers two-thirds of the island, including some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, such as Trunk Bay and Cinnamon Bay.
The largest of the 3 main islands, historic St Croix, home to the historic capital of the former Danish West Indies, is renowned for its well preserved colonial architecture.
Historical buildings are not the only properties of interest in the US Virgin Islands. There are also some beautiful luxury homes for sale across the archipelago. The real estate market in the US Virgin Islands is largely driven by American buyers.
Property for sale includes waterfront homes on St Thomas and St John with spectacular sea views and condos within residential communities. Spectacular parcels of beachfront land are also available to purchase, offering the opportunity to own your own slice of a spectacular Caribbean destination with unique character and charm.
“A collection of breathtakingly beautiful islands just a hop, skip and a jump from the US mainland, the US Virgin Islands has long been considered America’s Caribbean and one of the easiest places in the region for American buyers to purchase a second home”
Strong tourism industry providing high rental income generating potential.
No passport required for US citizens.
Home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches.
One of the Caribbean’s top diving and sport fishing destinations.
World-class sailing destination.
Well-established luxury real estate market with opulent homes for sale.
Duty-free shopping on St Thomas.
Buying Process, Fees & Taxes
- Can foreigners buy property in the US Virgin Islands?
Yes, foreigners can buy property in the US Virgin Islands and the Government of the US Virgin Islands welcomes investment from overseas buyers. There are no restrictions on foreign buyers acquiring real estate in the US Virgin Islands.
- Buying process
Buying property in the US Virgin islands is a relatively simple process, which typically involves the following steps:
- Begin your property search.
- Find your perfect property and make an offer.
- Once accepted, you will need to engage an attorney to conduct thorough due diligence, review the purchase contract and advise on how best to hold title.
- Pay a deposit of 10%.
- Pay the balance on closing when the deed is transferred to your name.
- Pay all required taxes and fees.
- Fees & taxes
Stamp Tax / Transfer Tax
A stamp tax must be paid on all property purchases which is based on either the purchase price or the assessed value of the property – whichever is higher.
The tax is applied at the following rates:
- Property valued at up to $350,000: 2%
- Property valued at $350,000 to 1 million: 2.5%
- Property valued at $1 million to $5 million: 3%
- Property valued at over $5 million: 3.5%
The stamp tax is often split equally between the buyer and the seller.
There is also an annual property tax which is based on the assessed value of the property.
Latest Real Estate Listings in US Virgin Islands
Best Places to Buy
Residency & Citizenship
- How long can a foreign citizen stay in the US Virgin Islands?
As the US Virgin Islands is an unincorporated territory of the USA, US citizens do not require a passport or a visa to visit the USVI.
Citizens of Visa Waiver Program countries including the UK and member countries of the EU who wish to visit the USA (including the US Virgin Islands) for a vacation or on business must apply for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) prior to departure.
- How do you become a resident of the US Virgin Islands?
American citizens are free to move to the US Virgin Islands without the need to produce any new documents such as work visas. Citizens of other countries who would like to become a resident of the US Virgin Islands are required to secure a resident alien status, a work visa, a student visa and/or a temporary visa as is the case in the US mainland and US federal immigration regulations apply in the US Virgin Islands.
- How do you become a citizen of the US Virgin Islands?
As the US Virgin Islands is a territory of the USA, US Virgin Islanders are citizens of the USA.
A foreign national aged over 18 who has lawfully resided in the USA with a Permanent Resident (Green) Card for a minimum of 5 years (3 years in the case of a spouse of a US citizen), is able to understand English and has passed the Naturalization Test may be eligible to apply for citizenship by naturalization.
Mortgages in the US Virgin Islands
Looking for financing to fund the purchase of property in the US Virgin Islands?
Contrary to popular misconception, it is possible for foreign nationals looking to invest in the US Virgin Islands 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 US Virgin Islands.
For more information, see our page on: Caribbean mortgages.
How to Get There
There are direct flights to the US Virgin Islands from various US cities.
International flights to the US Virgin Islands arrive at Cyril E King Airport which is located just west of St Thomas’s capital Charlotte Amalie.
From the USA there are flights from many cities, including Atlanta (Delta), Charlotte and Philadelphia (US Airways), Chicago (United), Boston, Miami, New York and San Juan (American).
From Europe or Canada, fly to the USA and get a connecting flight.
- San Juan to St Thomas 35m
- Miami to St Thomas 2h 45m
- Atlanta to St Thomas 3h 50m
- Charlotte to St Thomas 3h 45m
- New York to St Thomas 4h 10m
- Chicago to St Thomas 6h 45m
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