US Virgin Islands
In light of the recent announcement on the updates regarding US Virgin Islands B1 / B2 Visas for yacht crew, here’s all you need to know about the latest travel rules:
Temporary changes to the entry requirements are currently in place for the U.S. Virgin Islands directly related to professional vessel crew without B1/B2 or C-1/D visas. The parole program, was identified by the US Customs and Border Protection (USVI Customs Zone) as the Significant Public Benefit Parole or “SPBP”. This will allow vessels manned by professional crew without B1/B2 or C-1/D visas to cruise the US Virgin Islands for up to six months.
Temporary Pilot Program
For the next six months, yachts seeking to enter the US Virgin Islands can now apply for the parole program, which is purposed for a single entry. Meanwhile, multiple entry is possible, it is not the general intent of the program. Also, entry to the United States, Puerto Rico, or Puerto Rican waters is not permitted for paroled crew members visiting the US Virgin Islands.
The parole program is applied for at entry. Along with a $75.00USD fee per person payable to the USCBP officer, with each crew member required to show his or her seaman’s book. Each re-entry thereafter requires a fresh, new application with the same requirements.
The US Customs and Border Patrol released this information just a few short days after the US Virgin Islands Department of Health lifted its general mask mandate.
St. Thomas, USVI Specific
“This is distinctly welcome news for many professionally crewed vessels cruising throughout the IGY Marinas network. We cater to large yachts world-wide. The SPBP program allows vessels to visit the US Virgin Islands who may not have previously done so. This is likely due to the difficulty of obtaining B1/B2 or C-1/D visas.” -Phil Blake, CMM, Marina General Manager for Yacht Haven Grande Marina.
It’s important to note that yachts over 300 GRT remain subject to normal US Coast Guard requirements. As well as, APHIS requirements for all size vessels.
*The SPBP parole program is only available at three locations in St. Thomas. Edward Blyden Customs and Border Protection terminal, the St. John CBP office, and IGY Marina’s Yacht Haven Grande Marina’s CBP office.
For more information on the US Virgin Islands and B1 / B2 Visas, click here.