Expatify

Travel & Expat Lifestyle Magazine

Moving to US Virgin Islands

The United States Virgin Islands are a group of islands in the Caribbean, and they are located in the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles. The main islands include Saint Croix, Saint John and Saint Thomas, and there is also Water Island, as well as several tiny islands. About 74% of the population of the Virgin Islands is Afro-Carribean, and 13% is Caucasian. The islands are known for white sand beaches, and most are volcanically active. They have an arid climate, and it is hot year round with little variation in temperature. Though people on the Virgin Islands are US Citizens, they cannot vote in presidential elections, so this is something to consider if you want to move there.

Visas

If you are from the US, it is like crossing state borders, so you only need to provide an identity document. If you don’t have a passport, it is probably a good idea to have your birth certificate and a form of state ID.

Work Permit

Americans can come to the Virgin Islands and work, free of any permit. People from else where are required to apply for a US work permit. Work in the Virgin Islands is seasonal and usually based on tourism, so regard the “H2B Visa” for such possibilties.

Here is the process of applying for a US work permit:

H1B Visa

The H1B visa is the primary and most popular work visa in the US, and it is available for International Professionals to live and work in the country. It is considered a “dual intent” visa, meaning it allows you to apply for a Green Card. In order to get one of these permits, you must have an employer sponsor a job for you, and then starts filing your H1B application.

To qualify for an H1B, you must be able to fill a specialty occupation. These include jobs in IT, Business, Computing, Financing, Engineering, Teaching, Hospitality and many others. You generally have to have at least a Bachelors, 12 years work experience, or a mix of a degree and some work experience. This visa usually lasts for six years, and allows your spouse and children over 21 to join you in the US.

H2B Visa

The H2B visa is temporary and meant for seasonal workers or when there is a shortage of workers in a specific field. You can work as a camp counselor, sales representative, security guard or ticket salesperson under such a visa, among other jobs. You must first have a job offer to apply for this visa, and meet the minimum qualifications for that job. Your employer begins the application process, and you are expected to return home once your visa expires. The visa lasts for as long as your job contract lasts, which is typically not over one year.

If you are applying for a job from outside of the US, you must apply at your nearest consulate. You must submit the following:

  1. Evidence of job offer
  2. DS-156 nonimmigrant application form
  3. DS-157, if male, between 16-45
  4. Copy of notice of approval of H2B petition
  5. Passport
  6. Passport photo
  7. Evidence of ties to your country of origin
  8. Fees

Click here for information on jobs in the USVI.

Student Visa

To study in the USVI, you can apply for a student visa at your nearest US embassy or consulate.

You must submit the following:

  1. Application form DS 156, completed and signed
  2. Valid passport
  3. One photograph
  4. Evidence of funds
  5. Form I-20A-B (F-1), Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status and Language Students OR Form I-20M-N (M-1), Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status for Vocational Students (your school will send you this)
  6. Evidence of funds
  7. Fees

You must satisfy the officer that you have ties to your country of origin, and will return.

Click here for some study abroad options in the USVI.

Moving Pets

There is no quarantine period if you wish to move your pet to the USVI. At customs, you must present a health certificate from your veterinarian. It must state that your pet is free from any communicable diseases, is healthty and has up-to-date rabies shots. Some animals, like birds and sugar gliders, require import permits.

Other Information

Click here for information about how to get to the USVI.

Click here for information on the cost of living.

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