Shipping your Car, Registration, Auto Insurance & Driver's License Info.
A car is the best mode of transportation for a resident living in the US Virgin Islands. None of the islands are easily navigated on foot. Public transportation is available between the more populated residential and commercial areas. Taxis exists, they are pricey. See more on Transportation.
There are car dealerships in the Virgin Islands that sell new and used vehicles. Individuals also sell their personal cars in newspaper classifieds under 'used cars' or 'cars for sale'.
A1 Auto Transport
(Hurricane Status: Open for Business.) A1 Auto Transport is your top choice for moving to or from the Virgin Islands! With over 25 years of experience shipping both safely and on time, they ship everything from cars, trucks, SUV's, motorcycles, boats and more with real time satellite tracking. Get a free, no obligation to buy price quote from their website or by calling toll free today.
International Logistics Solutions
Welcome to the Virgin Islands! We're happy that you are thinking about joining us here and that you're doing some home work ahead of time. With over thirty years of experience in shipping to the Virgin Islands, International Logistics Solutions is well prepared to assist you in your move. Your relocation here can be stressful, we can take away some of that stress. If you are moving your car, your boat, your entire household or just a few boxes, we can make it less painful. Please drop us an email or give us a call and we will get right back to you!
Top of the Line Transport
(Hurricane Status: Open for Business.) When it comes to shipping your vehicle there are a few options. We can work with you to determine the best option for your situation. Once we take all the factors into account, and determine which are the most important to you, we can make a good decision on the right lane to relocate your vehicle. We are experts in vehicle transport. Whether you are moving your vehicle coast-to-coast or just a few hundred miles our certified vehicle moving consultants can help you every step of the way. If you have any question about shipping your vehicle please call us, we'd be happy to talk to you.
(Hurricane Status: Open for Business; Havensight Office for all services. And Lockhart Gardens for renewals and new policies only.) The largest automobile insurance carrier and among the largest providers of property and casualty insurance in the USVI. Committed to providing customers with the unmatched support that has been our hallmark since our inception in 1984. Our policies are parallel to the best coverage by other carriers found across the U.S offering bodily injury liability, property damage liability, property damage, medical payments liability, comprehensive physical damage insurance, collision insurance, and uninsured motorist protection. Our professional and friendly agents are ready to deliver the quality & service you expect. Automobile liability insurance is mandated by law in the USVI.
Blue Ocean Transport
Blue Ocean Transport is a licensed ocean shipping company specializing in shipping vehicles between the U.S. mainland & the Virgin Islands. Our company offers a wide range of reliable vehicle shipping services such as picking up your vehicle from anywhere in the 50 states or providing you the option of you delivering your vehicle to the port. We also advise you on all shipping documentation needed to ship your vehicle. In addition, we offer the shipping of other items such as pallets, crates, boats & containers. Join many of the happy customers that have used our services. Thank you!
Should you Ship your Car
Things to think about when deciding whether to bring your car to the Virgin Islands with you.
- Decide whether your car is worth enough to spend the money to transport it to the islands. If it's not worth it then sell it in the states and buy a car when you get here.
- You will be asked about your title on the car, if you do not have it you may be asked for a letter from your lender indicating you have permission to transport the vehicle off the mainland US. Ask the shipping company you are using for full details on required documents and/or letters.
- Main roads are paved. There are some residences with dirt driveways.
- Roads on St. Thomas & St. John are steep and curvy. (You'll need a sturdy engine. Good Brakes.) St. Croix has more flat areas but also has some steep roads.
- It is hot here. (You'll need a good cooling system and AC if you want comfort.)
- Can you get parts for your car here?
- Salt in the air is hard on cars.
- There are several taxes you will pay to bring a car into the territory.
Shipping your Car
Shipping barges for cargo will transport cars from ports generally on the east coast of the US mainland to St. Thomas and St. Croix. Contact some of the companies listed above for more information and quotes.
Registering your Car in the Virgin Islands
Your mainland license plates will not work here. Your car must be registered in the US Virgin Islands. Motorcycles go through the same registration and tax processes as cars.
Step 1. Customs
Clearing customs and paying duty is usually done at an office close to the shipping dock. The duty collected is based on country of origin on the car and is calculated using the book value or Bill of Sale, whichever is greater. The VIN number is used to determine origin: if the first digit is 1, 4 or 5 it is a U.S. car and there is a no duty owed. Vin's starting with 2 or 3, there is a 6% duty. Vin's starting with 6 or with a letter it is 3.5% duty. The U.S. Customs Office will accept personal checks, cash, certified checks and money order. You can call the Customs Office at (340) 714-1600 for more information.
Step 2. Road Tax
- You must get a Bill of Lading from the shipping agent when the car arrives in the USVI.
- Take the Bill of Lading to the Internal Revenue Office, and pay the 16 cents per pound road tax. This fee is accessed when you bring a car into the territory. Your title may have the weight on it; if it does that is what they will use. If it does not you can look up the weight on-line and print that page to show when paying the road tax. For more information call Internal Revenue office at (340) 714-9332. You can use cash, certified check or money order to pay this tax.
Step 3. Insurance
Insurance is required in the US Virgin Islands. You must get your vehicle insured before requesting a moving permit.
Compulsory Auto Liability Insurance is the law in the Virgin Islands; it requires that every registered vehicle have auto liability coverage. You must have auto insurance before you can request a moving permit and/or register your vehicle. When shopping around for auto insurance make sure the company is licensed to offer insurance in the U.S. Virgin Islands! The big name insurers common in the U.S. like Geico, All State and so on, do not exist in the U.S. Virgin Islands. If you are shipping your car you should check with your existing state-side insurance for information; and then contact local insurance companies in the U.S. Virgin Islands for quotes and coverage details. Once you have obtained a policy, get a certificate of insurance which provides details of your vehicle and coverage dates. A copy of your insurance card should be kept in your vehicle, a second copy is needed to register your vehicle. Failure to carry auto liability insurance may result in penalties such as fines for first offense; and fines and forfeiting right to operate a motor vehicle for not less than 30 days or more than 2 years from date of conviction.
Step 4. Moving Permit
Go to the Department of Motored Vehicles (DMV) to get a permit to move your vehicle from the dock. Moving permits are $5. The permit allows you to move a non-registered vehicle from one point to another and only between those two points. Usually the dock to the DMV. St. John residents would need to secure a moving permit to move their vehicle from the dock on St. Thomas to the car barge in Red Hook and then to the DMV on St. John to complete the inspection and registration process.
Step 5. Inspection
Take your vehicle to DMV to get your vehicle inspected. Bring with you, receipt that you paid the road tax, title or notarized letter indicating why you don't have the title, proof of insurance and driver's license. You do not need a Virgin Islands driver's license, you can use your stateside driver's license. A new resident has a 90 day grace period to get their Virgin Islands driver's license. You may be asked to show your moving permit. There is a $10 inspection fee.
Inspection Process: The driver stays seated in the drivers seat unless asked to get out to open the trunk and show the spare tire. They will check windshield wipers, horn, lights, spare tire, turn signals, brake lights, breaks, tires, exhaust and muffler, mirrors, general condition of the car... If you don't pass inspection, the inspector will tell you why and give you a form showing what part you failed. You have to fix the problem and come back for inspection with the paper they gave you. If you fail inspection on a car that just entered the territory you will have to get a moving permit to get it to a garage to repair it and then another to bring it back to the DMV to complete inspection and registration.
Step 6. Registration/New Plates
Necessary paperwork for first time registrants are inspection form, receipt that you paid the road tax, title or notarized letter indicating why you don't have the title, proof of insurance and driver's license. You may be asked to show your moving permit. The cost of registration is based on the weight of the car. It can vary from $34 to $91 approximately. At the end of registration you will be given VI plates, a registration sticker for your windshield and a registration form. Plates and windshield sticker must be visible at all times.
Note: Inspection and updating registration must be done annually. Annual inspection is required, you must present driver's license, proof of insurance and registration during annual inspection.
Note: Offices are in different areas; not all in the same building so allow several hours to a day and patience to get it all completed.
Getting a Drivers License
Valid driver's licenses from anywhere in the United States are good for 90 days after arrival in the US Virgin Islands. If your driver's license is from elsewhere you would need to get a temporary license.
I have a valid US license
If you have a valid US license you can turn in the US driver's license in exchange for a VI driver's license without taking either the road or written exams. On St. Thomas and St. John you must first go to the DMV office and pick up/pay for an application/medical form (see Application Form topic below) which you must get completed prior to trading in your driver's license. On St. Croix you complete a driver's license application form on the spot while trading your stateside license for a VI license; it cost $35. You may need to show your social security card and proof of nationality in the form of a birth certificate, a valid US passport, proof of naturalization or an alien resident card.
I do not have a license; My US license is expired or no longer valid
If you do not have a valid license you will have to complete necessary application/medical forms and take both the written and the road test.
The Application/Medical form can be purchased for a small fee at the Department of Motor Vehicle on St. Thomas and/or St. John. The form is a double sided sheet or two one sided sheets. The form is stamped when they give it to you.
The first page includes general information about you; your name, address, social security number, birth date, employer, prior driving violations or driver's license issues (having it revoked). Two passport size, color photos are requested to be attached to the form. The second page is a medical form that must be completed by a physician.
The medical form includes your blood type and questions in a yes/no form. Questions include; do you have hearing problems, have you any mental conditions or been confined to an institution, do you have diabetes, have you ever had a stroke, do you have high blood pressure among other questions of a similar nature.
The second half of the medical form is a visual exam. It requires a visual acuity test without glasses and then with glasses if you wear them and a simple peripheral vision test. If you do not wear glasses but can not pass the visual acuity exam the doctor will indicate that it is necessary for you to get glasses and then retake the visual exam.
The physician must sign and stamp the form. The medical form can be completed at a walk in clinic or at an optometrist's office. The fee is generally $25-$60 for the brief eye exam depending on where you go to have it completed.
The DMV will give/loan you a book to study the local laws for the written test. Questions include topics like speed limits in town and out of town, what to do if someone is trying to pass you, when to turn on/off your headlights, what various street signs mean or what they look like (shape, color) and where main roads and highways are located.
The road test begins with your ability to reverse into a parking spot without hitting or coming too close to cones. If you fail this part the road test is over. If you pass its on to the road where the tester observes your use of mirrors, hand signals, response to street lights and signs, speed limit, school zone rules etc. You will be asked to reverse in the road - this is to see if you know what side to reverse on. Tips: When starting out be sure to adjust your mirrors, seat, seatbelt etc. You are not the regular driver of the car you are in so these things are not adjusted for you and you will lose points for not adjusting them. A licensed driver must bring you to the road test in their car which you use to the take the test; they wait for you at the DMV while you take the road test.
For More Information and Questions contact the DMV. On St. Thomas the number is (340) 774-5765, on St. Croix (340) 713-4268 and on St. John (340) 776-6262.
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The Settlers Handbook for the U.S. Virgin Islands is your guide to moving to St. Croix, St. Thomas, St. John and Water Island.
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