Planning to move to the Virgin Islands can be a
challenging decision. You may have been offered a job, vacationed
islands and loved it or perhaps just decided you need a change of
scenery and the islands should be your
home for a few months or years. Whatever your case may be
certainly hundreds of questions are crossing your mind and this
web site is the place to find the answers. The most popular
questions asked are below.
Where can I talk with other people who
might be planning to move, moved already, U.S.V.I residents?
Ask questions, join discussions, meet other people that are
moving to the USVI or that have moved already and get help from
USVI residents on the Discussion Board.
What paperwork do I need to live and work in the
Americans: If you are an American citizen you do not need any new documents
in terms of work visas or papers. American citizens can freely
travel and work in the U.S.V.I. Social Security cards are needed,
passports are a good idea, other identification papers like
drivers license and a birth certificate should be carried.
Not American: If
you are not an American then you will be required to secure a
resident alien status, work visa, student visa and/or temporary
visa - as you would have to do in order to live and work in the
United States mainland. The same federal immigration regulations
that exist in the US mainland are in use in the Virgin Islands.
For more information visit:
Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services.
What are people from the Virgin Islands
or that live in the Virgin Islands called, like a person from New
York is called a New Yorker?
People from the Virgin Islands are called Virgin Islanders.
People from St. Thomas are called St. Thomians (pronounced
toe-me-ins). People from St. John are St. Johnians (pronounced
joe-ni-ins). People from St. Croix are called Crucians (pronounced
crew-jan). New residents from the US mainland are called
"continentals" but once they have been on island for a long time
they are considered local. People from other islands as a whole
are often referred to as "down-island people". When referencing a
"down island person" individually the term used is often related
to the island they are from i.e. Trini or Trinidadadians
from people from Trinidad.
Are there many families with kids
living there? What do children do?
Yes there are many families with children in the Virgin Islands.
There is a fair size group of young families with children from
the US mainland living in the islands. To view population statistics by age visit
Things to Do: Children love the beach and certainly you can find
many beaches to accommodate them. Get them beach toys like floats, beach balls and frisbees. There are baseball teams and
other sports teams, often organized by schools. Boy scouts and girl’s scouts
exist. School plays and other theatre camps are available. Summer
day camps exist. Church groups for children are common at most
religious congregations. Fishing tournaments, golf tournaments
and races for children exist. Often many of the children's
school related or teacher organized, however most local events
like Carnival, the Chili Cook Off and the Agriculture Fair
include children's activities.
Are there any books or reading material
that can help me learn about the islands?
Yes there are. Besides reading the newspapers and perhaps
listening to the radio stations that are broadcasted on-line books
like the Settlers Handbook and Virgin Islands guide books and
videos are very useful in helping you learn more and plan your
for books, newspapers and planning guides.
Is it suitable for retirement and/or seasonal living?
Retirement and seasonal living is a big option for many older and
retired couples. Even younger more financially stable couples use
the U.S.V.I as a seasonal home. Time-share and private homes lend
to this being a feasible opportunity for persons on the mainland
who seek retirement or seasonal living in the U.S.V.I. Permanent
retirement in the islands are also an option and this should be
What is the availability of bowling alleys, movies and shopping
St. Thomas and St. Croix have a bowling alley, there are a few shopping
malls/areas but not like the traditional US malls. Movie
theatres can be found with the current new releases playing. St. John and Water Island do not have these facilities.
St. John does have mini-golf.
Read more on Availability of Goods
Can I bring my pets? Is it a good place to bring my pets?
Yes you can bring pets with you to the islands. Read more on
Moving with Pets
Are there pharmacies to transfer prescriptions
to, doctors, eye
doctors for glasses and contacts?
Yes there are pharmacies on St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix.
Optometrist, Ophthalmologist and Opticians are available on St. Croix and St. Thomas. It is a
good idea to secure a copy of your medical records to bring with
you so that your new doctor on island has your history.
Are there high racial tensions on the islands?
No there is not a high level of racial tension. The Virgin Islands
have a wide variety of persons living here. People generally live
and work peacefully together. Inter-racial and inter-cultural
couples and families are somewhat common. Although racial issues
are not common, nationalistic issues are visible. Virgin Islanders
stick together. Caribbean people in general do the same. The
greater majority of the Virgin Islands population is made up of Virgin Islanders and people
from other Caribbean islands, consequently new residents might
feel like outsiders or like the locals are standoffish. Not all people relay feeling or witnessing this but
some do. Once a non-islander has lived on island for some time
their status changes from "new" to "they live here".
What is long distance tolls like between U.S.V.I and mainland?
Is there a long distance toll between the islands within the
Depending on long distance service provider it can average between
10 cents to 25 cents per minute. Some cellular phone plans include
free long distance to the mainland.
Calls between islands within the US Virgin Islands are toll
free, they are considered local calls.
Meeting someone to date?
The dating scene might be described as difficult by a new resident.
There are certainly many women and men living here, however
individual taste and requirements might make the options limited.
Often new residents seek other residents originally from the
mainland to date, because many younger "continentals" move as
seasonal workers they are only on island for 6 months to a year.
This does not leave a lot of room for a long term relationship.
Some new residents do meet and date people that are originally
from the islands. Many of the older "continentals" are married
with children, having moved with their spouses or having met their
spouse on the island and married.
What do people wear? Are there any
clothing stores? What type of clothing is sold?
Residents wear typical American clothing. There are clothing
stores on St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John. In Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas you can find name brand clothing like Tommy
Hilfiger and Polo. Stores like Gap, Express, Macys are not
available. There are no malls comparable to large US mainland
malls. In terms of what people wear – Virgin Islanders dress
casually but fairly conservatively. Younger people will don more
provocative outfits. The hot weather year round means no fall,
winter, spring cloths, the same cloths can be worn year round so
only one wardrobe is necessary. T-shirts, shorts, summer dresses are often the
norm. Virgin Islanders like to dress to a T when attending shows
at the local Center of Performing Arts, church or school shows.
This is true for St. Thomas and St. Croix. St. John’s residents
are fairly casual.
How much do ____ (nurses, doctors, electricians, sales people....
make, what are the salaries?
Please go to Occupation/Wage for more information
on this topic.
What are the pros and cons of life in the U.S.V.I?
Benefits of island living; we enjoy a fairly constant climate and
temperature in the high 70’s and mid 80 range. There are no severe
rainstorms and no snow. The landscape in the islands is beautiful
and can be enjoyed year round. Water activities are
world-renowned. There is no sales tax or state tax. It is the
Caribbean but when in the U.S.V.I you are in a United States
you enjoy all protective laws of the United States including the
legal system. The island lifestyle is laid back. Read
What to Expect; stories
written by people who moved to the islands and who share their personal
experiences and thoughts concerning island living.
Things just don’t happen as fast in the U.S.V.I as they do in the
mainland. And that pretty much goes for all things; from being
checked out at the grocery store, to post office lines, traffic
and registering your car. Traveling back home can be quite
expensive from the U.S.V.I. Many people start to feel “Rock Fever”
– an island term referring to feeling stuck on an island or a rock
surrounded by water! Hurricanes are a big concern. And finally some people
miss the options, choices and variety that life on the mainland
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