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Story #40: Moved to St. Thomas Story

(Submitted in 2005) Busy getting things settled here. We all made it here with no problems. The dogs ended up coming a few days earlier to avoid the hurricane on the east coast. Let me begin by telling a little about my move to help others out.

After months of research, this site providing many answers, we made the move. There are 2 of us and 2 dogs. I came early to find a place to live and to get most everything else done. For me the biggest shock which I never fully learned from doing my research was the fees for registering a foreign made car. WOW. They were high. I was expecting to pay, but no one seemed to touch the topic too much, or I missed it. You pay a road tax that was about $900 on my SUV, and then a fee of about $600 since it was not made in America. Oh well, we brought lots of cash for the incidentals, lol. It is a bit tedious to run all over the city to each department to register the car, but the ladies at Crowley shipping were wonderful and help me along, they gave me a list of places I need to go to and pay my fees before they can release my car. They told me to take a "gypsy" taxi, which is not a "real" or VI licensed taxi to take me to each place I needed to go. I found one and for $14 he drove me to the 4 places I need to go and it took about 2 hours. Now my other half would not have gone with this idea, so it may not be for everyone to go this route, you may want to rent a car the first day to run your errands and then come back for your car.

Other then that, everything has been as expected. I was here the first week of September, so apartment hunting was not too tough, even with the dogs. I was shown a place by a real estate agent, but it did not offer the things I wanted for the high price. My advice is to drive around and look for signs on the side of the road and call. Many said it would be tough with dogs, but to be honest, I did not find it all that hard. Perhaps I got lucky.

I had to go to WAPA and pay a deposit for electricity, not too bad, I got a Sprint cell phone, kind of a hassle setting up a business account with them, but the ladies that work there, are helpful and after 6 hours and a few problems, I was up and running.

We got a member ship at Pricesmart, much like Sam's Club or Costco, prices are fair for both food and house hold items. We also shop Cost U Less, compare prices I say. Pueblo is great for general grocery items. I have done about 50 % of my other house hold item purchasing at the local type stores, Mr. Dollar, Island department store and no name places, some good bargains and help support the local economy over just always going to K-Mart.

My advice, as I sit on my deck typing while looking at the sun rise and the ocean is to do as much as you can in person. Getting all of our licensing done with the Government is much easier in person then over the internet or phone, people are willing to help you much more in person. The "Good Morning" does go a long way.

General advice for those moving, patience works very well here, McDonalds lines may be short but it may take 30 min to get through it. Opening a bank account is probably the most outrageous thing here. Especially if it is a business account. Though personal accounts are tough too. My major advice is be prepared for lots of obstacles. If you think you are being smart by bringing cashiers checks, since in the main land you can cash them no problem, think again, almost all checks here require a 14 days wait period, that is just wrong. So plan to leave money on a debit card and with draw as us need it the first few weeks until all as cleared the banking system. As far as business accounts, make sure all originals are notarized, with a raised seal, all our documents were originals, certified true by the offices sending them to us, but the banking system here has a hard time with technology and that many main land states send original and certified legal documents via the net or fax.

I hope this has helped answer a few questions, thanks again to those who helped make our move to St. Thomas a success, I wish the best to all.

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