New Virgin Islanders
I notice people asking on Trip Advisor about moving to the VI. They are skillfully directed here by our old member, now "STT Resident" on TA. Many times they complain that the info is old, but I don't see them ask questions here.
Having lived there 25 years, I agree that advice has not changed much.
1. Make an extended visit (affectionately known as a PMV or pre-move visit) to check out for yourself things like housing, schools, banks, grocery stores, health care and other daily needs. It does seem like there are more families asking about moving; a long time ago it was mainly single, service folk.
2. If you decide to make the move, don't burn your bridges back home. Leave your stuff there, most places to rent are furnished. (And don't buy right away!) Many people leave in 6 months or a year. You don't know how you or your family will react to the reality of life in the VI.
3. Ask questions here! It's called the VI Moving Center for a reason. 😉
I hope some newer residents will add their wisdom...
My wife and I bought our home in early 2019 in anticipation of my retirement, which began this last March. I'll share my views as well as comment on the information being perceived as "old".
First, while I agree with the PMV comment, I think this is also dependent on each individuals experience. In our case we (my wife and I) had a lifetime of travel experience (40+ years) in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America. We knew what we wanted from retirement and ultimately that we wanted to be in the USA, so the choice was which of the islands in the USVI. While my wife and I feel that St. John is the most picturesque of the islands we also felt it was the most limited because of its small population and lack of infrastructure. Basically, if it's a vacation you want, St. John gets my vote, if it's something full time then St. Croix or St. Thomas are a better option IMHO.
Specifically in our case we had vacationed on St. John 3 or 4 times over the years and I had visited St. Croix as a child in 1968, but still had clear memories of that experience. So we jumped right in with both feet, understanding we could always sell if we changed our minds, but again, we knew what we wanted from retirement and that hasn't changed. While I'm sure my wife was more skeptical than I about St. Croix (where we landed) at first, she has come around and is genuinely enjoying the experience, it's the people that make the difference and I have only positive things to say about virtually everyone we've met.
All the concerns about crime, healthcare, school system, hurricanes as well as poor government are legitimate and should be carefully considered before making any decision. From my perspective it boils down to risk tolerance and your expectations going in. One thing is for sure, the USVI culture isn't about to change anytime soon, if you can't love it for what it is you're most likely going to be unhappy, so do your homework.
As for the materials being "old" on the site, yes, many of the stories are old but while the names may have changed the takeaways are still very valid. This site was my best source of information and there remains a core of high quality contributors that have a wealth of knowledge and a desire to help others. Personally, I prefer sites like this one as I don't enjoy the tone of discourse that all too frequently happens on Facebook and other social media platforms (maybe that's just me).
The amount of information resources for the VI are vast and most are a lot more interesting then this site. I still visit here every morning out of habit even though I'm bored (or fed up or both) with living here and looking forward to moving elsewhere. But, I'm most often disappointed by the lack of new posts or interesting content. I often recommend this site to inquiring folk on various Facebook pages but rarely see them post anything. To be honest, there isn't much excitement or compelling discourse happening here.
Okay. I give. These folks want immediate answers to their questions about moving and they don't feel like they can get it here.
I agree with the comments that this site has tilted toward people moving to St Croix, frequently for retirement. The young kids who want to work in a restaurant on St John want answers quickly. They don't want to have six months savings, nor do they want to ship containers, etc.
When I moved down, there was only the person to person networking system. I was lucky that I ate dinner at Cuzzin's when I arrived and had an internet full of of networking at one bar. That still is the best way, but in this world of rapid information, I guess it's not *the* way. I miss the old ways. I'm gone from the VI, but I was hoping some of my "old" wisdom would still be helpful, but, I give...
So, I am looking at moving to St. Croix most likely next May 2022. I am in my mid fifties so Im not a kid looking for a restaurant job nor am I ready to retire. Im looking to find a job that can support me, I'm single and plan to rent and do not live an extravagant lifestyle. I've owned businesses and have a great deal of experience in management, sales and automation engineering. I'm pretty quick to learn new processes and willing to figure it out. I realize the the tourist industry is the big player but what other options are there?
I've just moved to STT along with my husband. I'm having some issues with the vehicle situation. My car was shipped in from the mainland, and is currently being held at the port until I can get the excise tax & customs clearance. Once all of this is complete, will I need a "moving permit" in order to drive my vehicle to my house? Thanks!
Have you already started the process of customs and excise? I usually just hire Boynes Trucking to handle the clearing and road ready if my new to the territory vehicles. They charge about $150 for the service and it’s worth every penny. They will handle everything and your car will be ready to drive off with plates and registration sticker after everything is processed. Besides customs and excises you also need to deal with road tax and registration which can be time consuming and just a general pain in the butt.
Yes, its always easier to just hire someone to deal with the red tape.
I've lived here for 17 years and have only been to the DMV personally maybe 4 or 5 times in all those years and that's with the ownership of up to five vehicles at one point.
I can't even remember the last time I actually had a vehicle inspected.
BMV required my new vehicle to be inspected when it came in last June even though it's a 2020 and will not require re-inspection for another 5 or so years. A moving permit is required to take it to the inspection station from the port. I also paid a service on STX to take care of everything, tax, inspection, registration.
Newly registered vehicles have to be inspected. I recently shipped a new vehicle and also sold an old old one and both of them had to be physically inspected. Currently they have suspended renewal inspections until March 2022 because of covid. But any time they are issuing a title you still have to get inspected. This is something someone else can do for you. Which is so worth the money. The sale of the old car took three trips and 6 -8 hrs all in to accomplish. Major pain in the butt.
You do not always need to get it inspected or at least in my case they didn't require it (I brought it down LY in April, 2017 Jeep) dropped off the info in the drop box as they were basically closed due to covid. My older vehicle did need to be inspected (2006 Pathfinder).They weren't issuing moving permits then either, so I drove it without plates for almost 60 days until I got my registration. The only hiccup in the process was that they never contacted me about the registration being ready after I contacted them many times, so I actually stopped down there to find out it was ready. As for the excise tax, on St. Croix it was super easy, about an hour of my time, but like many said if you want to not have to wait in line or waste a few hours of your life, hire someone.
The newly registered cars having to be inspected is recent in the Covid changes/restrictions. We haven’t had to do that until recently. Between work and hone I have 20 vehicles to deal with so it seems like I’m always dealing with the BMV.
Highly recommend hiring someone knowledgeable (and patient) to handle this for you. It's cheap and money well spent.