Want to buy and shi...
 
Notifications
Clear all

Want to buy and ship a car to STX shortly before I arrive on island - is this possible?  

Page 1 / 2
 

jaldeborgh
(@jaldeborgh)
Advanced Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 210
April 22, 2019 2:28 am  

My wife and I have purchased a home on STX but will not move down until December.  We would like to buy a car for the island and ship it to STX shortly before we actually arrive ourselves.  That leads me to a few questions that hopefully someone can share their knowledge or experience.

1.  Can you register a car (small SUV), with a clear title, before it arrives on the island?

2.  If yes, above, are there service providers on island who can help get this done before we arrive?

3.  If no, does the actual owner (title holder name) need to do things in person or can we hire someone to handle the logistics?

In MA, where we currently live, we have generally been able to have 3rd parties, from my insurance company or dealership do everything.  Not sure if this is possible on STX.

I am thinking of purchasing a car in Florida from a dealership near a shipping point and then working with the dealer to deliver the car to the shipping company.  Is this a reasonable idea, also looking for suggestions if there is a better approach.

Any thoughts on Toyota RAV4 versus Honda CRV for the island?

The good news is we have time to think, plan and shop before December.

Thanks for any advice.


Quote
Afriend
(@afriend)
Advanced Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 497
April 22, 2019 7:42 am  

Yes, you can buy a car on the US mainland and have it shipped to STX (many people use Tropical Shipping) - you mentioned the car would have a clear title - that's good because many US mainland based car lenders will not allow you to ship a car out of the country.  FYI - if the car was not built in the US you'll have to pay a tax on the vehicle's value when it arrives on the island.

You have to register the car after it arrives on the island. 

Yes, there are people on the island you can hire to register the car for you.

Not much difference between a Toyota RAV 4 and a Honda CRV. 

This post was modified 1 year ago by Afriend

ReplyQuote
singlefin
(@singlefin)
Trusted Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 979
April 22, 2019 5:37 pm  

Ah yes... Timing things.

Your not in Kansas... Massachusetts anymore. It’s always a good idea to plan ahead, but have a very liberal timetable built into it. Rarely do things arrive on time here. Rarely do things associated with the arrival of those things get done on time. 

We ordered a new car from a local dealership. It arrived four weeks later than expected. It left the factory late, and then “missed the boat” out of Miami. The dealership did split our car rental fee with us. We were on island for three weeks before we could pick up our new vehicle.

Car arrived in great shape though, not a scratch. Just leave plenty of leeway on timing of anything happening  here.

Any SUV, with all-wheel drive is a good idea here. You’ll find you’ll be in the dirt more often than you expected.

I used Blue Ocean Transport to bring my pickup down from the port in Fort Lauderdale 1(888)428-2735 They’ll set up arrival and registration/inspection with Ferrol here on STX


ReplyQuote
jaldeborgh
(@jaldeborgh)
Advanced Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 210
April 22, 2019 6:15 pm  

Which local dealership, if you don't mind sharing.  Other than being a month late were you satisfied with the experience.  Do you feel there are meaningful benefits with buying on island versus in the states.  All the costs associated with bringing a car over may not justify the savings.  I'm interested in your perspective.  Thanks.


ReplyQuote
singlefin
(@singlefin)
Trusted Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 979
April 23, 2019 10:43 pm  

I purchased from Metro Motors. At the time they owned only the Ford dealership on STX and STT. I believe after Hess pulled out and the economy slipped here on STX, they bought out Island Toyota, Jeep, and the Chrysler dealerships. The sales team was fine, the service department was ok. To be honest, I never enjoyed dealing with any new car dealership, no matter where they were located. I chose to go new from a dealership here, so I would have a local place to go in case I ever had a warranty issue. I haven’t had any trouble with the EDGE though, I actually love the vehicle (except the ridiculous keyless entry) the ground clearance and AWD is great for driving anywhere on the island. There is no Subaru, GM, VW, or any other high-end German dealerships on island. If your bringing something in, I would advise bringing in a brand that has a dealership here. Odds are you won’t need them, but if something funky happens, at least you have a place that should be able to fix it here. I’ve heard of people flying mechanics in from Puerto Rico for some high-end brands. Crazy.

One thing that threw me, and I was advised by the salesman about it beforehand, was that the Ford I wanted (EDGE) was assembled in Canada and therefore I had to pay an added customs charge of around $2500. The Explorer and Escapes were built in the continental US, so no custom fee applied in those models. Before you buy, whether new or used, check it’s final assembly point. It’s kind of crazy. Some KIA, Toyota, BMW, etc are assembled in the US, and even though their foreign owned companies, are exempt of the added customs fee.

I think buying a new vehicle in the states and shipping it in will save you a few dollars, but purchasing from a dealership here is far less aggravating. The dealership dealt with the shipping company, the customs office, got the inspection and registration taken care of at BMV, and mounted the plates. 


ReplyQuote
jaldeborgh
(@jaldeborgh)
Advanced Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 210
April 24, 2019 3:52 am  

Thanks for your reply, it’s both informative and gives me food for thought.  I might reconsider and buy on island as this allows me more control of events.

I’m now adding the Jeep Compass to my list of possibilities.  I really like my 2018 Wrangler and recently bought my wife a Grand Cherokee as a 30th anniversary gift, so I’m going through a Jeep phase at the moment.  I think these are all made in the USA.  


ReplyQuote
jaldeborgh
(@jaldeborgh)
Advanced Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 210
April 24, 2019 3:57 am  

I checked and the Jeep Compass is made in Mexico, bummer. 


ReplyQuote
singlefin
(@singlefin)
Trusted Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 979
April 24, 2019 6:15 pm  

I believe the wranglers are all still built in Ohio. You’ll find a lot of wrangler and old CJ’s cruising around STX. Pickup trucks (various brands but I’d guess Fords & Toyota’s mostly) are probably #1 on island, but I would guess Jeep Wranglers are #2


ReplyQuote
jaldeborgh
(@jaldeborgh)
Advanced Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 210
April 24, 2019 8:49 pm  

Yes, the Wrangler is built in Ohio.  I’m impressed with the new JL as it much more refined are a vehicle but still very off-road capable.  The only issue is getting in and out for my wife who’s only 5’ tall. 


ReplyQuote
jaldeborgh
(@jaldeborgh)
Advanced Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 210
September 18, 2019 2:05 pm  

Update and looking for some advise.  I ended up buying a used 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk with 15K miles on it.  I've driven it for a few months at our home north of Boston but it's now on it's way to St. Croix.  I'm using Blue Ocean to transport and they arranged to pick-up the Jeep near our house and get it to St. Croix for roughly $2900., which I felt was reasonable.

I have one question about finding a service to help pick-up the vehicle and help to get it registered and inspected.  Is anyone aware of  someone who does this sort of thing?  Once it's registered and inspected I can arrange for someone to move the Jeep to our house.  I have the title (which is clean) and the insurance arrangements are almost complete.

Turns out that the Cherokee is considered the single most American made Vehicle in the US, so I'm not sure what fees will be required, beyond registration and inspection.

I just need help getting through the importation process.  Any thoughts or recomemdations are appreciated.


ReplyQuote
daveb722
(@daveb722)
Trusted Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 567
September 18, 2019 7:24 pm  

I would just call Blue Ocean, they most likely have someone.  


ReplyQuote
Scubadoo
(@Scubadoo)
Trusted Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 2310
September 18, 2019 9:15 pm  

Yes, Blue Ocean should be able to arrange for this.  I'm surprised they didn't already offer.  I believe they use FERROL TRUCKING SERVICES for this.


ReplyQuote
jaldeborgh
(@jaldeborgh)
Advanced Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 210
September 18, 2019 9:30 pm  

You are correct, they recommended Ferrol Trucking.  I reached out to them, they were very responsive and they can do what I need so I’m now planning to use them.  Their fee is $250, which seems reasonable.  The Blue Ocean Transport people have all been professional and very easy to with, so I very satisfied at the moment.   As long as my Jeep arrives in good condition I’ll be happy to recommend them.  I will be bringing our 2018 Wrangler (JLUR for you Jeep fans) down in early 2021, after I retire.

This post was modified 8 months ago by jaldeborgh

ReplyQuote
jaldeborgh
(@jaldeborgh)
Advanced Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 210
October 8, 2019 3:29 pm  

Quick update on my 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk.  Everything worked out as expected.  The total charge to register and inspect the vehicle was roughly $1050.00 this was including the fee to Ferrol Trucking.  Everyone was very professional from beginning to end.  Other than having to pick-up the Jeep after the process was complete I didn't need to do anything other than supply some paperwork.

All in, not including insurance, which was about 25% higher than my MA insurance, my total cost for moving the Jeep from Boston the St. Croix was $4,000.00 which is doesn't seem unreasonable given the distance and the fact that it shipped to an island.  Shipping from Boston to LA would have cost close to $3K.

We're currently working with Blue Ocean to move some household goods to be there in early December when my wife and I will be in the island.

This post was modified 8 months ago by jaldeborgh

ReplyQuote
VIpirate
(@VIpirate)
Advanced Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 23
October 27, 2019 12:49 am  

Thanks for posting the detailed information and the follow up on your experience.  

I have a question regarding registration of an imported vehicle.  Is it required to have a VI driving license to register a car?

 

I don’t want to give up my GA license as we are only on island 3 months a year. 

Regarding Blue Ocean Shipping, I have used them twice to ship 40 foot containers to STT and they were great. We bought an unfurnished villa a year ago and purchased most items off island due to lack of selection. 

I hired a small local mover to load the container that Blue Ocean arranges to be brought to our home in Atlanta and then they handled it all door to door in STT.  

I used Daniel at Beep to clear customs and he arranged delivery to our villa on the northside.  

All in all a pretty seamless process.  Probably $10k door to door for a 40 foot container. A 20 footer only saves about $1K so pointless to use smaller size. 


ReplyQuote
stjohnjulie
(@stjohnjulie)
Trusted Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 869
October 27, 2019 5:26 am  

They do not require a VI license to register a car.  But the law says you must get one if you are here for 90 days.  So if they ask, just tell them you are here less than three months of the year.  


ReplyQuote
VIpirate
(@VIpirate)
Advanced Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 23
October 27, 2019 6:34 am  

@stjohnjulie

Thank you. This is very helpful.  


ReplyQuote
jaldeborgh
(@jaldeborgh)
Advanced Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 210
October 27, 2019 7:04 am  
Posted by: @VIpirate

Thanks for posting the detailed information and the follow up on your experience.  

I have a question regarding registration of an imported vehicle.  Is it required to have a VI driving license to register a car?

 

I don’t want to give up my GA license as we are only on island 3 months a year. 

Regarding Blue Ocean Shipping, I have used them twice to ship 40 foot containers to STT and they were great. We bought an unfurnished villa a year ago and purchased most items off island due to lack of selection. 

I hired a small local mover to load the container that Blue Ocean arranges to be brought to our home in Atlanta and then they handled it all door to door in STT.  

I used Daniel at Beep to clear customs and he arranged delivery to our villa on the northside.  

All in all a pretty seamless process.  Probably $10k door to door for a 40 foot container. A 20 footer only saves about $1K so pointless to use smaller size. 

 

This is helpful.  We’ve also been using Blue Ocean to move some household goods.  The 20 foot container was packed, almost full, last Tuesday and hopefully will arrive about the the time we do in early December.  We are still trying to figure out the process once the container arrives on St. Croix.  Can you tell me how to reach Daniel at Beep for customs clearance, we have the paperwork from the moving company who packed and loaded the container, I was expecting Blue Ocean arranged for this step.  Also, who does Blue Ocean use to unload the container or do they have their own people?

I will also share that the container cost from Boston to St. Croix was about $7K, the packing costs, and they were very good, was about $2K.  Not sure what to expect with unpacking, but that is easier work, on St. Croix.

This post was modified 7 months ago by jaldeborgh

ReplyQuote
jaldeborgh
(@jaldeborgh)
Advanced Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 210
October 27, 2019 7:13 am  
Posted by: @stjohnjulie

They do not require a VI license to register a car.  But the law says you must get one if you are here for 90 days.  So if they ask, just tell them you are here less than three months of the year.  

Quick question, will I need to surrender my MA drivers license if I get a VI drivers license?  Our plan is to spend 6 months a year in each MA and St. Croix.  It would be helpful to not need to get a new license every 6 months, seems kind of a waste but then again we’re talking about the government(s).


ReplyQuote
Gator's Mom
(@gators_mom)
Trusted Member
Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 1117
October 27, 2019 9:06 am  

Unfortunately, you are required to surrender your stateside license when you get a VI license. VI will send it back to your home state that will then cancel your stateside license. 

If you need to pick, choose the MA license. MA will be your permanent residence I'm assuming. You'll still pay taxes there and to the IRS? 

BTW - VI licenses are not liked by rental car companies or other enterprises outside the VI. 

Your MA auto insurer may have issues with you having a VI license - you might ask them too.

 

This post was modified 7 months ago by Gator's Mom

ReplyQuote
VIpirate
(@VIpirate)
Advanced Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 23
October 27, 2019 9:35 am  

Daniel at Beep Business arranged for logistics once the container reached STT.   

He handled the customs clearance and arranged transport to our villa along with the unloading, unpacking and removal of trash.  

Beep was recommended by Blue Ocean.  The cost of about $10k I mentioned was for a 40 foot container door to door Atlanta to STT including the packing, unpacking and trash removal.  The 20 foot container only saved $1k in our case and we paid about $1K extra for direct shipment to STT versus transshipment through PR. 

Daniel@beepbusiness.net

Not sure if they also do STX, but he saved us a LOT handling customs clearance as we could have never navigated that nightmare.  

This post was modified 7 months ago 2 times by VIpirate

ReplyQuote
jaldeborgh
(@jaldeborgh)
Advanced Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 210
October 27, 2019 11:19 am  
Posted by: @Gator's_Mom

Unfortunately, you are required to surrender your stateside license when you get a VI license. VI will send it back to your home state that will then cancel your stateside license. 

If you need to pick, choose the MA license. MA will be your permanent residence I'm assuming. You'll still pay taxes there and to the IRS? 

BTW - VI licenses are not liked by rental car companies or other enterprises outside the VI. 

Your MA auto insurer may have issues with you having a VI license - you might ask them too.

 

Thanks, your answer doesn’t surprise me.  I’ll stick with my MA license for now as we will have 3 cars in MA plus the 2 we’ll have on St. Croix once we ship our Wrangler down in early 2021.

I haven’t looked into permanent residency status in the USVI yet as we’re unsure we’ll spend the required 184 days a year in the territory.  Once I retire in early 2021 my income will be passive, as I won’t have a permanent or part-time job on the mainland, so I might reconsider if my wife is willing to commit to the 184 days needed.  There would be tax advantages so I’ll look into it more next year.


ReplyQuote
jaldeborgh
(@jaldeborgh)
Advanced Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 210
October 27, 2019 11:29 am  
Posted by: @VIpirate

Daniel at Beep Business arranged for logistics once the container reached STT.   

He handled the customs clearance and arranged transport to our villa along with the unloading, unpacking and removal of trash.  

Beep was recommended by Blue Ocean.  The cost of about $10k I mentioned was for a 40 foot container door to door Atlanta to STT including the packing, unpacking and trash removal.  The 20 foot container only saved $1k in our case and we paid about $1K extra for direct shipment to STT versus transshipment through PR. 

Daniel@beepbusiness.net

Not sure if they also do STX, but he saved us a LOT handling customs clearance as we could have never navigated that nightmare.  

Thanks for the quick response.  I’ll reach out to Blue Ocean and see what/who they recommend.  I agree using a known agent to move through customs is a very smart idea, even though we only have basic household goods (furniture, kitchen supplies, my tool chest and a few rugs) we don’t want everything ripped apart for inspection.  My wife and the movers did a through job of documenting the contents of the container.  We did buy and ship about $1,500 worth of new stuff but this is clearly noted on the documents.  I think we pay 6% tax on these items.


ReplyQuote
Scubadoo
(@Scubadoo)
Trusted Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 2310
October 27, 2019 6:29 pm  
Posted by: @jaldeborgh

I haven’t looked into permanent residency status in the USVI yet as we’re unsure we’ll spend the required 184 days a year in the territory.  Once I retire in early 2021 my income will be passive, as I won’t have a permanent or part-time job on the mainland, so I might reconsider if my wife is willing to commit to the 184 days needed.  There would be tax advantages so I’ll look into it more next year.

Your health insurance will also be impacted by the  permanent residency status if you are retired unless on medicare or VA since there is no individual insurance option in the VI.  You may need to stick with MA residency for MA insurance.

This post was modified 7 months ago by Scubadoo

ReplyQuote
jaldeborgh
(@jaldeborgh)
Advanced Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 210
October 27, 2019 8:45 pm  
Posted by: @Scubadoo
Posted by: @jaldeborgh

I haven’t looked into permanent residency status in the USVI yet as we’re unsure we’ll spend the required 184 days a year in the territory.  Once I retire in early 2021 my income will be passive, as I won’t have a permanent or part-time job on the mainland, so I might reconsider if my wife is willing to commit to the 184 days needed.  There would be tax advantages so I’ll look into it more next year.

Your health insurance will also be impacted by the  permanent residency status if you are retired unless on medicare or VA since there is no individual insurance option in the VI.  You may need to stick with MA residency for MA insurance.

I will remain on my company health insurance using Cobra until I turn 65, which is 6 months after my retirement date, March 1st 2021.  Then I’ll be on Medicare, my wife is a few years older and has recently enrolled with Medicare, even though she’s still covered by my “family” plan at work as our youngest daughter (25 years old) is also still covered by the plan, for one more year.  Given that as background, I should be covered by Medicare by the time I would qualify for permanent VI residency.

To me the confusing part of the residency eligibility requirements are the income boundary conditions, which are a little confusing.  I’m hoping with only passive income and a small amount of consulting income, from a Board membership, that establishing permanent residency won’t be too daunting.


ReplyQuote
Page 1 / 2
Settlers Handbook

Thinking about moving to the Virgin Islands?

The Settler's Handbook is a Indispensable Guide

The current 19th Edition, will help you explore your dream of island living. A solid reference book, it was first published in 1975. That's 40+ years of helping people move to the Virgin Islands.

Order Today $17.95
Close Menu