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Classification of Residents in the BVI

By: Stephen Leslie France, Editor - aLookingGlass | Last Updated: October 26, 2016

Unlike many other countries, being born in the BVI does not, according to the BVI Immigration Department’s website, “automatically grant any rights” if your parents are not citizens or belongers. Citizenship in the British Overseas Territories is determined by the British Nationality Act (BNA) 1981, as amended by the British Overseas Territories Act (BOTA) 2002. Under the BNA, your citizenship and immigration status are not linked. Since the issue tends to be a bit tricky, the Governor’s Office recommended that inquiries be directed to the Civil Registry and Passport Office, who lead on most nationality issues.

Different classifications of residents in the BVI:

BVIslander/British Overseas Territories Citizen (BOTC)

—a category of British national to describe people who are British through a connection with a British territory by birth (depending on the parent’s status), descent, naturalisation or registration


—a person ‘deemed to belong’ to the Territory as defined by the BVI Constitution (marriage, descent, birth/registration [depending on parent’s status], naturalisation before 2007)

Honorary Belonger

—Honorary Belongership is rare, but it does happen. In January 2010, the BVI Government bestowed an honorary belongership to quadriplegic sailor/disability ambassador Geoff Holt who made his historic, transatlantic journey back to Cane Garden Bay, the site where he’d become paralysed 25 years before


—a person of non-BVI parentage who lives in the BVI

Work Permit Resident

—a resident who lives and works in the BVI year round. Work permits must be renewed every year

Full-Time Resident

—holds a Certificate of Residence which entitles the holder to remain in the Territory for an indefinite period and may be granted to a person who intends to reside permanently in the BVI who can prove sufficient means to do so without working

Part-Time Resident

—holds an Alien Landholding ID Card which grants property owners permission to live in the Territory for up to six months each calendar year


— a spouse, partner or family member that does not plan to seek employment (ie. children), but wishes to live in the BVI with a resident.


—students from abroad who are studying at H. Lavity Stoutt Community College are granted a Student Visa


—visitors may stay in the BVI for 28 days. If they wish to stay longer, they must apply for an extension from immigration. For copies of the Labour Code Act 2010, and new and renewal work permit forms, visit our website at

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