Office of the Governor
The Governor's Office is reminding residents to ensure that their travel documents are valid and finalise their family disaster plans to get ready for what may be another active hurricane season.
British citizens are reminded that there are no British Citizen passport facilities in the Territory and the Governor’s Office cannot help with UK passport enquiries or replacement passports. They are asked to submit their passport renewal application online to Her Majesty’s Passport Office in the UK or apply to the British High Commission in Barbados for an emergency travel document if the passport has been lost or stolen, damaged or expired, and there is an urgent need to travel.
British nationals may need a visa to travel through other countries with the emergency travel document and they are urged to check with the Embassy or Consulate of each country they are travelling to. British Overseas Territories Citizen (BOTC) passports are processed by the Civil Registry and Passport Office.
Nationals of other countries should also give consideration to applying for a replacement passport if they intend to visit their home country over the summer.
Copies should be made of key documents, including passports, birth certificates, work permits and drivers' licenses, insurance policies and wills, and stored in a safe place, separate from the originals. Persons should consider writing down key contact numbers in the event they cannot access their phone. Persons should also keep original documents with them in waterproof bags or containers in the event of an approaching hurricane or tropical storm.
All residents are urged to make early preparations for the 2019 season and start gathering non perishable supplies now for each member of the household for at least two to three weeks. They are also reminded to be financially prepared: keep cash in their emergency kit, review and upgrade any existing insurance policies or establish an emergency savings fund. Prepare their homes: keep their yard free from debris and other loose items and anything that become projectiles during high winds, trim trees and shrubs around homes to make them more wind resistant, check for loose or blocked rain gutters, and remove any rubbish. Medications, powered devices, back up communications and power and other specific needs including battery or solar powered lights/fans/radios and pets must be included in emergency plans.
Persons who may wish to travel to the United States (USA) either before, or immediately after a hurricane, are to ensure that their documents are in order, as it is extremely unlikely that anyone without appropriate documentation will be allowed to enter. Those who do plan to travel to the USA should also be aware that the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) only operates for commercial traffic and they should therefore also obtain a US visa if travelling on charter or private flights including medical evacuation and private vessels.
British nationals should also be aware that the BVI is an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom and the Governor’s Office does not provide consular services as are provided in foreign countries. The first port of call for British nationals in distress should be to the local BVI authorities, such as the police and hospital.
The British passport application process is centralised and British nationals in the BVI submit their passport application to Her Majesty’s Passport Office in the UK. The current production time for straightforward British passport renewals is running at least 4 weeks; more complex cases slightly longer. Further information for applying from overseas can be found at https://www.gov.uk/overseas-passports, https://www.gov.uk/passport-advice-line.
British passport holders should note that they are able to renew their passports at a Passport Office in the UK providing the holder is in the UK at the time. Details of this service can be found at https://www.gov.uk/apply-renew-passport.