OWN A PIECE OF PARADISE -- USVI | Sport Diver

OWN A PIECE OF PARADISE -- USVI

If living on an island paradise seems appealing, what if that tropical island was a U.S. Territory, the U.S. dollar was the currency, English was the official language and you could live there as an American citizen and be an instant resident? Where is this place you might ask….naturally, we're talking about the U.S. Virgin Islands…St John, St. Thomas and St. Croix.

The territory consists of 50 islands, however the three largest ones are what people usually refer to as the U.S. Virgin Islands. They are located about 40 miles east of Puerto Rico and 1,100 miles southeast of Miami. The islands straddle both the Caribbean and Atlantic oceans. The U.S. Virgin Islands are easily accessible from the U.S., Puerto Rico, and many other countries. All three islands have airports and harbors, and are popular vacation destinations.

Living in the USVI is a lot like living on the mainland – you'll recognize major food chains, restaurants, hotel and motel chains and big-box retailers from back home. But you'll notice prices are a bit higher, partly because most things are imported here, and tourism is the main industry. This is true for building materials as well, so if you plan to buy land and build, make sure you consult with building professionals on the island of your choice and inquire about building costs and timelines….things here go at a slower pace.

Each Island has its Own Charms St. Croix is more laid-back and less-touristy than St. John and St. Thomas with fewer cruise ships and tourists. St. Thomas is home to the capital city of Charlotte Amalie, a bustling port city flush with imported goods, historic buildings and castles to explore. St. John, the smaller of the "big three" is a world away from St. Thomas' hectic pace… virtually two-thirds of the island is a national park.

Moving to the USVI The laws and regulations regarding purchasing property are very similar to those in the United States. As usual, it is wise to select a reputable real estate broker and hire a competent real estate attorney when you purchase any property or an existing home anywhere.

Do I need any paperwork to live and work in the USVI? If you are a U.S. citizen, all you will need is the same documentation you would need if purchasing property in the U.S. If you are not a U.S. Citizen, you'll have to apply to live and work here as you would to live and work on the U.S. mainland. Go here to see the U.S. government requirements.

Can I buy land or property in the USVI? Yes, if you are a U.S. citizen, you would follow the normal purchasing process, with a few differences. Financing is available at slightly higher rates than the mainland, and it's usual to offer a 20-30 percent downpayment.

Business incentives for relocating to the USVI Thinking about bringing your business to the USVI? The islands have an economic incentive program that might help you with your business dreams. Check out the USVI Economic Development Authority website for more information.

Once you have looked into moving to the USVI, you can contact the local Board of Realtors for more information about realty companies on the islands.

So, take your time to do the research and check out some of the links here:

General links on Living in the USVI

Stories on Moving to the USVI from actual people who made the move:

Note: While we've done our best to verify these websites and resources are legitimate, www.sportdiver.com and Sport Diver magazine cannot be held liable for information obtained from these sources. Each individual is responsible for verifying any information obtained through this or any other website.

Some USVI Real Estate Companies

Disclaimer: The information and resources listed here are deemed correct at the time of publishing and are not an endorsement nor do they reflect the opinions of Sport Diver magazine and the PADI Diving Society or Bonnier Corporation_. Each individual is responsible for investigating and verifying any information obtained through this or any other website_

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