Press Release

Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sustainable Development
Immigration Department
Civil Registry and Passport Office
House of Assembly
Release Date:
Friday, 10 May 2024 - 8:34am

The Immigration and Passport (Amendment) Act, 2024 had its first reading in the House of Assembly.

The revised Belonger and Residence Status Policy for the Virgin Islands was also tabled during the Tenth Sitting of the First Session of the Fifth House of Assembly.

Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sustainable Development, Mr. Joseph Smith Abbott said, “The provisions in the Bill address the periods of being ordinarily resident in the Territory to be considered for the grants of residence and Belonger status.  Moreover, it enshrines the policy directives resulting from the wide consultation, which preceded the completion and adoption of the policy. Persons are encouraged to pay keen attention to the amendments to the principal Act.”

The Immigration Bill is in response to Recommendation B33 of the Commission of Inquiry, which identified the need for clear and published guidance for the consideration of applications for residence and Belonger status, and for clarity regarding the length of tenure in the Territory for the grant of status.

The Bill seeks to address issues including the length of time required for being eligible for Residence and Belonger status, the establishment of guidelines and criteria governing the award of status by Cabinet and the process for determining quotas and an appeals process.  Other issues addressed include children’s path to residence status and children born in the BVI to Non-Belonger parents.

The Bill outlines the responsibilities of the various entities to gather and analyse data on the population, demographic trends, labour market conditions, and housing availability; defining categories of residence certificates and the eligibility criteria and qualifications for residence certificates.

The Bill further sets out the process for engaging and carrying out stakeholder consultations to ensure transparency in any quota-setting activities, as well as assessing the potential economic and social impact of residence or Belonger certificates. 

The Board of Immigration will be responsible for recommending annual immigration quotas for residence or Belonger certificates to Cabinet in accordance with the quota-setting objectives and the capacity of the Territory. Persons are encouraged to read both the Immigration and Passport Act and the Immigration and Passport (Amendment) Act.

The Government of the Virgin Islands remains committed to fostering national political, economic, and social development in the Territory.


Sonjé Greenidge

Information Officer II
Department of Information and Public Relations (GIS)
Telephone: 468-2742