Assistant Information Officer
Deputy Governor's Office
Government of the Virgin Islands
Individuals traveling with an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) should utilise the same passport to depart and re-enter the Territory to avoid being inaccurately recorded.
The Office of the Deputy Governor has confirmed that some ESTA Visa Waiver applications were denied due to an issue where re-entrance to the Territory was not properly logged, thus inaccurately indicating that some travelers had never left the United States (U.S.).
Following further investigation and discussions with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, it was revealed that travelers who have entered the U.S. with their United Kingdom (U.K.) passport and returned to the Territory using a different passport, including a Virgin Islands Passport, may be at risk of being flagged as having overstayed in the U.S. This may therefore affect an individual’s ability to qualify for an ESTA Waiver in the future.
The public is reminded that entrance to the United States is logged using a passport number. Therefore, persons who travel to the U.S. using a U.K. Passport and valid ESTA must return to the Territory using the same U.K. passport to ensure that their arrival and departure, both ways, have been successfully recorded.
Travelers should also note that departures from the U.S. Mainland to the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) or Puerto Rico is not considered as an official departure from the U.S. Official departure from the U.S. will only be logged upon completing an international flight or voyage to a non-U.S. Territory or State.
Travelers who are experiencing or have experienced challenges when using an ESTA are asked to contact the Office of the Deputy Governor at email@example.com with details including name of traveler, date of travel and a brief description of their experience.
The Government of the Virgin Islands remains committed to working alongside travelers and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to ensure that entrance into the Territory is properly recorded in accordance with both Virgin Islands and United States Customs and Immigration protocols.