Residents of the Virgin Islands are encouraged to initiate a plan to get ready for what may be another active hurricane season.
Residents are asked to start gathering non-perishable supplies for each member of the household for at least two to three weeks, be financially prepared and keep cash in their emergency kit or establish an emergency savings fund and review and upgrade any existing insurance policies.
Homeowners are urged to prepare their homes, keep their yard free from debris and other loose items, ensure that trees and shrubs are well trimmed so they are more wind resistant and clear the yard of items that could become projectiles during high winds.
Persons should also check for loose rain gutters and unclog all rain gutters and remove any rubbish. Medications, powered devices, back up communications and power, battery or solar powered lights/fans/radios, and pets must also be included in emergency plans.
The Office of the Governor is reminding persons to ensure that their travel documents are valid. British citizens are asked to note that there is no British Citizenship passport facility in the Territory and that the Office of the Governor cannot help with passport inquiries.
British citizens are to submit their passport renewal application online to Her Majesty’s Passport Office in the United Kingdom 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 should check with the Embassy or Consulate of each country they are travelling to.
Persons may access the following sites for additional information.
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.
As the hurricane season approaches, 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 be accessed on their phones. In the face of an approaching hurricane or tropical storm, original documents should be kept in waterproof bags or containers.
Persons who may wish to travel to the US either before, or immediately after a hurricane are notified that it is essential that their documents are in order as it is extremely unlikely that anyone without appropriate documentation will be allowed to enter the United States. Those who do plan to travel to the US should also be aware that the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) only operates for commercial flights and they should obtain a US visa if travelling on charter or private flights including medical evacuation.
British nationals should also be aware that the BVI is an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom, therefore, the Office of the Governor 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 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.