Unsure of how proceed with your move to the US Virgin Islands? Fret not. Use this checklist to facilitate your relocation.
Step 1: Do your research.
A lot of people struggle with culture shock the minute they step into the shores of the USVI. To help you get settled much easier and in a shorter period of time, read about the islands before you purchase a home.
Local weather, average temperatures, where to get supplies, job opportunities, as well as the state of the local economy are just some of the facets you need to get acquainted with before you move.
Step 2: Choose which island best suits your preferences.
The US Virgin Islands is made up of three principal isles (four, if we consider Water Island) as well as dozens of small cays (pronounced “keys”). Most of the population, as expected, is concentrated on the major islands of St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix.
Each island has something different to offer. St. Thomas, for instance, is a hub for holidaymakers with its resorts and nightlife. The capital of the territory, Charlotte Amalie, is also located here. St. Croix is the biggest of the three principal islands, but is considerably more spread out and quiet compared to St. Thomas.
Meanwhile, a huge chunk of St. John is dedicated to national parkland. That said, it is also home to a significant portion of non-USVI natives. If you are moving with school-age children, St. John might not be the best option as there are few schools on the island.
Step 3: Find a home.
Now that you’ve decided where to live, it’s time to search for a home, whether it’s a full-time residence or a rental.
There are many real estate brokerages that operate in the US Virgin Islands, one of which is Sea Glass Properties, with offices on St. Thomas and St. John. If you have decided to settle on St. Thomas, I can help you find the property you need. Or, I would be happy to refer you to a Sea Glass colleague on St. John or St. Croix.
Step 4: Sort your belongings.
It’s a given that you can’t take all of your personal belongings with you to the US Virgin Islands. Think about what valuable items you are bringing – antique wooden furniture? – we do have termites here. And it’s humid, which can be troublesome for some art that may not be well framed. So, before you move, take time to sort out your belongings.
Some of my past clients sold everything they own on the mainland and used the funds to start anew on St. Thomas. Others kept some of their belongings and entrusted them to close friends and family.
Are you bringing a car? Shipping costs for vehicles can be expensive. Road conditions on the USVI can also present some hurdles. You might also be subjected to extra fees if your car was manufactured in Canada.
Once you’ve decided on the items you’re taking with you, arrange the necessary transportation.
Step 5: Arrange and/or apply for documents.
While you don’t lose your US citizenship when you move to the USVI, you need to have proper documentation, including a VI driver’s license. You can sort that out at the Virgin Islands Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Call before you arrive there and find out exactly what documentation you will need with you in order to switch over your driver’s license, as well as to register your car. Then bring a book when you go. It can take a while!
If you have questions, don’t hesitate to talk to me at 340-690-9995 or barbara(at)seaglassproperties(dotted)com.