As the world responds to new vaccination and testing requirements before boarding an international flight to the United States, officials in the U.S. Virgin Islands are reminding the traveling public that the new rules do not apply to direct travel from the USVI to the U.S. mainland.
“While international travelers to the United States must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test (either antigen or PCR) taken within one calendar day of departure to the U.S., this only applies to the U.S. Virgin Islands if you are arriving in the USVI via air from a foreign location, such as the British Virgin Islands or Antigua,” said USVI Commissioner of Tourism Joseph Boschulte.
“These travelers are coming from a foreign country, and their first point of entry into the United States is either St. Thomas or St. Croix, so the new rules apply,” he said.
The commissioner underscored that there are no vaccination or testing requirements for travelers leaving the USVI and heading to the U.S. mainland. “We are an American overseas territory and as such, travel to St. Croix, St. John, St. Thomas or Water Island is within the United States’ domestic jurisdiction,” the commissioner reminded, while asserting that travel to the USVI does not require a passport from U.S. citizens arriving from Puerto Rico or the U.S. mainland.
“We recognize that with new travel mandates, there can be a lot of misunderstanding of the rules,” he said, adding that it is very important for tourism industry stakeholders to continue educating the traveling public that “we are part of the United States.”
The USVI’s testing requirements are for domestic travel to the territory, for example from Puerto Rico to St. Croix, or from New York to St. Thomas.
All domestic travelers five years of age or older must use the Travel Screening Portal at usvitravelportal.com to submit the required COVID-19 test result prior to traveling to the territory. Travelers are required to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 antigen or PCR test result taken within five days of commencement of travel to the territory. Persons who have been fully vaccinated in the U.S. Virgin Islands may submit evidence of their vaccination status instead of a negative COVID-19 test result.
Travelers should note that the new federal one-day testing requirement for international travel does not apply to marine travel to the USVI. International marine travel still follows a five-day testing window, and certain vaccination requirements apply to non-U.S. persons.
For more information, visit www.usviupdate.com