US Virgin Islands Has Reopened: What Do Travelers Need to Know?

A United States Territory, the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI)—a cluster of tropical islands and islets in the Caribbean Sea—began welcoming leisure travelers again on September 19, following a one-month hiatus and with new protocols in place.

It was actually one of the first Caribbean destinations to reopen to leisure visitors back on June 1, but, after experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases, USVI was forced to pause its reopening on August 19. Given its limited available infrastructure for handling a major community outbreak, vigilance is crucial to keeping case counts in the territory low.

For U.S. citizens, travel to the USVI is relatively easy because you don’t need a passport to enter and benefit from other conveniences of domestic travel, such as a common currency. Entry requirements for non-U.S. citizens are the same as they’d be for entering the U.S. from any foreign country.

With this latest reopening come new COVID-19 containment measures that prospective visitors will need to consider prior to planning a trip to the USVI.

Testing:

— All travelers aged five years or older must apply for entry through the USVI Travel Screening Portal within five days of traveling. COVID-19 test results will also need to be submitted through the portal, which will then issue a travel certification. Those who are traveling within 24 hours will need to complete the form manually and provide a paper copy upon arrival.

— All travelers aged five years or older must provide proof of a negative result from a COVID-19 antigen (molecular/PCR/rapid) test taken within five days of departure or provide positive results of a COVID-19 antibody test taken within the four months prior to travel. Travelers are required to produce both their original test results and the travel certificate processed through the online portal.

Quarantine:

— Travelers unable to produce the required test results and certificate are required to undergo a mandatory self-quarantine for 14 days or the duration of their stay, whichever is shorter, or until they’re able to obtain the required test results following their arrival in the territory.

— Persons ordered to self-quarantine must proceed directly from the airport or seaport to a designated quarantine location and are personally responsible for all associated costs, covering transportation, lodging, food, medical care, etc.

Upon Arrival:

— All passengers arriving in the USVI are required to wear a mask or other appropriate face covering (which covers both the nose and mouth) upon disembarkation. Failure to do so results in a fine. The only exemptions are children under the age of two, persons who cannot remove their mask without assistance and those with acute respiratory impediments.

— All travelers arriving into any USVI port are subject to certain health-screening procedures upon arrival. After disembarking, passengers are escorted directly to a Virgin Islands Port Authority temperature checkpoint, where everyone will have their temperatures taken.

— Travelers who have received a Travel Certification from the USVI Travel Screening Portal will need to present it (digitally or printed) to the screening agent.

— Travelers who did not receive a Travel Certification through the portal will be required to manually complete a COVID-19 Traveler Screening Questionnaire.

— Passengers whose temperature reading is below 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit and who answer “NO” to all questions on the USVI Travel Screening Tool will be permitted to proceed freely into the Territory.

— Passengers with temperature readings above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit will be escorted by the Virgin Islands Department of Health and/or the Virgin Islands National Guard for isolation purposes and further testing,

— Travelers who consistently display a temperature of over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit and/or who have answered “YES” to any of the screening questions will be ordered to self-quarantine at a designated location, per USVI Department of Health regulations.

For more information, visit visitusvi.com.

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