Q : Are the Virgin Islands Part of the United States ?
: Yes, The Virgin Islands are a U.S. territory. As such its residents
are entitled to U.S. passports and certain privileges like any mainland
resident. Cargo made in the USA is not subject to customs duty.
Q : What Islands make up the Virgin Islands ?
A : The U.S. Virgin Islands are comprised of:
St. Croix – the largest of the three islands
St. Thomas – the second largest and the capital, Charlotte Amalie
St. John - the third largest of the islands
Water Island – the smallest of the islands
British Virgin Islands consist of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, and a host of
other small islands. These islands are not U.S. territories and are
subject to different import laws.
Q : If the U.S. Virgin Islands are a U.S. territory, why do I need a broker?
: The Virgin Islands are considered in a different customs jurisdiction
than the US mainland and Puerto Rico. Any cargo originating from
outside of the Virgin Islands is required to be cleared through U.S.
customs. Foreign made cargo is subject to a customs duty up to 6% of
the invoice value. Foreign made shipments with over $2,000.00 in value
are required to file a consumption entry.
Q : What is excise tax?
: Excise tax equates to a product sales tax. The rules for excise tax
regarding who and what are taxable, are very broad. Certain
institutions are tax-free by nature. Others are taxable by nature. The
only way to determine the tax liability situation is to provide the
consignee name and commodity. The excise tax is usually 4.2% of the
invoice value, but can be as much as 10% of the invoice value.
Q: Are personal effects taxable and dutiable?
There is no requirement to pay excise tax on personal items. However,
new items are applicable to customs duty, depending on the value and
nature of the shipment. All foreign made items are taxable up to 6% of
the invoice value.
Q : What should I expect on a Vehicle Import?
Top of the line Transport works with the client in facilitating the
vehicle import procedure. Normally, the importer will need to visit 6
different offices before the vehicle is registered for the road. This
procedure is lengthy and frustrating, because each office requires
something different from the importer. That's why we include this as
part of our service.
Q : Is there a wrong time to import products to the USVI?
Everything that is imported to the U.S. and British Virgin Islands need
to be cleared through customs and excise tax, therefore when these
departments are closed, your shipment stops moving. Luckily they never
remain closed for more than 4 days at a time during the holiday period.
Q : Are A C S / AE C / A C H / ABI / AMS in the Virgin Islands ?
: None of the above is in use in the Virgin Islands. Customs and Border
Protection has not initiated any of these programs to date. All customs
transactions (except alerts) are completed manually in the presence of
an officer. It increases the time necessary to complete the
transaction, but the system works.
Q : Is Pre-clearance of Shipments allowed?
A : Pre-clearance of shipments is generally not allowed. Exceptions are made based on the circumstances of individual shipments.
Q : What documents are necessary to clear a shipment?
For all shipments requiring clearance, a commercial invoice is
necessary, stating the country of origin, the number of units, the unit
cost and the extended cost. The invoice must be in English, the
descriptions must be in layman's terms, and a company representative
must sign the invoice. The invoice is the most crucial document.
Anything else that is needed should be able to be created locally.
Q : Do the U.S. Virgin Islands use the Harmonized Tariff Schedule?
Yes, The U.S. Virgin Islands use the tariff, but our duty amount is
different from what is stated in the schedule. To arrive at the
applicable duty amount, our broker identifies the TEUSA number in the
tariff schedule, but pays a different percentage than what is stated in
the schedule. In the U.S. Virgin Islands, a maximum of 6% is paid on
foreign made items. The British Virgin Islands does not use the
harmonized tariff schedule and goods imported there normally pay a much
higher duty amount.