Can we bring food from the U.S. to Tortola

Old Jul 3rd, 2006, 09:00 AM
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Can we bring food from the U.S. to Tortola

Fellow travelers:

For those that like to pack food to cook at their destination I am just wondering if anyone had brought food stuff (i.e. steaks, ribs, frozen in a cooler) from the U.S. to Tortola. Since it is a foreign country I want to see if they would let you bring stuff like that in.

Also, suggestions for a good grocery store and great places to eat are welcome!

Ed and Peg
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Old Jul 3rd, 2006, 09:07 AM
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BVI Customs - Bringing Food Stuffs into the BVI

Many yacht owners, charter guests and visitors ask if bringing food stuffs into the British Virgin Islands is permitted. The answer is yes. However, for the time being and because of the world wide threat of Hoof and Mouth and Mad Cow Disease, a law is in effect which bans the importation of any meat products unless you first make out an application and submit it to the Department of Agriculture for approval. These permits, if approved cost $25.00. For more information, please call the Department of Agriculture at (284) 495-2532.

Good quality, fresh foods are available in the British Virgin Islands year 'round from several grocery stores and provisioners. BVI import duties charged on food products range between 5% and 15% of the invoice value.

Duty Item

5% Raw meats
Free Poultry
15% Fresh (or live) Fish or Shellfish
5% Prepared Fish or Shellfish
10% Dried or preserved fruit
5% Fresh fruit
10% Nuts
5% Potatoes, onions and garlic
Free Most other Vegetables

Please be sure to keep your receipts. Proof of purchase and the total invoice amount is required when making your BVI customs declaration. Don't bother bringing alcoholic beverages. These items are very well priced in the BVI and the duty ranges from 10% to 15% of the invoice amount. Its not worth it! (Same goes for cigarettes).

BVI Customs Department
Phone: (284) 494-3475
Open from 8:30 to 6:30
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Old Jul 3rd, 2006, 11:22 AM
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I have brought small coolers of food into the Caribbean and the Bahamas quite a few times over the years...including Tortola, but I have never been charged a duty. Is this rule actually enforced with regard to short vacation trips, that is, has anyone out there in Fodorland been charged a duty for a small amount of food?
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Old Jul 3rd, 2006, 03:02 PM
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the web site noted above does carry a date of 2001. so may or may not be current info? i have traveled 3 times to turks and caicos (also british)since 01 with beef carrying usda label (and tons of other stuff - other meats, butter, juices, pre-made appetizers, even lobster for lobster salad sandwiches on the beach) and had no entry problems and paid NO duty fees. i leave original label on everything but seal-a-meal it.
my best friend has been traveling annually through tortola to a tiny private bvi for a decade, also carrying beef,chicken,lamb, etc. no entry problems and was asked only once to pay a duty fee.
we both travel with a comprehensive list of cooler contents to offer customs ppl. they don't seem inclined to read it.
do not tape cooler shut until you clear tsa in us. they will do the actual taping. but bring duct tape with you.
cooler is good for bringing home purchases or leave it for the next ppl...
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