Visitors who are currently in the British Virgin Islands and possess an invalid or expired landing permit because of the COVID-19 pandemic will not be penalised by the Immigration Department.
This is according to Immigration Minister Vincent Wheatley who made the statement during a national broadcast on Sunday.
He said government understands that the expired statuses are due to circumstances beyond the visiting public’s control and said the Immigration Department has prioritised the regularisation of these statuses which will be conducted during this week.
“Understanding the urgency to regularise our visitors, as well as to prepare them for departure, the Immigration Department will dedicate its time during the week of May 4 to these persons,” he stated.
Visitors urged to contact Immigration to secure appointment
Minister Wheatley also said that the Immigration Department has begun contacting these individuals so they can reschedule their appointments.
He, however, urged all visitors who have not yet contacted Immigration to do so immediately via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Setback for Border Management System
Meanwhile, Wheatley also said the launch of the Border Management and eVisa System has suffered a few setbacks as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new system which was expected to be implemented this coming Friday is being developed by Canada Bank Note (CBN) and will be used to better track the movement of persons through the territory’s borders as well as to digitize the visa issuing system.
“Phase I should have been completed and launched by May 8. However, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions, the team was unable to install and commission equipment necessary for the use of the system.”
Despite the setbacks, Minister Wheatley said the team will continue works on the other phases of the project to allow its launch immediately after local travel restrictions are lifted.