news & analysis

BVI Work Permit Exemptions

27 March 2024 | by Paul Mellor


This note is intended as a brief guide to the exemption of certain categories of people engaged in employment in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) from the need to obtain a work permit. It is not intended to be a comprehensive guide on all aspects of BVI employment or immigration law. We recommend that specific advice is sought as each set of circumstances has its own peculiarities.


In 2017, the BVI Government enacted a measure that exempted various categories of people from the need to obtain a work permit to work in the BVI for short periods of time. The categories of people exempted from the need to obtain a work permit has now been expanded, with effect from 7 March 2024.

BVI Work permit exemptions

Following the changes introduced by the Labour Code (Work Permit Exemption) (Amendment) Order, 2024 on 7 March 2024, the following classes of persons, described in summary form, are exempt from the need for a work permit for 7 days in the first instance with extensions based on a request for an extension:

  1. directors and other officers of companies (whether incorporated in the BVI or elsewhere) visiting the BVI for the sole purpose of participating in meetings of the board of directors of such companies;
  2. persons visiting clients for business deals and negotiations. Note that this does not include foreign lawyers not admitted to practise in or holding a valid practising certificate in the BVI;
  3. persons attending business-related events (meetings, seminars and similar events) put on by BVI entities (whether government or private). This includes paying participants but also persons associate with the event, including presenters and support staff;
  4. persons making purchases from BVI entities (whether government or private);
  5. persons receiving training and work coaching (including internships) from BVI entities (government or private);
  6. persons conducting research with the permission of the requisite BVI Government agency;
  7. persons participating in amateur sporting activities, including coaches, officials and others that support the event or participants;
  8. students attending institutions of learning for short-term training and educational activities;
  9. persons providing emergency and humanitarian services to BVI registered businesses, statutory bodies, non-profit organisations and other entities. This category applies to persons offering vital support in areas such as emergency response, medical care, firefighting and rescue operations services;
  10. persons providing repairs to machinery or equipment that are essential for the safe and uninterrupted operation of a business or facility where the necessary expertise is not available in the BVI. This category

Revised: 11 March 2024 

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