Expat United States Virgin Islands

For those American expats looking to live in a tropical paradise, but who still want to live in a United States Territory, the US Virgin Islands is that unique place to call home. The US Virgin Islands has all the benefits of a tropical Caribbean island, plus the fact that it is a US territory, making the term expat obsolete.


The climate in the US Virgin Islands is comfortable throughout the year, however it can be hot and humid at times. There is usually a gentle breeze to temper the humidity caused by the trade winds. There is a dry season that lasts throughout the winter months and a wet season during the summer and fall months. Average temperatures usually range from the 70’s to the mid to high 80’s.

The water temperature is warm year round and if you are interested in scuba diving or snorkeling, the best time of year is between April and August when waters are at their calmest and visibility is at its clearest.


The United States Virgin Islands are located in the Caribbean and are near the Lesser Antilles and Leeward Islands. They consist of four main islands which includes St. Thomas, St. John, St. Croix and Water Island. The US Virgin Islands are an unincorporated territory of the United States and there is no visa required for US citizens. It is important to note that you should bring along your US passport when visiting, due to the new entry and exit rules for the US mainland. The currency in the US Virgin Islands is the US dollar which makes it advantageous for property and investment purchases.

Tax System

The tax system in the US Virgin Islands is unique even among the many tax havens in the Caribbean. It is the only tax free entity under the United States flag, but has some interesting exceptions. While most of the US tax code is in effect there are many major exemptions and incentive programs. If you are interested in residing in the US Virgin Islands or starting a business in its territory, your best bet is to contact a US Virgin Islands accountant or visit the United States Virgin Islands Department of Tourism for the many tax advantages the US Virgin Islands have.

Medical Care

Medical care on the US Virgin Islands is adequate to very good. There are two main hospitals and plenty of private clinics on the four main islands. Most medical insurance companies continue to provide benefits for those living on the US Virgin Islands, but it is important to contact your provider for all the details before you leave the US mainland. If you do not have medical insurance, you might want to purchase travel insurance that includes medical along with a medical evacuation provision in the case you need to be evacuated for treatment.

Real Estate

The real estate market is low risk and straightforward for those looking to invest or purchase property. However it should be noted that if you are a foreigner (Non-US citizen), you may not be able to purchase real estate or be restricted to purchasing certain types of real estate.

The real estate market in the US Virgin Islands is usually strong and property values are high. Depending on the island you purchase property on will determine the cost. The most expensive island to purchase property or lease/rent is St. Thomas, followed by St. John and then St. Croix.

For leasing/renting, expect to spend about $1,000 to $1,500 for a one or two bedroom. Apartments and condos are the most affordable while a beach house can easily cost several thousand dollars with prices averaging around $3,000 to $5,000 for a 3 bedroom beach house.


Shopping in the US Virgin Islands is a breeze due to the generally good infrastructure and the thriving tourist economy. Most necessities are very easy to find and there are many shops that cater to well heeled tourists and expats.

There is plenty of entertainment on the island including top rated restaurants, nightlife and bars. Besides the above entertainment choices, there are a many activities for residents and tourists including snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, boating and sun bathing.

Cost of Living

Generally speaking, the cost of living in the US Virgin Islands is about 30 percent more than most US localities. Housing makes a big dent sometimes costing thousands of dollars more than in the states and food and household items costs more due to import costs. Entertainment is also very expensive since most activities and services cater to tourists. However, for most people looking for a safe and stable island paradise to call home and escape the big city life, the US Virgin Islands definitely deliver.

Private Firearms Ownership

A license is required to possess, transport, or carry a firearm. A purchase coupon is issued to a license applicant when the application is approved. The weapon purchased is brought in to the firearms unit of the United States Virgin Islands Police Department. Information about the weapon is recorded and listed on the license issued to the applicant.

Map of United States Virgin Islands