🇻🇬 The British Virgin Islands (BVI), officially the Virgin Islands, are a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean, to the east of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and north-west of Anguilla. The islands are geographically part of the Virgin Islands archipelago and are located in the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles and part of the West Indies. The British Virgin Islands consist of the main islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Jost Van Dyke, along with more than 50 other smaller islands and cays. About 16 of the islands are inhabited. The capital, Road Town, is on Tortola, the largest island, which is about 20 km (12 mi) long and 5 km (3 mi) wide. British Virgin Islanders are British Overseas Territories citizens and since 2002 are British citizens as well.
Economy The twin pillars of the economy are financial services and tourism. Politically, tourism is the more important of the two, as it employs a greater number of people within the territory, and a larger proportion of the businesses in the tourist industry are locally owned, as are a number of the highly tourism-dependent sole traders, for example, taxi drivers and street vendors. Financial services associated with the territory's status as an offshore financial centre are by far the more important. 51.8% of the Government's revenue comes directly from licence fees for offshore companies, and considerable further sums are raised directly or indirectly from payroll taxes relating to salaries paid within the trust industry sector, which tend to be higher on average than those paid in the tourism sector.
The official currency of the British Virgin Islands is the United States dollar (US$). Deemed by some to be a tax haven due to its opaque banking system, the British Virgin Islands enjoys one of the more prosperous economies of the Caribbean region.
Tourism Tourism accounts for approximately 45% of national income. The islands are a popular destination for US citizens. Tourists frequent the numerous white sand beaches, visit The Baths on Virgin Gorda, snorkel the coral reefs near Anegada, or experience the well-known bars of Jost Van Dyke. The BVI are known as one of the world's greatest sailing destinations, and charter sailboats are a very popular way to visit less accessible islands. Established in 1972, the BVI hosts the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival. A substantial number of the tourists who visit the BVI are cruise ship passengers, and although they produce far lower revenue per head than charter boat tourists and hotel based tourists, they are nonetheless important to the substantial taxi driving community. Only Virgin Islanders are permitted to work as taxi drivers.
Financial services Financial services account for over half of the income of the territory. The majority of this revenue is generated by the licensing of offshore companies and related services. The British Virgin Islands is a significant global player in the offshore financial services industry. In 2000 KPMG reported in its survey of offshore jurisdictions for the United Kingdom government that over 45% of the world's offshore companies were formed in the British Virgin Islands. Since 2001, financial services in the British Virgin Islands have been regulated by the independent Financial Services Commission.
Citco, also known as the Citgo Group of Companies and the Curaçao International Trust Co., is a privately owned global hedge fund administrator headquartered in the British Virgin Islands, founded in 1948. It is the world's largest hedge fund administrator, managing over $1 trillion in assets under administration.
At the end of 2012 the banking sector of the British Virgin Islands comprised six commercial banks and one restricted bank, 12 authorised custodians, two licensed money services businesses and one licensed financing service provider.
In the April 2016 Panama Papers leak, the British Virgin Islands was the most commonly used tax haven by clients of Mossack Fonseca.
Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act On 30 June 2014, The British Virgin Islands was deemed to have an Inter- Governmental Agreement (IGA) with the United States of America with respect to the "Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act" of the United States of America.
Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act Under the UK Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2018, beneficial ownership of companies in British overseas territories such as the British Virgin Islands must be publicly registered for disclosure by 31 December 2020. The Government of the British Virgin Islands plans to challenge this law, arguing that it violates the Constitutional sovereignty granted to the islands.
Agriculture and industry Agriculture and industry account for only a small proportion of the islands' GDP. Agricultural produce includes fruit, vegetables, sugar cane, livestock and poultry, and industries include rum distillation, construction and boat building. Commercial fishing is also practised in the islands' waters.
British Virgin Islands is the #87 city in the world according to the Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI) which evaluates and ranks the competitiveness of the major financial centres of the world according to a wide range of criteria – Human Capital, Business, Finance, Infrastructure and Reputation.
British Virgin Islands was ranked #1288 by the Nomad List which evaluates and ranks remote work hubs by cost, internet, fun and safety. British Virgin Islands has a population of over 35,802 people.