Self-Employed Work Permit

British Virgin Islands
Cost of Living
Talent Migration


To relocate yourself and your business to the British Virgin Islands, or start a new business here, You will need to apply to obtain a trade license to operate.

Your application must be submitted to the BVI Trade Department. Approval times for trade licenses vary greatly, depending on which category your proposed business falls into.

Some types of businesses will be approved only if you will be in partnership with a local citizen (“Belonger”).

Once a trade license is granted, you will also have to apply for a work permit before starting to operate your new business in the BVI. Employment law normally requires all prospective jobs to be advertised in the local papers and awarded to a Belonger if he or she is just as qualified as the prospective foreign employee. However, this step is not required for the position of a director in a BVI company.

Application Process:

 Step 1: The Self-Employed applicant completes the application form and submits it to the Labour Department, along with supporting documents.

Step 2: The Self-Employed applicant awaits a response to his or her application.

 NOTE: Where a business is a limited company (i.e. registered with Company Registry), applicants are not eligible for a self-employed work permit. 



12 months



96 Month(s)





P. Residency

36 Month(s)


Processing time

4 weeks




What are eligibility requirements for the Self-Employed Work Permit?

6 Eligibility Requirements

  • You must apply for a trade license at BVI Trade Department.
  • You must obtain work permit.
  • You must not have criminal record.
  • You must pay application fee.
  • You must have valid passport.
  • You must have sufficient means of subsistence.

Which documents do I need to apply for the Self-Employed Work Permit?

12 Document Required

  • Original application form duly completed, signed and dated by employee and employer.
  • Cover letter duly signed and addressed to the Labour Commissioner, stating the intention of the company.
  • Two (2) passport size photographs of the applicant. The photographs must be in colour and taken within the past 12 months. Dimensions of photographs should be between 45mm by 35mm (1.77 inches by 1.38 inches) and 63mm by 50mm (2.5 inches by 2 inches).
  • Copy of the applicant’s signature page of passport.
  • Job Description outlining the full duties of the position.
  • Valid trade license (current year).
  • Financial References.
  • Character References.
  • Police Certificates.
  • Medical Certificates.
  • Certificate of Incorporation.
  • Memorandum of Understanding.

Talent Migration data for British Virgin Islands

Talent gain & drain map of 2015-2019 data. Sourced from World Bank Digital Development Data.

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