You Need a Passport for British Virgin Islands is part of the Rum Rum Caribbean Castaway Trip Report.
I have done some dumb things in my day which I am always happy to share. I have a whole section dedicated to Visa mishaps. This one, I do believe, is the dumbest but I will let you decide.
As part of Rum Rum Caribbean Castaway Trip Report, I went to the British Virgin Islands. I booked my flight on interCarribean Air and looked forward to the 40-minute flight.
I arrived at the airport and presented my ID. The ticket agent asked to see my passport. “Passport?” I asked. It did not occur to me to bring my passport. Whether it’s because I am used to flying to the island of Puerto Rico without a passport, whether it’s because the flight is so short, or it’s because BVI uses American dollars, it did not occur to me that a passport was required.
To be clear, I didn’t forget to bring my passport. In fact, I went through my packing checklist and skipped right over the passport line item. Needless to say, I was denied boarding and had to book my flight for later in the afternoon or the next day.
When I returned to the airport, I was asked for my passport at check-in, prior to boarding, and by border patrol on the tarmac. I was also asked if I was carrying more than 10k in cash. Clearly, investigating money laundering and passport control is not a trivial matter.
It is obvious that I need a passport to go to a foreign country, and it is not in dispute that BVI is not part of the United States. I was too absent-minded to recognize this. I’ve visited over 110 countries, yet I still make stupid mistakes.
Chinese visa issues notwithstanding (see China 72-hour Visa-Free Transit Disaster (again)), I think this may be the dumbest yet.
What part of “British” Virgin Islands was the part that made you think it was US soil. The clue is in the name, don’t you think?
Clearly I didn’t think.
It is an understandable error given that Puerto Rico is a separate country and that they don’t require a passport for entry by US citizens.