Significant Progress Made: New Developments for the BVI Financial Services Sector

We are pleased to report that significant progress is being made in restoring the financial and legal services available on Tortola. The backlog of past filings has now been cleared; the BVI’s online incorporations system, VIRRGIN, is fully functioning; regulatory submissions can now be completed electronically; and, on-island banking services are returning to normal operations this week.

In addition, The Eastern Caribbean Commercial Court is presently hearing cases in St Lucia, a new practice direction has been disseminated to BVI lawyers, the Territory’s Shipping Registry is operational, and the Financial Services Commission is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

NEW: The Registry of Corporate Affairs is now operating daily from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and industry are able to make full BVI BCA filings and perform company searches.

A temporary extension of name reservations has been announced. To facilitate name reservations that may have expired during the passage of hurricanes Irma and Maria, the Registry of Corporate Affairs has advised that all company names reserved during the period 4th September, 2017 to 31st October, 2017 will remain reserved until 15th November, 2017.

The Registry of the Supreme Court has resumed operations. Outstanding search applications are being processed and will be returned once payment has been completed. The resumption of physical searches, probate, registration, and other services at the new temporary location of the High Court Registry, Second Floor, Sakal Place, Road Town, Tortola, is expected to be announced shortly.

The Registrar of Trade Marks, Patents and Copyright has declared under the rule 89 (1) of the Trade Marks Rules, 2015 that the normal operation of the Registry was interrupted for the period of 5 September, 2017 and 5 October, 2017 for the purposes of the Trade Marks Act, 2013. Any deadline for filing or submission of documents between 5 September 2017 and 5 October, 2017 is suspended until 6 October, 2017. Please be guided accordingly.

The Terrence B. Lettsome International Airport resumed commercial flight operations on Monday, 2nd October. The airport will operate from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily, with night operations to resume in the near future. (Beginning 6th September, the airport served as a vital link for humanitarian, relief, and evacuation flights following the impact of Hurricane Irma.)

Telecommunications service throughout the BVI is improving every day and the Government is looking at ways to relax rules on work permits and reduce tariffs on building materials in order to expedite rebuilding.

We at O’Neal Webster sincerely appreciate the patience shown by our loyal clients, associates, and friends over the past few weeks. We look forward to serving your complete needs as we return to normal service. Please contact Managing Partner Kerry Anderson for questions or additional information.

O'Neal Webster is a leading offshore law firm in the British Virgin Islands providing superior legal services to clients globally. The firm is a member of Lex Mundi, the world's largest association of independent law firms.

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