Travellers using an Electronic System for Travel Authorization to travel through St. Thomas or other United States destinations are urged to use the same passport when entering and leaving the US. (Photo: VI Ports Authority)

Travellers relying on an Electronic System for Travel Authorization to travel to the United States should use the same passport to depart and re-enter this territory to avoid being inaccurately recorded, the Deputy Governor’s Office warned on Friday.

Some ESTA Visa Waiver applications have been denied recently because travellers’ re-entrance to this territory was not properly logged, thus leading US officials to believe that they had never left the US, according to the DGO.

“Following further investigation and discussions with the US Customs and Border Protection, it was revealed that travellers who have entered the US with their United Kingdom passport and returned to the territory using a different passport, including a Virgin Islands passport, may be at risk of being flagged as having overstayed in the US,” the office stated in a press release. “This may therefore affect an individual’s ability to qualify for an ESTA Waiver in the future.”

The confusion arose in part because entrance to the US is logged using a passport number, according to the DGO.

USVI, Puerto Rico

Travellers, the office warned, should also note that departure from the US mainland to the USVI or Puerto Rico is not considered an official departure from the US.

Official departure from the US is only logged upon completing an international flight or voyage to a non-US territory or state.

VI travellers experiencing challenges when using an ESTA are asked to contact the DGO at and provide details including traveller name; date of travel; and a brief description of their experience.

The DGO stated that the VI government is committed to working alongside travellers and the US CBP to ensure that entrance into the territory is properly recorded in accordance with both VI and US customs and immigration protocols.