How to Ship Online Purchases and
How to Drive In Anguilla
by A. Chica
I am seriously considering relocating to Anguilla. I did read the Q&A, but still have a few questions. Here they are...
1) I have an internet business, so no need to apply for a job. But I want to know whether I have to sign up or otherwise have to receive permission to come and live, or can I just book a flight and ship my things?
2) Also, would I need permission to sell my handmade art there at a market?
3) Are there any hassles or restrictions?
4) Does Amazon or larger companies ship to Anguilla?
5) Lastly, I have a small SUV (still paying on it) and I read that it's difficult driving on the roads with an American car, opposite side of road. In your opinion what do you think? Better to sell it?
Any information you can offer will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you :)
Reply by Dad
These are good brass tack questions of moving to Anguilla. I will focus on the last two (shipping online purchases to Anguilla and driving in Anguilla), as the others are already covered in other web pages. Answering them in order...
1) About moving your Internet business...
The topic of "computer workers" moving to Anguilla is covered here. So we'll skip that part of the conversation in this answer.
As in any country, you can't just "turn up." You will need the help of...
- an attorney from your country, especially if you would like to be officially recognized as a non-resident of your country
- a local lawyer.
It is important to legally arrange the departure from one's home country. Citizens of almost all countries of the world pay income tax on the basis of where they live.
In Anguilla, there is no income tax, although there is a 3% "Temporary Stabilization Levy," where employer and employee both pay 3% of your income to the government. As a self-employed person, that amounts to 6%.
That rate is a lot lower than paying the 30-60% income tax rates of "developed nations." So it is well worth the expense to make sure your home country recognizes your Anguillian residency.
As an American, you belong to one of only 2 countries whose citizens pay on the basis of citizenship, not residency. Still, your first $90,000 (approx) of income can be exempted if you arrange your affairs appropriately.
There are also legal considerations of moving your Internet business. These will vary, depending on the legal structure of your business.
So get local legal help in your country. There is a "right way" to leave any country. You want to cover your bases well.
On the Anguilla side of things, the immigration process includes an application form (including a health report, police check, etc.) and getting a work permit. Both topics are covered elsewhere in this website.
The bottom line, though, is that you will need the help of an Anguillian attorney. We recommend Eustella Fontaine. Reach her through this contact form
2) Selling products locally (such as your homemade art) is a totally different matter. An Internet business does not compete with the local population, but local businesses may.
Still, it can be done. We see new tourist-oriented stores opened annually by non-Anguillians, but it is more difficult to be accepted. This, too, is covered elsewhere on the site. It boils down to "contact Eustella."
3) There are no "hassles or restrictions," just the same policies that all countries have, such as...
- protecting jobs of the local population
- verifying that you have no criminal record
- making sure that you will be able to support yourself
Hence, the application process. The self-employed work permit costs approximately $5,000, which is a way of generating income for government (since there is no income tax) and ensuring that your business generates enough income to warrant your move.
Eustella would help you with this, too.4) Regarding shipping purchases to Anguilla...
We buy many items through Amazon and other Internet retailers. Some ship directly to Anguilla at a reasonable price. Others only ship within the U.S. or don't have Anguilla as a "ship-to" country. Some simply charge too much to ship to Anguilla.
So we have an address in Miami, using a freight-forwarder to ship the "last leg" to Anguilla (generally about $20). Most online businesses that are situated in the U.S. ship within the U.S. for free, so this process (called "Ezone") is a cost-effective way to have products sent to Anguilla.
It is also a more reliable way to receive purchases or mail, unless you choose to have them sent by courier. Fedex, DHL and UPS all ship to Anguilla. The price can be prohibitive, but some online retailers do offer cheap (or free) Fedex service.
We even use our Ezone address for mail that is of any importance. Without it, we have received Christmas cards a year late!
It seems that mail to Anguilla sometimes goes to Angola or other distant locales before finding its way here! It's funny when it's "just" a Christmas card, not so much if you are waiting on something important!
That's an extreme example, but mail typically takes weeks to a month or two to arrive. So arrange to receive anything important in a more reliable way.
It's easy to set up the Ezone freight-forwarding system. Just go to the Anguilla Post Office. They'll help you out.
P.S. Mailing OUT, from Anguilla, is faster and more reliable. Just mail as you would normally. Just drop off your mail at the Post Office (there are no mail boxes).5) About driving in Anguilla...
We drive on "the British side." Many folks seem to fear this, but it's actually very easy to get used to. Start out carefully, that's all. You'll have the hang of it within a day or two.
The only tricky part is what to do when you come to roundabouts. We memorized a simple rule...
"Give on the right, take on the left."
That means that traffic that is coming toward you from the right
has the right-of-way. If you would slow them down by continuing through the roundabout, stop and let them go first.
When traffic comes toward you from the left, you
have the right of way. Proceed while keeping an eye on that traffic, just to make 100% sure that they do yield to you.
Remember "give on the right and take on the left" - you'll be fine.
It's a shame that some tourists choose not to explore Anguilla due to this. It's so easy to get the hang of, you'll be a "local" within a day or two. Heck, it's actually trickier to cross the street than it is to drive. (Remember to look "the other way" first!).
On a sidenote, I find it much harder to develop the habit of looking the correct way when crossing a street as a pedestrian in London. I have almost been hit by cars while trying to cross a street in "British-side"-driving countries, especially by taxis in London, who seem to take aim! ;-)
That's not an issue here, of course, since there aren't many streets and intersections that you'll actually walk along. Also there is not a lot of traffic and folks generally drive slowly.
My point? It's easier and safer to get used to driving "on the other side" than it is to walk! :-)
That said, "driving British" with a "British-drive" car makes it even easier, for 2 reasons...
i) you can see oncoming traffic more easily
ii) the "symmetrical" set up makes driving on the left more intuitive. You line yourself up with the center line, the same way you do when you drive at home.
It takes a little while to stop turning on the windshield wipers when you want to indicate that you are making a turn. That's kind of embarrassing, but not as embarrassing as getting into the wrong side of your car while others are watching! I used to pretend I was looking for something, then casually walk around to the side with the steering wheel.
When we first came to Anguilla, there were few "British-side" cars. Now, though, people tend to buy used cars online (ex., japanesevehicles.com), from Japan, at reasonable prices. The Japanese generally take good care of their cars, and the online vendors want happy customers. I don't know of anyone who has received a "lemon."
I recommend, though, that you first try to purchase a used car locally. It is quicker and cheaper, and you can get a local mechanic to inspect before purchasing. But if you can't find what you want, purchasing through one of the online Japanese vendors works well.
If you don't mind that it's a little more difficult to drive in Anguilla with an "American-side" car, check out shipping costs for your SUV. There are also import duties (check with Eustella).
It generally makes more sense financially to sell the car and buy one when you arrive. That is what we did (also because we did not have an SUV, which I do recommend since there are still many dirt roads and some paved roads are not in the best shape).Bottom line?
It's not "easy" to move to any country. The help of a lawyer from your country and from Anguilla is a must.
Once you are here, the Internet has made purchasing products that you can't find here (or in St. Martin/Maarten) easy.
And "driving British" is much easier than some folks tend to worry about. It will usually make more sense to sell your car locally and then buy an SUV once you arrive here.