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Know the Laws: U.S. Virgin Islands

UPDATED November 23, 2016

Enforcing your Out-Of-State Order in the U.S. Virgin Islands

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If you are planning to move to the U.S. Virgin Islands or are going to be in the U.S. Virgin Islands for any reason, your protection or restraining order can be enforced.

General Rules for Out-of-State orders in the U.S. Virgin Islands

back to topCan I get my restraining order enforced in the U.S. Virgin Islands? What are the requirements?

Yes. Your restraining order can be enforced in the U.S. Virgin Islands as long as:

  • It was issued to prevent violent or threatening acts, harassing behavior, sexual violence, or it was issued to prevent another person from coming near you or contacting you;*
  • The court that issued the order had jurisdiction over the people and case. (In other words, the court had the authority to hear the case;) and
  • The abuser received notice of the order and had an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story.
    • In the case of ex parte temporary and emergency orders, the abuser must receive notice and have an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story at a hearing that is scheduled before the temporary order expires.**
Note: For information on enforcing a military protective order (MPO) off the military installation, or enforcing a civil protection order (CPO) on a military installation, please see our Military Protective Orders page.

* 18 U.S.C. § 2266(5)
** 18 U.S.C. § 2265(a), (b)

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back to topCan I have my out-of-state restraining order changed, extended, or canceled in the U.S. Virgin Islands?

No.  Only the state that issued your restraining order can change, extend, or cancel the order.  You cannot have this done by a court in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

To have your order changed, extended, or canceled, you will have to file a motion or petition in the court where the order was issued.  To find out more information about how to modify a restraining order, see the Restraining Orders page for the state where your order was issued.

If your order does expire while you are living in the U.S. Virgin Islands, you may be able to get a new one issued in the U.S. Virgin Islands but this may be difficult to do if no new incidents of abuse have occurred in the U.S. Virgin Islands.  To find out more information on how to get a domestic violence restraining order in the U.S. Virgin Islands, visit our VI Restraining Orders page.

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back to topI was granted temporary custody with my restraining order. Will I still have temporary custody of my children in the U.S. Virgin Islands?

Yes.  As long as the child custody provision complies with certain federal laws,* the U.S. Virgin Islands can enforce a temporary custody order that is a part of a protection order.

To have someone read over your order and tell you if it meets these standards, contact a lawyer in your area.  To find a lawyer in your area click here VI Finding a Lawyer.

* The federal laws are the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA) or the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), and the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act of 1980.

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Registering your Out-of-State order in the U.S. Virgin Islands

back to topWhat is the National Crime Information Center Registry? Who has access to it?

The National Crime Information Center Registry (NCIC) is a nationwide, electronic database that contains information about protection orders and is used by law enforcement agencies in the U.S, Canada, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam. It is managed by the FBI and state law enforcement officials.*

All law enforcement officials have access to it, but the information is encrypted so outsiders cannot access it.

* The National Crime Information Center website.

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back to topHow do I register my restraining order in the U.S. Virgin Islands?

You can file (register) your protection order in the U.S. Virgin Islands by giving a certified copy of your order to the clerk of Superior Court or to the Attorney General’s office and ask that it be registered with the clerk of the Superior Court.*  Additionally, the law says that you need to also file an affidavit that says that to the best of your knowledge, the order is still in effect.**

If you need help registering your restraining order, you can contact a local domestic violence organization in the U.S. Virgin Islands for assistance.  You can find contact information for organizations in your area here on our VI State and Local Programs page.

* VI ST T. 5 § 585(a)
** VI ST T. 5 § 585(d)

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back to topDo I have to register my restraining order in the U.S. Virgin Islands in order to get it enforced?

No.  The U.S. Virgin Islands’ law gives full protection to an out-of-state restraining order as long as you can show the officer a copy of the order and can truthfully tell the officer that you believe the order is still in effect.  The police officer does need to believe that it is a valid (real) order.*

* VI ST T. 5 § 583(b)

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back to topWill the abuser be notified if I register my restraining order?

Under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which applies to all U.S. states and territories, the court is not permitted to notify the abuser when a protective order has been registered or filed in a new state unless you specifically request that the abuser be notified.*  However, you may wish to confirm that the clerk is aware of this law before registering the order if your address is confidential.

However, remember that there may be a possibility that the abuser could somehow find out what state you have moved to.  It is important to continue to safety plan, even if you are no longer in the state where the abuser is living.  We have some safety planning tips to get you started on our Staying Safe page.  You can also contact a local domestic violence organization to get help in developing a personalized safety plan.  You will find contact information for organizations in your area on our VI State and Local Programs page.

* 18 USC § 2265(d)

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back to topWhat if I don't register my restraining order? Will it be more difficult to have it enforced?

Neither federal law nor state law requires that you register your restraining order in order to get have it enforced.  If your order is not entered into the state registry, the U.S. Virgin Islands’ law enforcement should still enforce your order if it:

  • identifies the protected individual and the respondent;
  • is currently in effect;
  • was issued by a court that had jurisdiction (power) to issue the order; and
  • was issued after the respondent was given adequate notice and opportunity to be heard in reasonable time.*
If you are unsure about whether registering your order is the right decision for you, you may want to contact a local domestic violence organization in your area.  An advocate there may be able to help you decide what the safest plan of action is for you in the U.S. Virgin Islands.  To see a list of local domestic violence organizations in the U.S. Virgin Islands, go to our VI State and Local Programs page.

* VI ST T. 5 § 583(d)

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back to topDoes it cost anything to register my restraining order?

No. There is no fee for filing your restraining order in the U.S. Virgin Islands.*

* VT ST T. 5 § 585(f)

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