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Old 21-05-2009, 13:48   #106
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Originally Posted by slomotion View Post
I have no idea what kind of paperwork Cuba requires of American visitors. But, if you are an American and want to sail to Cuba, make sure you understand and have whatever that paperwork is. If you do not have the necessary paper work, try not to seek safe harbor or accidentally wind up there:

Sailing Adventure Lands Citrus County Couple In Cuba Jail

In this case, "necessary paperwork" was passports. I think there are few countries in the world where you will not go to jail, if you are caught wandering around having entered without clearing immigration and without even having any passport. One might hope to get a break for being, essentially, shipwrecked, but I think one would be well advised to call the authorities and explain the situation, and ask for that break, before they find you themselves.

I'm not defending the Cuban regime, which in my opinion is a nasty one which has inflicted untold unjustice and suffering on Cubans. But this story is not really a sign of that nastiness.

I was once arrested in Germany for attempting to enter from Austria without a visa. What, you say? Germany doesn't require visas from Americans. Ah, but that's only American tourists on short visits. I was living in Germany and studying there. For that, you have to have a student visa and a residence permit, and you have to register at the police station nearest to your home. To get the residence permit, you have to go through medical examinations, criminal background checks, and all kinds of bureaucratic crap. You have to stand in various lines for like two weeks, and I simply hadn't gotten around to it.

I didn't have to spend a night in jail, but I was lucky -- the university where I studied happened to be open, I was able to call them, and they intervened on my behalf. I was released only after signing an official document swearing to leave the country in two weeks if I didn't get the proper visa by then. If this had happened on the weekend, I would definitely have spent a couple of nights in jail.

Moral of the story: whether it's Cuba, or a nice country like Germany, don't mess around with immigration procedures, and for God's sake don't go out on the high seas on an international cruise without your passport.
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Old 21-05-2009, 14:34   #107
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I hear ya, Dockhead. And not to blame the victims, because I think these people were treated outrageously, but their plan seems questionable:

"They set sail from Key West in their 38-foot (12-meter) sailboat for a weeklong, pre-holiday trip around the Caribbean. The plan was to circle Grand Cayman island and Jamaica, then head home. The couple had plenty of food, warm clothes, even a laptop."

The idea that you can sail a 38' sailboat in December from Key West, through the Windward Passage, around Grand Cayman and Jamaica, and back in a week is, well.......... And to attempt to do so without bringing your passports is, well............

OTOH, in May of 2008 I was able to enter Mexico, Grand Cayman, and Jamaica without a passport. That trip took 7 days on an 800', 25 kt/hr, cruise ship out of Miami. I do not believe that most Caribbean island countries require Americans to have a passport. I doubt that any other than Cuba would jail you and dismantle your boat if you were shipwrecked without one on one of their beaches. However, you would be foolish not to have one, and the U.S. may require you to have one to get back in.
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Old 21-05-2009, 19:30   #108
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Quote:
I have no idea what kind of paperwork Cuba requires of American visitors.
No more than any other country. The Cubans don't have the problem. I know many US citizens that have been there. Several flew via airlines from Canada and several cruised there indirectly. While there are serious political issues with Cuba and the US it is not about people arriving there. For boats the customs issues seem a bit laborious checking both in and out. It's a place where you can expect to be searched. It's also not a place where you can conduct political activities either.

I see it as a place where you check your political ideals at the immigrations point. One boat, in one country is not about making a difference. It helps to understand that as you travel. As Frank notes above we really are not going to entertain political discussions on Cruisers Forum. In that context, it is just another port along the road. We will lock down threads that desire to go that direction. We can't do everything well here. We can tolerate the concept that we don't handle politics well here.
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Old 21-05-2009, 21:02   #109
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Old 22-12-2011, 15:52   #110
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Re: Thinking Cuba ? Think Again !

Any updates on this now that Obama is basically in a non-enforcement stance on the Cuba policy?
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Old 22-12-2011, 19:37   #111
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Re: Thinking Cuba ? Think Again !

After watch Anderson Cooper dive off the coast of Cuba last week, it is pretty amazing.

The US needs to start opening up the communication and limited tourism and trade. All the Bay of Pigs and missle crisis stuff happened ~18 years before I was born.
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Old 30-01-2015, 08:41   #112
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Re: Thinking Cuba ? Think Again !

Kicking this thread alive again!

Being a EU citizen and wanting to to visit Cuba and the US, I know you should not sail directly from Cuba to a US port. What are the implications if turning up in the US with a Cuban stamp in your passport although having a stamp with a date later from for instance, The Bahamas ?
Would there be any problems with the US Customs ?
I have a B2 Visa for the US.
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Old 30-01-2015, 11:24   #113
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Re: Thinking Cuba ? Think Again !

The Cubans don't stamp your passport. US customs is getting very relaxed about returning from Cuba. Last May my buddy who is British with a B2 US visa and myself, Canadian, returned from Cuba and checked in at Fort Myers and there was absolutely no problem, they were even nice.

Compare that to a few years ago when I returned from Cuba with a US buddy and they freaked out in Key West. Threatened to throw us in jail and seize the boat. In the end they took away my US cruising permit, which I consider a blessing.

Think the best policy now is to be honest, soon they will be overwhelmed with cruisers coming from Cuba now that Obama is normalizing relationships with Cuba. About time, they have suffered enough.
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Old 30-01-2015, 14:21   #114
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Re: Thinking Cuba ? Think Again !

Quote:
Originally Posted by hasse_A View Post
...I know you should not sail directly from Cuba to a US port.
Why not? As long as you are not a U.S. citizen, it is perfectly legal. Yes, in years past they tended to give your boat a thorough going-over in these cases, and wanted to be certain that you were not bringing any Cuban goods to the U.S. that you might try to sell or trade.

Nowadays? They might want to look over your boat, but if you don't have several cases of Cuban cigars or rum on board, you are not likely to raise any eyebrows.
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Old 31-01-2015, 07:10   #115
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Re: Thinking Cuba ? Think Again !

Quote:
Originally Posted by phiggins View Post
The Cubans don't stamp your passport. US customs is getting very relaxed about returning from Cuba. Last May my buddy who is British with a B2 US visa and myself, Canadian, returned from Cuba and checked in at Fort Myers and there was absolutely no problem, they were even nice.
That isn't quite true. They typically don't stamp a U.S. passport, but will give you a small slip of paper to slide into your passport while you are there. BUT for non U.S. visitors, they typically will stamp the passport. I'm sure if you ask, they will give you the slip of paper, but just be aware. Once the passport is stamped, it can't be altered. Re-entering in the Florida Keys will certainly be problematic. We have found the Customs agents in the Keys some of the most unprofessional we have encountered anywhere and when it come to Cuba, they are militant. According to the strict interpretation of the current U.S. laws, any foreign flagged vessel that visits Cuba can not re-enter the U.S. for 6 months. In the Keys, you will be held to those standards and refused entry into the country. If you go to Mexico or the Bahamas, you might be OK. But if Homeland Security asks if you have been to Cuba, keep in mind it is a Federal offense and a felony to lie when clearing in to the U.S. Chuck
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Old 31-01-2015, 07:19   #116
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Re: Thinking Cuba ? Think Again !

Thanks Chuck!
This will give me some fire power when it comes to getting a duplicate passport.
The authorities here has been somewhat reluctant to give me one.
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Old 31-01-2015, 07:38   #117
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Re: Thinking Cuba ? Think Again !

This apparently still depends a lot on the individual customs agent who checks you in. In two recent trips to Cuba ( US flagged vessel with a NZ passport) we had no trouble at all but the folks we talked to returning from Cuba to Ft Myers had a variety of experiences no matter what passport they had. Some had no trouble and others were grilled for hours. Ft Myers isn't Key West of course, but I suspect it is much the same. All this should be changing very quickly, but bureaucracy being what it is, maybe not.
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