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Old 11-08-2012, 04:48   #1
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Experience With Customs ???

Hi Crewmembers and Crewseekers,
I posted this question in 'red-tape' but get no replies;
what do I need, can I expect from US customs if I cross the border to the US
to join a boat as non-paid crew ???
You see I am european, have an ESTA travel permission, which requires a visiting adress, but maybe also a return ticket !!! since this trip is a one-way
trip south i'll be coming on a one way ticket, or maybe even cross the border by bus from Canada,,,,,,
anyone have any experience in this field, ideas ?
REPLIES NEEDED URGENT DUE TO QUICK DEPARTURE
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Old 11-08-2012, 04:55   #2
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Re: EXPERIENCE WITH CUSTOMS ???

I have a friend who commonly meets crew in foreign ports and he sends the crew member a letter specifying the terms of employment (for lack of a better word), the port of departure, specifics of destination and duration and certified copies of the ships papers signed by the Captain and notarized. So far none of his crew members have encountered problems.
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Old 11-08-2012, 05:06   #3
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Re: EXPERIENCE WITH CUSTOMS ???

most definite thanks for the reply,
this I already knew, even contacted US.Ambassy to see if pre-printed doc's
existed as to fill in all they need to know,
won't even tell you how they reacted.....
so if you have any more info off, what exatly they need to know that would be grand, thanks
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Old 11-08-2012, 10:01   #4
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Re: EXPERIENCE WITH CUSTOMS ???

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Originally Posted by Jentine View Post
I have a friend who commonly meets crew in foreign ports and he sends the crew member a letter specifying the terms of employment ...
Careful with the term "employment" -- US Immigration will likely put you right back on the plane if this word comes up. Had a friend use the "E" word with a friendly, chatty, and cute immigration officer once...she was just setting him up...straight back home he went.

Also, the US and many other countries may want to see proof of onward travel in the form of a commercially purchased ticket (not just a letter from the boat owner). Enforcement of this is inconsistent in the US (at least in the past) and other venues, but it still comes up from time to time.
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Old 11-08-2012, 10:38   #5
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Re: EXPERIENCE WITH CUSTOMS ???

this is a non payed journey from US port to non US port caribean, with a non known arrival time, how can you have a forwarding flight, doesn't cash show the possibility off such, but I rather find other boat continuing and then head back europe in the hurricane season, you'll see my research,
thanks
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Old 11-08-2012, 11:35   #6
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Re: EXPERIENCE WITH CUSTOMS ???

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Originally Posted by laforge24 View Post
this is a non payed journey from US port to non US port caribean, with a non known arrival time, how can you have a forwarding flight, doesn't cash show the possibility off such, but I rather find other boat continuing and then head back europe in the hurricane season, you'll see my research,
thanks
In my experience, you can sometimes talk your way through this issue and sometimes not. Sometimes the officials don't even ask. Sometimes they won't budge. Just depends upon their mood that day I suppose. I've even had to book a cheap ticket before and just eat it.

Recently, I had an accommodating airline employee make a reservation for me, print the ticket, and cancel the reservation to deal with exactly this issue (not a major USA airline obviously)...some things are easier in developing countries.
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Old 11-08-2012, 11:53   #7
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Re: EXPERIENCE WITH CUSTOMS ???

being able to talk oneself through and it depending on his mood is most disturbing,
bying a return ticket I had thought of myself, this would triple costs and we only get flightcosts back and not taxes( which in most cases are higher then former)
I love customs, should just learn to look innocent!
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Old 11-08-2012, 13:07   #8
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Re: EXPERIENCE WITH CUSTOMS ???

There are two intermingling issues here.

If you fly into the US under the visa waiver program (for which EU citizens are eligible) the airline accepts corporate responsibility for repatriating you if you misbehave. The AIRLINE wants to be sure you have plans for onward travel. A round-trip ticket or an onward ticket on another airline sets their minds at ease. If you have a copy of a private yacht document, cruising permit (if applicable), and a letter from skipper or owner you may have to escalate to a supervisor but you will get through.

US C&I are generally easier to get along with than the airlines.

Flying in and sailing out is usually pretty easy if you have appropriate documentation.

Sailing in and flying out is a real pain as even Europeans need a B1/B2 visa to enter the US. The visa waiver program only covers scheduled commercial transport.
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Old 11-08-2012, 13:31   #9
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Re: EXPERIENCE WITH CUSTOMS ???

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being able to talk oneself through and it depending on his mood is most disturbing...
Just business as usual in many parts of the world, BUT NOT THE USA -- officials have no sense of humor there.

Nor, typically do airline staff either as pointed out by Auspicious.
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Old 11-08-2012, 13:58   #10
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Re: EXPERIENCE WITH CUSTOMS ???

get a return airticket or a b1b2 visa if the boat is stopping in puerto rico or the usvi,with an esta visa it is very unlikely they will let you board flying out of europe wthout an onward ticket.
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Old 11-08-2012, 15:47   #11
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Re: EXPERIENCE WITH CUSTOMS ???

We purchased a full fare fully refundable ticket. Everyone was happy. Returned ticket for refund.
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Old 12-08-2012, 13:08   #12
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Re: Experience With Customs ???

The trip has been cancelled/postponed,
thanks for your help all
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Old 12-08-2012, 14:38   #13
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Re: Experience With Customs ???

Hi this is the forum " Crew Wanted" thats all its about here,
Thank you,
Jeremy
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