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Old 01-03-2015, 11:41   #1
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Visa while sailing

I have a Question about the visa status when sailing. What are the requirements when you sail in to a country verses flying. Are they the same requirements? What’s the cost of a visa? Or let’s say it like this: my family and I are sailing around the EU and a last minute decision to go into a port/country that requires a vise and we were not aware of this what would be the first protocol for getting one and would there be any repercussion? I know this is all hypothetical, but I would like to know. Do you have to call ahead to get a visa or can you just show up in a sailboat and customs will give you one?
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Old 01-03-2015, 11:47   #2
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Re: Visa while sailing

The visa requirements when entering a country via sailboat or when flying in by commercial carrier are usually the same. The only exception I know of where the situation is different is when entering the United States of America by boat. There is a VWP (Visa Waiver Program) in effect for many nations when flying into the US, this includes the EU countries. But when coming in via sailboat there is no visa waiver and all non-US nationals must have at least a tourist visa in order to enter the USA by boat.


Each country has different visa requirements, which can also vary depending upon the passport holder's country. The best place to check up on requirements for sailing is www.noonsite.com and it is important to know the entry requirements before entering foreign waters since ignorance of the law is no excuse.
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Old 01-03-2015, 12:12   #3
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Re: Visa while sailing

You may be OK in the EU, but do not try this trick in the US nor in Australia. There you may/will get cuffed, fined and deported.

Whenever your boat has a main technical problem (or a health problem onboard) and the country is give or take civilised, you can always sail in and request some harbour time for emergency stay. Mind not all countries have signed this convention.

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Old 01-03-2015, 13:24   #4
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Re: Visa while sailing

Ok thanks, I have been wondering about this for some time.
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Old 01-03-2015, 13:56   #5
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Re: Visa while sailing

Go to Noonsite.com — Noonsite, click on the country you are interested in visiting and read what is said under "Clearance" to get a feel for what needs to be done.

Later,
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Old 02-03-2015, 00:37   #6
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Re: Visa while sailing

Turkey is one that requires you to get a visa in advance:
Turkey: From April no more visas on arrival — Noonsite
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Old 02-03-2015, 02:07   #7
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Re: Visa while sailing

Don't forget there are usually two requirements - The visas for the people and the clearance for teh boat. they are separate issues.

Visas - In general the visa requirements are the same as flying in - i.e. different for all nationalities with exceptions above already being noted.

The boat is a whole different matter and varies by country. Many countries view it as an importation of goods as well as a visiting yacht that may have special clearing in and out. So harbor master and customs get in the picture.
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Old 04-03-2015, 12:09   #8
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Re: Visa while sailing

So what is the boat paper work. I looked at noon site looks like a lot of work just to get in to a country in a sailboat.
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Old 04-03-2015, 12:38   #9
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Re: Visa while sailing

The boat papers are akin to your car papers. Proof of registration to the flag country. In very few countries you will also need proof of insurance. Depending upon the flag country, the boat papers will also include the VHF and HF (is so equipped) station license and often the skipper will need an appropriate radio license. That's it.


I usually spend more time in line for U.S. customs and immigration when arriving by plane than I do clearing into or out of countries by boat, and that includes the dinghy trip and walk to the appropriate offices. I make sure to shower, shave and wear a shirt with a collar when clearing in and most officials I've dealt with have been friendly; I've never had any serious problems.
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Old 04-03-2015, 12:47   #10
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Re: Visa while sailing

Although you can move freely between countries in the EU (provided you are an EU citizen or come from a country that has automatice schengen visas or have an approved schengen visa) that is not quite the case for all EU countries when it come to boats, In Greece for example, you must report to custome and port police for passport checks and boat documentation. You will receive a log book in which you should document your journey by visiting the port police at each port. This actually does not work as thoroughly as that and is currently in a significant state of flux. Each country you visit has its own policies and procedures. When you move out of the EU, the rules change again, but generally speaking , you will need to present yourselves, your crew and your boat for visitor control, documentation and the commencement of a prcess to record your progress around the country's waters. This requirement is also to collect fees and taxes. noonsite gives you some ideas, pilot guides help and some countries have websites that explain it all. Why all this rigmarole? Security and safety. Boats are often used to smuggle people and products into countries. Because of international agreements, countries are obliged to care for you in the event of a boating catastrophe and they like to know that you are in the country and the details of the boat that you are travelling in. They also want some compensation for all of the services they provide to boaters.
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Old 05-03-2015, 07:07   #11
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Re: Visa while sailing

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattnone View Post
So what is the boat paper work. I looked at noon site looks like a lot of work just to get in to a country in a sailboat.
Things vary, wildly.

Some countries you just sail in and the first marina staff will handle everything without you ever knowing.

Some countries you will be sent to visit 5 different offices in 5 different locations with 25 sets of different papers.

In yet another style of country you simply cannot sail in without a prior visa arrangement.

Etc.

EU countries are pretty hassle free.

You must check out every country's procedures and requirements before landing there.

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Old 06-03-2015, 21:23   #12
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Re: Visa while sailing

I would like to thank everyone that has replied. This post has answered the questions I've had and I appreciate all the responses that I have received.
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Old 06-03-2015, 22:54   #13
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Re: Visa while sailing

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Originally Posted by mattnone View Post
So what is the boat paper work. I looked at noon site looks like a lot of work just to get in to a country in a sailboat.
checking in and to a lesser amount, out of a country is just one part of cruising I enjoy. You have serious interaction with inteligent? People from a different culture. Each country is different and given language (I don't speak French) can be amusing and frustrating for both parties. A smile goes a long way.
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Old 07-03-2015, 10:44   #14
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Re: Visa while sailing

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I would like to thank everyone that has replied. This post has answered the questions I've had and I appreciate all the responses that I have received.
If you ever think the check in requirements are a pain for a country, go look at what it takes to check into the good old USA. That kinda puts the check in/out procedures in perspective.

I did this once after looking at some country's regulations. It occurred to me to check out what the US required and it was an eye opener.

Later,
Dan
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Old 07-03-2015, 11:15   #15
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Re: Visa while sailing

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If you ever think the check in requirements are a pain for a country, go look at what it takes to check into the good old USA. That kinda puts the check in/out procedures in perspective.
This only applies to those entering the USA LEGALLY. If you are not legal, the laws seem to be generally not enforced.
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