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Old 16-03-2012, 13:27   #1
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Documentation to Leave US Sailing

I would like to leave US sailing towards the Bahamas and Caribbean and have found different information on the legal requirements for the foreign ports.

I am Brazilian and got into US four weeks ago, with a tourist visa valid until August. I bought a sailing vessel in Florida and registered it there (the documents of the boat are now in my name).

1) How do I check out of US and record my departure in my passport?

2) Do I need to clear the vessel, even if it has an American flag? (do I need a document saying that I am taking the boat out of US?).

Any knowledge/experience on the subject would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 16-03-2012, 14:21   #2
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Re: Documentation to leave US sailing

Depends. We had to go to an international airport once to clear-in with Homeland Security (we were in Baltimore and all crew had to be taken to BWI - luckily we had a car); you may need to do that to clear out. Clearing the vessal in was separate with the Coast Guard. You may need to do both to clear out. U S. citizens do not need to clear-out but must now clear-in. Call the local Coast Guard for instructions.
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Old 16-03-2012, 15:21   #3
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Re: Documentation to leave US sailing

This page on noonsite is a good start to what you (and the boat) have to do: Noonsite: USA

It's best to call to find out your closest Port of Entry (the phone numbers are in the second paragraph of that page) and then call/visit that Port of Entry to find out the exact procedure.
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Old 16-03-2012, 15:47   #4
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Re: Documentation to leave US sailing

He's wondering what the requirements are leaving the USA, not on entering. He's already here. U.S. yachts and citizens do not need to clear out of the U.S.A.--we just leave. Some countries require you to show your clearance papers from the previous country, but as far as I know the Bahamas and Mexico do not--at least they have never asked me for anything like that. However, it is probably different for you as you are not a USA citizen, and I expect you have to at least check out of the country before your entry permit is up or they will eventually start looking for you. I think you should call the Customs and Immigration people and ask them so that you don't get into trouble.
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Old 16-03-2012, 17:55   #5
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Re: Documentation to leave US sailing

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Originally Posted by Alexandre.S View Post
2) Do I need to clear the vessel, even if it has an American flag? (do I need a document saying that I am taking the boat out of US?).
Just asking, can the boat remain US flaged as he is not American?
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Old 17-03-2012, 02:03   #6
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Is it a documented vessel?
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Old 17-03-2012, 02:24   #7
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Re: Documentation to leave US sailing

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Originally Posted by Kettlewell View Post
He's wondering what the requirements are leaving the USA, not on entering. He's already here. U.S. yachts and citizens do not need to clear out of the U.S.A.--we just leave. Some countries require you to show your clearance papers from the previous country, but as far as I know the Bahamas and Mexico do not--at least they have never asked me for anything like that. However, it is probably different for you as you are not a USA citizen, and I expect you have to at least check out of the country before your entry permit is up or they will eventually start looking for you. I think you should call the Customs and Immigration people and ask them so that you don't get into trouble.
My idea was that he could call Port of Entry and ask for clearance procedure (and contact info for Customs and Immigration in his area) as these guys know entry and exit from the country.

Whenever we enter US, Port of Entry advises us on exit procedures as well.
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Old 19-03-2012, 11:39   #8
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Re: Documentation to leave US sailing

Yes. I researched it extensively before the purchase. I transferred the boat to my name and registered it in Florida.

I don't need to be American or even a resident to have a US registered boat. All is needed is an address in US, to receive the documents. Since my father-in-law lives in Florida, I used his address, paid all the taxes and the boat is legally registered in US, having a non-resident owner.

If foreigners can buy houses in US and keep on living abroad, it would be very strange if they couldn't buy boats and leave them there...

Thanks a lot for all the replies.
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Old 19-03-2012, 12:24   #9
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Re: Documentation to Leave US Sailing

Important to understand the difference between federal USCG documented vessel vs state registered. In this case the owner said FL registered which is not an issue for non US citizens. USCG documented would not be allowed.

There might be an issue is some countries with a boat that is only state registered. You may want to investigate that point.

As far as leaving, you just need to call US Customs and Immigration office nearest you. They will either come to your boat to clear you out or, more likely, require you to come to their offices with all passengers and documentation. For the Bahamas not an issue but other countries may want to see a Zarpe (document showing clearance out from the last port of call). You should make sure to request this from US and the Bahamas.
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Old 19-03-2012, 12:26   #10
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Re: Documentation to Leave US Sailing

You can ask for and recieve a Exit clearence paper, if ya go to ISL M near Cancun ya better have a exit paper!! just a hint
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Old 19-03-2012, 13:27   #11
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Re: Documentation to leave US sailing

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Originally Posted by justwaiting View Post
Just asking, can the boat remain US flaged as he is not American?
No foreign ownership of US Documented vessels. Same for most State registrations. One loophole: You can have a foreign owned Delaware Corp and it can own the boat. With all the increases security since 9-11, I'm surprised the Feds have no forced Delaware to close this loophole, but I think it is still there.
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Old 19-03-2012, 13:43   #12
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Re: Documentation to leave US sailing

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No foreign ownership of US Documented vessels. Same for most State registrations. One loophole: You can have a foreign owned Delaware Corp and it can own the boat. With all the increases security since 9-11, I'm surprised the Feds have no forced Delaware to close this loophole, but I think it is still there.
Not the case in FL last time I checked. They don't care if you're from Mars as long as you give them money for the registration.
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Old 19-03-2012, 14:10   #13
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Re: Documentation to leave US sailing

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Not the case in FL last time I checked. They don't care if you're from Mars as long as you give them money for the registration.
Maybe loop holes in other State's too. I see a lot of Delaware registered foreign owned vessels.
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Old 19-03-2012, 14:52   #14
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Re: Documentation to leave US sailing

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Originally Posted by Kettlewell View Post
U.S. yachts and citizens do not need to clear out of the U.S.A.--we just leave.
I'm sure that is a "loophole" that will be closed sooner or later - can never be too "safe" .


Quote:
] However, it is probably different for you as you are not a USA citizen, and I expect you have to at least check out of the country before your entry permit is up or they will eventually start looking for you. I think you should call the Customs and Immigration people and ask them so that you don't get into trouble.
I dunno about the US eventually starting to look for OP, but my concern would be if he ever returned to the US (by boat or by plane) and the computer said he had never left!......low level officialdom (everywhere) not known for thinking beyond "the rules", as explained to them - anything different being suspicious. And with the US having a tendency to impose forced baptisms on furriners perhaps wise for OP not to appear "suspicious" when within there reach......

Personally I would say this is one to get info from the horses mouth (?), and make damned sure yer get yer passport stamped "bye bye and have a nice day" .
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