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Old 13-07-2008, 07:14   #1
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Formalities in the EU

We're currently in the Azores on our way to the Netherlands via France and Belgium (we have a dog on board). We cleared into the EU when we checked in at Horta, starting the 18-month VAT grace period that is so thoroughly discussed in the "Non EU Vessel in an EU Port" thread. My question is about the formalities as we travel from one EU port to another as a non EU boat. I've been studying the information on Noonsite.com and here, and now I'm really confused.

Do we check in at each port or wait for the officials to contact us? Noonsite says for France to report to customs with all documents in hand, in Belgium report to Maritime Police Control and submit a form, and in the Netherlands "all boats arriving from overseas must fly the Q flag and report on arrival and departure" plus fill out a form.

What is the experience of other non EU boats moving from one country to another within the EU?
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Old 14-07-2008, 05:51   #2
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Hello, Shirlee.

We've got a number of members in Europe. Can you help her out, guys?
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Old 14-07-2008, 14:35   #3
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Hi Shirlee,

We are a USA flagged boat and last year cruised from the Netherlands along the coasts of Belgium, France, Spain and Portugal. this year we are continuing east and today we are in the south of France. We cruised much of the Netherlands and never used the Q flag. We only checked into the marinas and only once did customs visit us. We have continued just checking in with the marinas..in some places, like Portugal, customs were next to the marina offices. We have been visited by customs people in the Netherlands, France, Portugal and Spain and again recently in France. Never a problem. A couple have asked about the 18 month rule, but no one has asked for proof that we left the EU (we did go to Morocco last year).

Enjoy the Netherlands...it is a great area to cruise! We loved it.

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If you have more questions, let me know. We are sailing, so often do not have internet acces, so feel free to email me at KI6HLF@winlink.org
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Old 18-07-2008, 10:32   #4
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eu

hi - we shipped our 40' motor yacht from Miami to Malta in 2006 - cruised that summer to Siracusa, across the boot of Italy to Brindisi and over to Dubrovnik - we had to 'temporarily import' her in Malta because she did not arrive on her own bottom and deimport her when we left - was never asked for documentation in any of Italian marinas - we had to pay the annual cruising fee in Dubrovnik for Croatia - we have been in Croatia since then -
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Old 21-07-2008, 03:30   #5
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Shirlee,

There are two issues about arriving and staying in EU countries; the people aspect, and the boat aspect. You've looked into the boat aspect - yes, the boat can cruise within the EU for up to 18 months. Some EU countries will, however, give you limited time stays within their individual country pending payments of fees (Greece, fees payable after each 3 months stay).

The people aspect is different. Your immigration visas on arrival will permit you to stay in a country for (usually) only 90 days. Extensions to visas are possible, sometimes expensive, and sometimes subject to frustrating bureaucracy. It's usually easiest to move on to the next country (get the passport stamp clearing you out of the previous place) and pick up a new visa.

You can obtain a 'Schengen Visa' , which entitles you to move around several - not all - EU countries without clearing in and out of each with immigration. Google Schengen visa to find out more. However, this also is valid for only 90 days, so you'll need to extend - or leave and return later.

Only Portugal and Greece (in the EU) require check in at each port you visit, but this requirement is not rigidly enforced.

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Old 28-07-2008, 12:06   #6
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Thanks, Jim T and JimB. We're now in Cherbourg and checked in with the marina yesterday. They told us where customs and immigration are, and we went there today with our documents. They didn't seem to know what to do with us and didn't speak a lot of English. Eventually, they decided the coast guard would want to check us in, and they're coming to the boat tomorrow afternoon. After this experience and Jim Thomsen's post, I think we'll just do as he did: check in with the marina office and let the officials find us if they want us. We're probably the only US boat here in this huge marina, so we don't have other cruisers to ask here.

We did receive, via SailMail, a copy of Hud3's request for you all to help us. Unfortunately, the forum only sends email for the first response since ones last visit to the discussion. Since we were at sea at the time, we didn't get Jim Thomsen's very helpful reply until just now.
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Old 28-07-2008, 13:12   #7
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Originally Posted by Solstice View Post
We did receive, via SailMail, a copy of Hud3's request for you all to help us. Unfortunately, the forum only sends email for the first response since ones last visit to the discussion. Since we were at sea at the time, we didn't get Jim Thomsen's very helpful reply until just now.
Not sure how much time you have spent back on the forum - just in case you missed this thread which started shortly after (and referenced) "your" thread........

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...tay-17443.html
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Old 28-07-2008, 15:18   #8
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Schengen Visas can be for different time periods. You will need to prove your reasons for being there that you are either intending to stay (which requires even more documentation) or that you are doing a long term tourist trip. You will need to prove the amount of your bank accounts for this and than you should be set. The only countries that I know are not members are Ireland and the Uk and they can be pretty laid back in many places. Thou the UK can be a pain in the back side in other places as well.

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Old 03-08-2008, 12:35   #9
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Shirlee,

the Reeds Nautical Almanach 2008 mentions the following, with some of the content applying to the UK:

"If arriving from another EU country there is no need to fly the "Q" flag, complete any paperwork, or contaxt Customs. You must, however, contact the Customs "Yachtline" on 0845723 1110 if you have goods to declare, or have non-EU nationals on board."

I have no further info on how the other countries treat this.

Good luck and happy cruising
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Old 11-08-2008, 11:40   #10
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Thanks, all, for the additional information. Although it still isn't clear what the proper procedure is for entry to the Netherlands (Q flag, check-in, or no), based on our experience now in France and Belgium, we're following Jim Thomsen's advice: not flying the Q flag and letting them come to us.

Since we will be spending the winter with the Netherlands as our base of operations, I was also interested in the longer-than-90-days-for-people question. Finally, after bouncing around on various official Dutch government websites, I finally found the page with the answer I liked. It's buried somewhere on the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs site, and I don't remember how I got there, but I've saved it in case it disappears. The page is called "When you require a visa," and fortunately for us as US citizens, the answer is basically never. The United States is listed in point 4. Whew!

If we decide we need to feed the cruising kitty while we're there, it's a whole different question, but as long-term idle visitors, we're good.

To those who are being helpful with UK information, that isn't an issue for us. We have a dog. The next bureaucratic hurdle we attempt will be figuring out how to bring her with us when we do the Caledonian Canal next summer. But that's a subject for a different thread on a different part of the discussion board.
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Old 11-08-2008, 11:55   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solstice View Post
... Although it still isn't clear what the proper procedure is for entry to the Netherlands (Q flag, check-in, or no), based on our experience now in France and Belgium, we're following Jim Thomsen's advice: not flying the Q flag and letting them come to us...
According to the Noonsite entry for the Netherlands (Formalities):
"Although a EU country, all boats arriving from overseas must fly the Q flag and report on arrival and departure. This is strictly enforced..."

Goto: Noonsite: Netherlands
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Old 11-08-2008, 13:56   #12
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Thanks, Gord. Although I didn't mention it, I checked noonsite.com before I started this thread. But, you see, we aren't actually arriving from overseas anymore. We did that in the Azores. We'll be arriving in the Netherlands from Belgium, which hasn't effectively been overseas to the Dutch since the Benelux countries first established their treaty when I was a child. Noonsite.com and Jimmy Cornell are the first places I look for information, but not the last. It wasn't an easy question with a straight-forward answer. The Dutch government itself hasn't come up with an answer for me yet, and I've visited three different ministries' websites. Furthermore, noonsite doesn't say where to report arrival and departure (another question I've been trying to have answered), although it does give ports of entry.

The formalities are changing quickly here in the EU. For example, the transit log that noonsite.com says is required for the Azores and Portugal was no longer in use there when we arrived at the end of June 2008. The port captain still had a few but wouldn't give us one and couldn't tell us what would eventually be required. That's why forums like this are so valuable. It's the people out here cruising right now who are most likely to know what is really necessary.

In case anyone else is interested, I'll continue to post to this thread as I find more definitive answers to my original questions.
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Old 30-08-2008, 00:54   #13
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I recall following the guidance in our "pilots" and checking in to the port police when we arrived in France from Spain. After an hour of the staff looking for someone that spool enough
English to tell us what to do we discovered the rules have changed. Seems they took the position that one in the EU you weere in the EU. Just as all the pots of entry on the highways closed sometime in 2002, checking in and out seems a thing of the past except perhaps Greese who seem to be still writing their wond rules. Sweet mysteries of Life.
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Old 30-08-2008, 02:04   #14
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Thanks, jannpage, for posting. It reminded me that I hadn't updated this thread with our additional experiences.

In France after our contact with them previously described, Customs visited us on the boat and did a fairly thorough search. Although they filled out a form for themselves and looked at our documentation, they didn't give us any paperwork or stamp our passports or anything.

In Belgium we didn't bother to notify anyone except the marinas where we stayed.

In the Netherlands we did not fly the Q flag or contact anyone. However, as we were motoring down the North Sea Canal approaching Amsterdam, a Marechaussee boat passed us and waved; we waved back. (We didn't know what Marechaussee was, but they looked official.) Next thing we knew, they had turned around and were catching up with us. They pulled alongside and, in English, asked to examine our passports. They never stopped or boarded us. After looking at our passports, they asked us if we "picked up any luggage in the Caribbean." (I didn't get it, but my husband said they were asking about drugs.) When we said no, they returned our passports (unstamped), and we continued on. From this, I take it that the Q flag is no longer required, even for non-EU boats, after you have cleared into the EU the first time.

By the way, I looked up the Marechaussee later. Although they told us they were Immigration, they seem to be much more than that. They're a part of the military and immigration enforcement is just one of their duties.
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Old 30-08-2008, 05:27   #15
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The reason no one wants to stamp your passort is that no one wants to enforce the 90 day limit in the Schengen countries. We overwintered in Italy, and only once got asked when we had arrived in the EU--on the train leaving Germany. The only places you will likely have problems with your immigration status are Portugal and Greece.
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