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Old 07-10-2011, 06:56   #1
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How to Return to the USA

this is gonna sound soooo stupid...but we don't really know the formalities to go thru to get back into the USA after being gone on the boat 7 years. We didn't check when we left...we just wanted to get gone!!!

We hope to sail right into Jacksonville Florida down the St Johns...don't even know if that's ok but it's sorta home...from the Med...if the Atlantic winds are kind. Easiest place I know to get into the east coast. If we fly home a year. Is there something we can do to ease the process a bit early like fill out forms and all? We can't even remember Florida as far as entry to the ICW and I grew up there...maybe we better get some charts out...we may need something further south...I remember the wind often coming from the north in the winter.

I know to dump anything organic way out to sea safely and eat up the fresh stuff....and to be real honest and to drink up the tasty stuff in the Med. I know the USA likes to burn the trash...I almost got fined for not letting them do that in Puerto Rico. I really don't want to bother with the Bahamas or the Caribbean...been there, done that...got way too many teeshirts...and they are all still NEW and unworn!!!

I just wonder who I should email that I am on my way home finally. We are honest and only have a few token keepsakes...well a whole bunch of small cheap things but no one would care but us...nothing valuable to the USA.

any advice??? At least it's not last minute as we usually do things!!! We plan to leave next year, this time...
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Old 07-10-2011, 07:10   #2
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Re: How to return to the USA

Contact ➥ Service Port - Area Port of Jacksonville
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Old 07-10-2011, 07:19   #3
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Re: How to Return to the USA

That doesn't give me much of an idea what to expect when coming back to the us. I have no way to contact them from Sicily. There was no email. I was hoping there was someone who had done this and could tell me what to expect. I can , of course call them if I go to the US before returning, in preparation. I could call on the radio as I approach as usual but I was hoping for a bit of a picture of what the procedure is for a US citizen. Perhaps it's just no big thing and no preparation is involved.
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Old 07-10-2011, 07:38   #4
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Old 07-10-2011, 07:54   #5
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Re: How to Return to the USA

just come home and fill out customs and imigration declaration..some times they grill ya a little sometime they dont..no big deal if you are honest...DVC
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Old 07-10-2011, 08:00   #6
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Re: How to Return to the USA

Yeah, it should be pretty simple, Lynn. Here are a couple of more specific links that reference pleasure boat/small vessel reporting requirements. You do need to go directly to an official Port of Entry, and contact the local CBP office immediately after anchoring or taking a slip in a marina. I got fussed at in St John for taking a shower before reporting in.

Pleasure Boat Reporting Requirements - CBP.gov

Small Vessel Reporting System (SVRS) - CBP.gov

When we were cruising outside the country, there was a requirement to have a Customs decal, which could be ordered online for $27.50. Don't know if it's still available. If you have one there's a "chance" that CBP won't require you to report to their office in person.
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Old 07-10-2011, 08:19   #7
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Re: How to Return to the USA

Operators of small pleasure vessels arriving in the United States from a foreign port or place are required to report their arrival to CBP immediately.

Small Vessel Reporting System (SVRS) enables boaters to report quickly and easily to CBP their arrival from foreign waters. It is a free, easy-to-use, voluntary program that you enroll for online.

Goto SVRS ➥
https://svrs.cbp.dhs.gov/
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Old 07-10-2011, 09:08   #8
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Re: How to Return to the USA

That's just what I need and I made a file...that's so much...the second file doesn't work on an Apple so I will try it when I have my Net book up and running....I will keep the info...I had a decal for reentering on the boat but it fell off in about a year...guess most folks come back sooner!!!
After reading this government stuff I notice that it is about as clear as the tax brochure , the last time I did those!
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Old 07-10-2011, 09:20   #9
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Re: How to Return to the USA

BE prepared for culture shock!
Visit a Imigration and Custom office within 24 hours.

The first thing I had to do was buy a cell phone.
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Old 07-10-2011, 09:29   #10
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Re: How to Return to the USA

I don't think you get 24 hours, John. I was told in no uncertain terms that my taking 30 minutes to shower and shave after an overnight passage to the USVI was not appropriate. The agent said I was required to report "immediately".

Lynn, if you get a new decal issued via the website, just record the number and give that to CBP when you call in. You really don't need the physical decal.
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Old 07-10-2011, 09:33   #11
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Re: How to Return to the USA

You will probably want to take the southern route across the Atlantic and check in in St John USVI. Get a customs decal before you go, and sign up for the local boaters option (free) when you arrive. If you sail directly from Puerto Rico to Florida, you don't need to check in when you arrive. However, you do need to call customs in Puerto Rico if you arrive from the USVI, as they have their own rules.

The customs guys in the USVI are more relaxed about food, because they are surrounded by other countries. The customs guys in Florida don't have enough to do.
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Old 07-10-2011, 10:20   #12
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Re: How to Return to the USA

Gee, guys. I only gave my experiences after calling the Customs Office at Palm Beach. I'd walked from Lake Worth to the Weat Marine in West Palm Beach the day after I arrived and used their phone as I didn't have a phone and there are no pay phones in Palm Beach. I took a taxi to the airport and was treated with respect and a speedy check-in process.

Yes, I checked in and out in both USVI and PR. Yes I had a cruising decal with number.

BTW - ALWAYS tell Customs and Immigration for every country you enter that you arrived at dusk a stayed on your boat. ALWAY, when you depart, tell them you'll be departing as soon as you get back to your boat.
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Old 07-10-2011, 11:09   #13
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Re: How to Return to the USA

I am putting all this stuff in my file for my captain to arrange...I just gather the info...he does the work. I have only dealt with officials once when he was in the hospital with "supposedly" dengue fever and we were on our last day on our Malaysia visa and they wanted me to leave with out him and I broke down in tears. They gave in!

I need to ask on another forum but I hope it's possible to skip right to the US if we have the right winds...someone told us it could be done..it's like the horse and the barn...I'll be ready for home once I head there... but I liked PR and USVI but did not like the Bahamas at all. Actually, I am fed up with islands in general...one more palm tree and I'm gonna choke!!!
thanks a bunch
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Old 07-10-2011, 12:30   #14
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Re: How to Return to the USA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lexxy View Post
...one more palm tree and I'm gonna choke!!!
You do remember that we have palm trees in Florida, don't you? Maybe you would prefer to sail into Norfolk, VA, or at least someplace further north than Jax.
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Old 08-10-2011, 04:25   #15
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Re: How to Return to the USA

ooops...I forgot...we have to come to Florida even tho I swore I would never live in a hot place again after living near the equator for so long...I want seasons!

We are registered there and never paid sales tax and are afraid if we go someplace else we may have to pay them. It was all legit in Fla. It's a good enuf place to try and sell and our stuff we kept is in storage there...we don't even remember what it is and I am sure it's covered with mildew and invaded by roaches but that's life in Florida!
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