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Old 11-02-2012, 00:42   #1
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Thumbs up Immigration San Juan Puerto Rico

Dear All,

we are comming from Germany to San Juan and need to plan our
flight going on to St. Maarten.

I am just wondering wether Immigration takes hours like f.e. New York or so ??

Does anyone has expierence from San Juan ? I understand we must apply
for "Visa" not the complicated one where we have to go on a 5 hours
driving to Berlin.
Generally we do not want to stay there, just fly in and out again
( hopefully there is a flight the same day, otherwise we have to
stay for one night)
Transit area would not work because we need to check in to another
airline.
- Thanks for any information-
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Old 11-02-2012, 02:37   #2
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Re: Immigration San Juan Puerto Rico

I was under the impression that EU member citizens can participate in a Visa Waver Program when arriving to US by an approved air or sea carrier: Visa Waiver Program (VWP)
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Old 11-02-2012, 05:34   #3
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Yes you can use the visa waiver program if arriving by conventional sea or air carrier

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Old 11-02-2012, 09:00   #4
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Re: Immigration San Juan Puerto Rico

Hello lampe,

the time taken for clearing customs & immigration depends on several factors - how many planes come at the same time and from where are the passengers and how many of them show up for how many open booths.
As a German you need no visa if flying into the USA, but you will have to sign in to the ESTA site before travelling. Go to https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/applic...execution=e1s1 to complete that formality.
If you want to sail to the USA (i.e. Puerto Rico, USVI or the mainland) you will need at least a tourist visa and for that you have to complete the forms and then travel to Berlin for an interview.

If you only are transiting the USA for St. Maarten then entry will be no issue. If you are flying from Germany to Puerto Rico directly and don't arrive at the same time as other flights, clearance should be quite fast and no more than one hour.

If you wish, you can PM me in German if you have questions.
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Old 11-02-2012, 09:33   #5
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Re: Immigration San Juan Puerto Rico

Thanks to All for information, that helps.

Of course it depends on how many planes are coming in, but for the US it always takes much longer than anywhere else :-( . Even before 11. September it was no fun at all, sorry to say that, maybe we are too pampered in Europe.

All the other islands in the Caribean where a max. of 30 minutes so far and
there where a few, like Antigua, Martinique, Grenada, Tortola, St. Lucia etc.

Well 1 hour is long, but still o.k.so we can count on getting a flight the same
day out again.
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Old 12-02-2012, 06:31   #6
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Re: Immigration San Juan Puerto Rico

Lampe - I've never been lucky at Antigua, somehow my flight is always the 2nd or 3rd to arrive at the same time and I count myself lucky if I get through there in under an hour.
But it is unfortunately true that running the gauntlet with U.S. Immigration is such a difficult thing. In December I waited over 2 hours because the flight in front of me was from Korea and almost nobody on that flight spoke a word of English and the immigration desks were only lightly staffed. No other country requires a retina scan plus all fingerprints. And for sailing it is very difficult for foreigner to travel around the USA. One needs to get a cruising permit (which isn't so difficult) but then each and every time you move the sailboat you need to call in to CBP to tell them your new location.
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Old 12-02-2012, 06:39   #7
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Lampi, why not fly directly to st martin from Paris? http://www.aircaraibes.com/detail/ru...EUR-TARIF.html
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Old 12-02-2012, 06:55   #8
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Re: Immigration San Juan Puerto Rico

There are direct flight from Amsterdam and Paris every day (despite the French pilot strike).
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Old 12-02-2012, 06:59   #9
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Re: Immigration San Juan Puerto Rico

Even without visa etc. difficulties San Juan airport can take a long time to negotiate. Been through there twice and the length of the lines was amazing.
Just keep smiling.
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Old 13-02-2012, 10:56   #10
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Re: Immigration San Juan Puerto Rico

WOW, i thank you all soo much. Did not know that Air Caraibe is flying.
That are great news.

THANK YOU
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Old 13-02-2012, 13:15   #11
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Re: Immigration San Juan Puerto Rico

Actually, KLM and Air France fly daily from Schiphol and Charles de Gaulle respectively, as does Air Caraibe and deals can be gotten for all of those flights, some friends just booked the AF flight coming from Germany in 2 weeks time and got a good deal. It is sad that one can no longer do "in transit" through the USA and need to queue up in those long lines all the time.
Also, there is a Condor flight from Frankfurt to Antigua every Monday with good prices, then from there you can take a LIAT flight to St. Martin or other destinations. The issue is that it is really only one flight a week, so the flight there and the flight back need to be on a Monday.
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Old 17-02-2012, 16:23   #12
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Re: Immigration San Juan Puerto Rico

A few ?s...If a US citizen sailing from BVI's...can you do a phone in check in/out in PR and USVI's?

Secondly, do you have to check in with C&I in PR if you're checked in with the USVI C&I department?
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Old 17-02-2012, 20:17   #13
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Re: Immigration San Juan Puerto Rico

Quote:
Originally Posted by NWCouple View Post
A few ?s...If a US citizen sailing from BVI's...can you do a phone in check in/out in PR and USVI's?

Secondly, do you have to check in with C&I in PR if you're checked in with the USVI C&I department?
Thread drift - but "search" Local Boaters Option for St Thomas if you want the phone in process and if that is not useful, then check in normally at any of the ports of entry in the USVI in person.

USVI - St Thomas is considered a "free port" so you have to check in with Customs only when getting to Culebra or Puerto Rico.
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