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Old 05-07-2011, 10:33   #1
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Timing of C&I into USVI

We (all US citizens) will be bareboating from the USVI, going to BVI for a week or so, then back to USVI. When returning to the USVI, we will check out of BVI at the West End, then sail to the north of St. John, then down to the south of St. Thomas into Charlotte Amalie. Question: Can we stop overnight along St. John without clearing customs first? Or do we have to sail directly to Cruz Bay or Charlotte Amalie to clear?

We'd like to spend one night somewhere along the north shore of St John but don't want to get in trouble. Please advise.
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Old 05-07-2011, 10:44   #2
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Re: Timing of C&I into USVI

Because your first contact in U S waters is in the St John area you should clear in at St. Johns. It's no big deal to pick up a mooring at Francis Bay, Honeymoon cove, or Hawks Nest and hitch a ride to customs
or hoof it. Take the dink and motor over is another alternative. Unless things have changed they are pretty laid back about the whole thing until you get to the airport to fly home and someone notices no re-entry stamp on your passport, then it can get hairy.
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Old 05-07-2011, 11:11   #3
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Re: Timing of C&I into USVI

Remember that everyone on the boat must go to C&I on St. Johns, not just the captain.
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Old 05-07-2011, 12:19   #4
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Re: Timing of C&I into USVI

Quote:
Originally Posted by brownbeer View Post
We (all US citizens)...Question: Can we stop overnight along St. John without clearing customs first?...
No, you are not allowed to. Clearing in at St. John is quick and efficient and pretty much on your way. You can anchor close to the immigration office or around the bend at Caneel and dinghy in. As mentioned above, everyone aboard needs to show up at immigration (and if you do get a non-citized, non-LPR aboard they will need a visa in order to clear in via sailboat). Of all the places in the Caribbean I've cleared into or out of, the USVI has always been the politest and most efficient (and the French islands have always been the most laid back and simplest). When heading back to the BVI after your visit to the USVI you won't have an issue without clearing-out papers, either.
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Old 05-07-2011, 17:55   #5
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Re: Timing of C&I into USVI

I used to work for the bareboat charter company in St.Thomas. I bet you are using the same one I worked for!! They are a great company!! I would still be there if we did not decide to cruise! Which boat are you chartering?

When you do your boat check out the briefer will go over the customs rules. You should be able to spend the night on the Northside of STJ with no problem!!
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Old 05-07-2011, 21:34   #6
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You can spend your night anywhere you'd like on St John, after you clear customs in Cruz Bay is what Cat's Eye probably meant to say. Zanshin has it right.
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Old 06-07-2011, 10:10   #7
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Re: Timing of C&I into USVI

Yes Rubikoop!! That is what I ment.. That is why I never did briefings! You have to be very clear on what you mean!
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Old 06-07-2011, 13:16   #8
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Re: Timing of C&I into USVI

The only thing I'd add to the advice given by others is that the C&I folks expect you to come to their office immediately after anchoring or mooring in US waters. I took about 45 minutes to have a shower, shave and a quick bite to eat after an overnight passage from St Martin to St John, and got a rebuke from the C&I agent for not coming in right away. I guess I shouldn't have been so honest when he asked me when we arrived.
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Old 08-07-2011, 06:17   #9
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Re: Timing of C&I into USVI

Many thanks to all for the clarity and depth of knowledge. It looks like it'll be a straight shot then from BVI to C&I in Cruz Bay, then hunt for an anchorage. One interesting note though, check out this itinerary that I found from a charter website.

"7. DAY SEVEN. Leave early and basically spend most of the day sailing back from BVI towards St. John. You need to get to Cruz Bay to check in to US Customs before 4:00 pm. If it looks like you won't make it, settle for an over-night at Caneel Bay or Hawksnest Bay and do the Customs thing in the morning."
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Old 08-07-2011, 06:37   #10
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Re: Timing of C&I into USVI

If one arrives too late to clear in, one can anchor and clear in the next day - but nobody may leave the boat for any reason during this period. Odds are pretty high that you'll have a customs powerboat coming alongside sometime during your Q-flagged stay in Caneel or Hawksnest. The trip from Soper's Hole (West End) to St. John Cruz Bay is about an hour, so I don't know where all that time was spent.
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