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Old 16-01-2016, 19:31   #16
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Re: US Visa for British cruisers

Found it finally.

VWP NOT ALLOWED FOR PRIVATE VESSELS.

Click attached screenshot

Or download the PDF. Its section 1:32
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...FZfetiBtQYx-xg



Sent from a stupid phone that replaces words with weird stuff.
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Old 16-01-2016, 19:36   #17
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Re: US Visa for British cruisers

After being granted a B1/B2 visa you are only entitled to stay in the U.S. for 6 months out of any 12 months - it is not calendar dependent - in other words you can stay for 6 months then you have to leave the country for 6 months before any re-entry. Over-staying any visa in this computer recorded world is not to be recommended.
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Old 17-01-2016, 01:51   #18
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Re: US Visa for British cruisers

Quote:
Originally Posted by jono63812 View Post
Good day everyone,

I am currently sailing the Caribbean with my partner, we would like come June to head into the US to sail round the Great Loop. Unfortunately we are struggling with information for how to get US non immigrant Visas, for a year to sail the Great Loop.

Has anyone done this in the past, or have 1st or second hand experience of this please can you give us some help.

We have been warned that if we try to obtain US visas in Nassau in the Bahamas for cruising purposes, they are likely to turn you down. If this happened we would be left 60 miles from the US, trying to avoid hurricane season.

Thanks everyone.

Simon and Holly

You could find San Juan, Puerto Rico better suited. Obtained all my paperwork for the US there.
Hurricanes are not pleasant, but don't place too much emphasis on them. Many yachtsmen go through them every season.
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Old 17-01-2016, 04:34   #19
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Re: US Visa for British cruisers

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Originally Posted by adlib2 View Post
You could find San Juan, Puerto Rico better suited. Obtained all my paperwork for the US there.
Hurricanes are not pleasant, but don't place too much emphasis on them. Many yachtsmen go through them every season.

What 'paperwork' did you get in Puerto Rico for mainland USA?
Its specifically excluded to issue B1/B2's to forigners.

Or was your recommendation to stay in Puerto Rico instead of mainland USA?
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Old 17-01-2016, 11:31   #20
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Re: US Visa for British cruisers

I am a British full passport holder and thinking of extending my winter cruise in my British registered yacht from the BVI into USVI and perhaps Puerto Rico. I understand the VWP does not work if you arrive by private vessel, as well shown in this discussion. On the other hand, I am informed there is a workaround whereby you can arrive with no visa by public ferry from BVI to USVI, which is ESTA approved so that you can benefit from VWP. I am further informed that if you then take the ferry back to BVI and return under your own steam in your yacht, you do not require immigration clearance, just your yacht clearance and issuance of cruising permit. All this apparently works if you do not intend to stay over 90 days (I don't) or visit the US mainland (ditto). It all sounds too good to be true. Does anyone know if it works and indeed has anyone got it to work recently?
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Old 17-01-2016, 11:51   #21
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Re: US Visa for British cruisers

vandal - a couple of years back I had heard of this method as well, and went into the Customs and Border Patrol office at the terminal in Charlotte Amalie and discussed this with one of the officers there. This method of arriving by ferry from the BVI and getting admitted via the ESTA/VWP system was supported by the CBP and they said it was a valid method. But, when I posted this information on this forum last year I was informed that the "workaround" was no longer allowed and unfortunately when I wanted to ask at the same office the officers were busy and my ferry to the BVI was about to leave, so I haven't gotten it from the horse's mouth. I would recommend giving either the Charlotte Amalie or, better yet, the Cruz Bay CBP office a call. (Cruz Bay is better is better because that is where you will most likely be clearing the boat in from the BVI).
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Old 17-01-2016, 11:53   #22
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Re: US Visa for British cruisers

Quote:
After being granted a B1/B2 visa you are only entitled to stay in the U.S. for 6 months out of any 12 months - it is not calendar dependent - in other words you can stay for 6 months then you have to leave the country for 6 months before any re-entry. Over-staying any visa in this computer recorded world is not to be recommended.
Actually this is wrong too. You can stay more than 180 days within one year but if you stay longer (e.g. with 2 different visits), you are subject to taxation in the US.

Regards,

Carsten
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Old 17-01-2016, 13:11   #23
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Re: US Visa for British cruisers

Even better, thanks
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Old 17-01-2016, 17:13   #24
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Re: US Visa for British cruisers

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
What 'paperwork' did you get in Puerto Rico for mainland USA?
Its specifically excluded to issue B1/B2's to forigners.

Or was your recommendation to stay in Puerto Rico instead of mainland USA?
Only obtained a Cruising Permit for the US valid for 12 months. that was in 2007.
I'm both Brit and Canuck, that might have a bearing.
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Old 18-01-2016, 02:23   #25
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Re: US Visa for British cruisers

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Originally Posted by Triumphant View Post
Both the US embassy in the UK ........ did not know that you needed a B1/B2 visa if you are visiting US territory by boat so maybe worth doing some research first and cite them some cases if they want to query it. We got the impression that they were issued “just to be on the safe side”
Apologies everyone, it was the contact with the Embassy that put me on the wrong tack.

I am now wondering if it is even possible to get a sensible answer, about the situation of being a boat buyer in America (as I will not be arriving by boat, I don't need the visa, but I may need one to be able to leave?), without actually asking when I get to America.

I'll phone the Embassy again later and see if I can get some dependable information.

PS. There is a thought though, if you have a Cruising Permit, and no crew, do you need a Visa? Permission is permission? I'll see what the Embassy says.
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Old 18-01-2016, 02:55   #26
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Re: US Visa for British cruisers

Quote:
but I may need one to be able to leave?)
You do not need a B1/B2 visa to leave by boat.
You can arrive on ESTA (if your country is on the list), go shopping for a boat, buy it and leave the US on the boat WITHOUT having a B1/B2 visa.

BUT - HIGH RISK: What happens if you have to make a call into (another) US port due to weather, problems, ....

Regards,

Carsten
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Old 18-01-2016, 03:30   #27
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Re: US Visa for British cruisers

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Originally Posted by CarstenWL View Post
You do not need a B1/B2 visa to leave by boat.
You can arrive on ESTA (if your country is on the list), go shopping for a boat, buy it and leave the US on the boat WITHOUT having a B1/B2 visa.

BUT - HIGH RISK: What happens if you have to make a call into (another) US port due to weather, problems, ....

Regards,

Carsten
Thanks Carsten, I think this fits in with the 90 days from purchase to clear US waters. After my last contact with them, I think I'll just skip the UK Embassy then.

This 90 days should be enough time to get my boat CopperCoat antifouled, get the through hulls and seacocks checked, along with other basics checked/replaced to ensure seaworthiness, get some stuff ordered and delivered (storm covers for ports, uprated standing rigging, new main anchor, chain, and rode, etc), full engine and transmission service done, and anything else I can fit in.

On arrival I'll make a visit to the Entry Port CBP asap at Tampa (not far from where I am buying the boat), as I suspect it will be a lot more efficient to speak to them face to face on the ground, tell them I would like to have work carried out on the boat (I am hoping to have an approved list of CopperCoat appliers before long, so can sort out permission to travel to one), order a lot of gear, and ask what they recommend.

They should know exactly what's what and who to talk to for confirmation of whatever needs confirming. But you never know, hehe. `

Plus of course there is the important point illustrated by MarkJ's post above (with the pdf attachment). There is a significant difference in approach and requirements, if the private vessel is not being used for hire or reward. This distinction does seem to be causing 'bleed over' into and from adjacent areas, causing confusion, and difficulties obtaining clarity (even for US Embassies) - which may well be a big part of why changes are being made this coming April.

So yes, for me anyway, face to face with the CBP is probably the best bet. It may even change things if I pay the State tax (for my boat, perhaps not too burdensome). I hope the Office does tea and biscuits . . . . .

PS. It might be an idea, while at that CBP Office, to ask them if they can come to the forum and post necessary information, to help encourage tourist visitors on private vessels to visit the USA?
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Old 18-01-2016, 06:21   #28
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pirate Re: US Visa for British cruisers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ribbit View Post
Apologies everyone, it was the contact with the Embassy that put me on the wrong tack.

I am now wondering if it is even possible to get a sensible answer, about the situation of being a boat buyer in America (as I will not be arriving by boat, I don't need the visa, but I may need one to be able to leave?), without actually asking when I get to America.

I'll phone the Embassy again later and see if I can get some dependable information.

PS. There is a thought though, if you have a Cruising Permit, and no crew, do you need a Visa? Permission is permission? I'll see what the Embassy says.
Hi Ribbit..
If you are buying a boat in the USA all you need is the ESTA.. and an address to give on arrival and reason for the visit.
Then find/buy your boat, if a private deal get the final transfer done in the sellers bank with signatures witnessed and stamped by the bank manager..
You then head for the nearest Customs (in my case Morehead City) where they will complete the formalities/permit etc for a fee..
After that the day before you sail go in any office and clear out and get your passport stamped.
No biggie..

PS; Be prepared for delays if carrying a Bankers Cheque as most US bank managers have not a clue what they are and they run round like headless chickens the first time..
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Old 18-01-2016, 11:15   #29
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Re: US Visa for British cruisers

From Rabbit - I am in the situation of buying a boat in America (wish me luck, purchase process just started - I lost one last week), and as a buyer am in the position of re-flagging and Registering with the UK SSR, and will start off already inside USA waters, so will either have to get a Cruising Permit/License there, or, leave USA waters within 90 days (difficult to travel without SSR Documentation in my hands, along with a Ship Station License in my hands), stay outside for a qualifying period (Caymans for example), then I can come back in once again under the Red Ensign and apply for that Cruising Permit/License, or dock for a limited time to buy some gear and provisions.

You may need to check this, when I left the UK in 2010 SSR registration was not valid for travel to countries outside the EU and you need the full registration. The same applies in most countries. I think people do get away with it but if you get the wrong border guy it could have major consequences
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Old 18-01-2016, 11:50   #30
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Re: US Visa for British cruisers

Ribbit,

If you have the chance to get a B1/B2 do so its extremely valuable visa to have. Every other country respects it (particularly any country tgats an enemy! Go figure!).
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