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Old 03-02-2016, 04:38   #31
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Re: US Visa for British cruisers

Originally Posted by Zanshin View Post
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).
Thanks for this helpful response on the still open question of whether the visa waiver programme works off the ferry and whether you can then check back in with your private yacht without further visa formalities. In the event that loop hole has been closed, does anyone think the old tried and tested island hopping strategy of the yellow flag would work in USVI and Puerto Rican waters? By this, I mean dropping anchor under yellow flag, not going ashore and setting off after a night's rest on board. I am bound for DR and would prefer not to have to make the passage from BVI to there without a break if I can avoid it.

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Old 04-02-2016, 12:36   #32
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Re: US Visa for British cruisers

if you are going to the DR, I would download from the relevant guides.

Frank elaborates on custom procedures for the US also a bit.

You have to report to the US Coast Guard when you enter US waters. Failure to do so might result in a penalty of 10.000 US $ and probably a lot of other problems.

Whether or not your idea about flying the Q-flag is appropriate (I believe it is not), I wouldn't run the risk of messing around with the US authorities. I think considering all the international problems they have, they lost all level of humor and flexibility. So better follow the rules and avoid problems.

BTW: I believe the Q-flag expresses that you have not yet cleared in and intend to so in due course. And what would you tell a cost guard guy who might come and visit your boat whilst on anchor?

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