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Old 07-05-2015, 16:50   #1
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Newbie with a question about travel to Cuba

I'm a Cdn. looking to buy and keep a catamaran in Florida. We are interested in cruising and spending some time in Cuba. My question is if I am travelling on a Cdn. passport but sailing a U.S. registered boat do i fall under U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba.?
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Old 07-05-2015, 18:30   #2
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Re: Newbie with a question about travel to Cuba

Yes. There are restrictions driven by US citizenship or permanent residence of the people on board, for boats made (loosely defined) in the US and for boats owned by US persons (requirement for US federal reg aka "documentation". Some of these regs are enforced by Treasury Dept, others by Commerce and others by USCG. Make sure you research them all before you give yourself the all clear.

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Old 07-05-2015, 18:55   #3
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Re: Newbie with a question about travel to Cuba

If you are not a US citizen or permanent resident, you are not regulated by US travel restrictions to Cuba.
But you will keep your boat in the US under a cruising license limited to 12 months. To have this license renewed, you will have to bring your boat in another country for at least 2 weeks.
My own experience.
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Old 07-05-2015, 18:56   #4
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Re: Newbie with a question about travel to Cuba

Owning a US registered boat has no bearing on you visiting Cuba. Even so the US Immigration people could refuse entry to you personally on return because you went to Cuba. The boat does not matter. This situation may change soon if Obama gets his way but that's how it is for now.

A little subtlety is required. If you want to go there then bury the visit amongst your visits to other Caribbean islands. It isn't hard. If you would rather go on the way back then be sure to make your final leg out of the Caribbean Mexico - US.

The Cuban immigration guys are cool. They won't stamp your passport unless you ask.
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Old 07-05-2015, 19:08   #5
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Re: Newbie with a question about travel to Cuba

There is incorrect info posted here. It is illegal to export a US-made boat (and many other US-made things, listed in a document, of which there are many in most boats) to Cuba and a few other countries. You may be able to get away with ot but it does not make it legal and the Feds can get nasty at times.

US registration is another story. It requires ownership by a US person or entity, which are subject to some Cuba-specific US regs. The non-US citizenship of the shareholder of thr entity will not exempt the entity or its US officer (required for USCG registration) from the Cuba-related rules.

If you decide to break this rules and clear into Souther Florida later you may be in trouble.

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Old 07-05-2015, 19:22   #6
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Re: Newbie with a question about travel to Cuba

A little over salivating there svlamorocha. The boat in question hasn't even been bought yet so there is no need to spread doom and gloom about US made boats. Given that it is intended to be a cat it might well be French made. In similar fashion OP has not disclosed ownership plans so why not wait until he does.

Additionally, if you believe that "export" of a boat to Cuba includes a one week visit or thereabouts please post a link giving details of the legislation that says so.
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Old 07-05-2015, 19:49   #7
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Re: Newbie with a question about travel to Cuba

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Originally Posted by savoir View Post
Additionally, if you believe that "export" of a boat to Cuba includes a one week visit or thereabouts please post a link giving details of the legislation that says so.
My only belief about this rules is that they are nonsense, but that does not make them disappear.

If you go to Cuba you will read

"Flying an aircraft or sailing a vessel to Cuba, even temporarily, constitutes an export or reexport to Cuba. If the aircraft or vessel is subject to the EAR (e.g., those departing from the United States), then a license is required to fly/sail to Cuba"

If you need a CFR citation and ask nicely I may find the time to get you one. This was an undesired part of my job years ago.

Note that there are also many other overlapping rules.
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Old 07-05-2015, 21:43   #8
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Re: Newbie with a question about travel to Cuba

It might be a good idea to quit the bull at a gate thing, take a calm pill and relax a little. You have gone to some trouble to present information about US - Cuba yacht movements but that information only applies to US citizens, residents and corporations. From what we know so far OP can be classified as "none of the above". I am assuming that he is not a US resident.

There was a link to regulation 746.2 from the Export Administration Regulations which regulation makes numerous references to "you". The word "you" is defined this way in section 16 of the Export Administration Act 1979:

" Sec. 16. As used in this Act—
(1) the term ‘‘person’’ includes the singular and the plural
and any individual, partnership, corporation, or other form of
association, including any government or agency thereof;
(2) the term ‘‘United States person’’ means any United
States resident or national (other than an individual resident
outside the United States and employed by other than a
United States person), any domestic concern (including any
permanent domestic establishment of any foreign concern) and
any foreign subsidiary or affiliate (including any permanent
foreign establishment) of any domestic concern which is controlled
in fact by such domestic concern . . . "

In addition those regulations place considerable reliance on the export of US manufactured goods to Cuba but this cat is most unlikely to be such an item.

There might be some issue with re-entry because the entry of any foreign national to the US is a discretionary thing. That is why I suggested that a little subtlety with countries visited could be necessary. Even so the regulations are somewhat in OP's favor. In several parts of regulation 746 as well as the bulletin linked to above the phrase " consistent with the foreign policy interests of the United States, will be considered on a case-by-case basis " occurs. An immigration official might have some difficulty in showing that a yacht full of Canadians taking a vacation in Cuba was contrary to those interests, especially in light of what the President has been doing recently.

Finally, snide remarks such as " ask nicely " achieve nothing. In this instance I will not be asking at all.
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Old 07-05-2015, 22:19   #9
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Re: Newbie with a question about travel to Cuba

One thing that has not been clearly addressed is the "registration" of the boat by a Canadian citizen.

There are two, very different ways to register a boat in the US.

1. Documentation. This is a "registration" with the federal government by the USCG. Documentation is not allowed for non US citizens.

2. State Registration. This is managed by each state individually and each state may have different rules, costs, restrictions, possible taxes and fees, etc. This option is allowed by most states for non citizens. It is generally easy and often inexpensive.
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Old 08-05-2015, 06:52   #10
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Re: Newbie with a question about travel to Cuba

Quote:
Originally Posted by savoir View Post
Finally, snide remarks such as...
Oh, now, that's rich! As if "a little over salivating there," "quit the bull at a gate thing," and "take a calm pill" are NOT snide!?!

You're the one who started the snide remarks. Rather cheeky to turn around and complain about it when someone gives back just a small dose of what you've been shoveling their way.
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Old 08-05-2015, 07:45   #11
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Re: Newbie with a question about travel to Cuba

Quote:
Originally Posted by savoir View Post

There might be some issue with re-entry because the entry of any foreign national to the US is a discretionary thing. .
That may be a bit of an understatement in the eyes of those non-US citizens who have been at some point held for many hours in a room just because of the "discretionary" powers of the CBP person that deal with them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by savoir View Post
That is why I suggested that a little subtlety with countries visited could be necessary..
Those who have gone through the US clear-in process that is mandatory for people who are neither US citizens nor permanent residents and sail a boat with a country registration from outside the US will be familiar with forms CF 1300 and 6059B. CF 1300 asks very specific questions about previous port of call. Point 8 of Form 6059 B asks you to report "Countries visited on this trip prior to U.S. arrival". I don´t think OP needs to find out what are the penalties for being "subtle" with the truth in a Customs declaration.

**

IMHO bottom line for OP is as follows:

- A US-made boat is subject to the rules enforced by Dept of Commerce (Bureau of Industry sand Security) , which no one talks about but are there and they are enforced every once in a while. Noncitizenship or nonresidence of the people does not really help much in practice and I know that from experience. OP can get further details from BIS web site or call 202-482-4252 and ask to talk to Alan Christian, Export Policy Analyst. Feel free to mention La Morocha, he may remember.

- The trigger of any enforcement by OFAC (Treasury) or BIS typically comes from the Customs (CBP) person who deals with you. Some of those in Key West and nearby Southern Florida ports have shown to be particularly keen on making life difficult to people wrt these rules. OP may consider entering the US further North to reduce the risk of dealing with one of those Nazis that want revenge from what Castro did to them or whatever. I never heard of any foreign flag boat with foreign crew who had trouble when entering North of Florida.

- At the time of choosing port of entry OP may consider asking at that port of entry´s CBP office (can use the 800 number for mandatory reporting) if they will consider them subject to the 180-day rule (Sounds crazy for those who think this is only for cargo ships but there is plenty of discretion . If they say "yes" choose another port.

- Long story short, OP should make sure the boat has a country (not province/state) registration from a country (not state/province) outside the US. Otherwise the "stateless" boat will be treated similarly as a US boat.

- Have no US citizens or permanent residents (as in holders of a "green card" onboard.

- OP would be silly if he/she lied on the forms. That would make him/her subject to Uncle Sam´s fury and that is not a good thing. Many of those of us who have entered southern US waters in a foreign-flag boat know that sometimes Uncle Sam knows exactly where we have been....

Good luck and enjoy the cigars!
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Old 08-05-2015, 08:00   #12
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Re: Newbie with a question about travel to Cuba

Quote:
Originally Posted by savoir View Post
It might be a good idea to quit the bull at a gate thing, take a calm pill and relax a little. You have gone to some trouble to present information about US - Cuba yacht movements but that information only applies to US citizens, residents and corporations. From what we know so far OP can be classified as "none of the above".
That is incorrect. OP could be a real alien from Mars and would still be caught by the EAR rules enforced by BIS of Dept of Commerce if the boat (regardless of type) or its contents of certain types are (loose wording here) made in the US (as my little Beneteau) or have US technology in them. See 15CFR § 734.5, which says
§ 734.5 ACTIVITIES OF U.S. AND FOREIGN PERSONS SUBJECT TO
THE EAR
The following kinds of activities are subject to the EAR:
(snip)
(b) Activities of U.S. or foreign persons prohibited by any order issued under the EAR (snip)
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Old 08-05-2015, 09:13   #13
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Re: Newbie with a question about travel to Cuba

I just met two friends who live aboard on my dock in St. Pete. He is American, she is Swiss and she owns the vessel which is registered in Florida. They went into Hemmingway marina due to engine problems. They remained in Cuba for a month. Upon returning they checked in at Marathon in the Florida keys. The USCG already knew they had been to Cuba because they had a problem on the return and called for assistance, which the coasties provided. When they entered Marathon they were immediately boarded. 3 bottles of Cuban rum and several cigars were confiscated. The US citizen was issued a $2500. fine. The Swiss owner and the Florida registered vessel were not charged.
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Old 08-05-2015, 09:44   #14
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Re: Newbie with a question about travel to Cuba

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The US citizen was issued a $2500.
Interesting, considering how often people will tell you that NEVER happens to anybody, EVER!
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Old 08-05-2015, 09:58   #15
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Re: Newbie with a question about travel to Cuba

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
One thing that has not been clearly addressed is the "registration" of the boat by a Canadian citizen.

There are two, very different ways to register a boat in the US.

1. Documentation. This is a "registration" with the federal government by the USCG. Documentation is not allowed for non US citizens.

2. State Registration. This is managed by each state individually and each state may have different rules, costs, restrictions, possible taxes and fees, etc. This option is allowed by most states for non citizens. It is generally easy and often inexpensive.
Spot on.

If the boat is owned by a foreigner and only registered in a US state then it will be considered a foreign boat for some purposes (irrelevant there) and just like a "documented" boat for the purposes of most Cuba-related regulations. That would not be a good thing for the OP.

If the boat is what is called "US registered" outside the US and "US documented" in the US there will be some US citizen somewhere that will be either the owner or the officer of a corporation that owns the boat. When an underworked Fed comes across evidence of that (as a photo of the boat in Marina Hemingway) that have the means to make life very difficult for that US citizen. That would not be good for the OP either.
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