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Old 12-11-2011, 21:39   #1
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pirate About American Cruising Permits

Ok we are Aussies buying a Lagoon 440 in Maryland, we are registering her as an Australian Vessel as per International req's, i understand we will need an American cruising permit to be able to move southward to Florida as needs be. Under the ESTA system we are allowed to stay for 90 days whilst the cruise permit is for twelve months '
The question how do we get a VISA or ESTA term to match the permit duration? i.e. twelve months????
Cheers all....Frank
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Old 13-11-2011, 04:48   #2
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Re: About American Cruising Permits

Pay sales tax; or pay a yard to work on her.
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Old 13-11-2011, 06:27   #3
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Re: About American Cruising Permits

Hi Frank,

I did a little research and from what I can find, you cannot use the ESTA program at all if you plan to stay over 90 days. Next step is to look into the options if you apply for a standard tourist VISA.
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Old 13-11-2011, 11:45   #4
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Re: About American Cruising Permits

Visa is a must, ESTA only deals with airline travel, remember, if you go offshore, which you will at some time in order to renew the annual license, you cannot re enter the US on a pleasure craft except with a visa. Also, regardless of where you document or license the vessel, you will need the annual cruising license, in Florida anyway, if in possession of the cruising license, you are tax exempt, when you license expires you must either surrender your ownership to Customs which will let you stay and cruise within the Customs jurisdiction you would be in, if you want to move to another jurisdiction, you will need a permit to move. If that was in Florida, you may then become liable for sales tax on the vessel as your cruising license is expired, in order to renew you must visit a foreign port with the vessel and a minimum of 15 days must have elapsed since your permit expired before renewal.
Violations can be up to 10K and many customs offices will give you differing opinions...CPB.GOV is a good source for info.
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Old 13-11-2011, 12:03   #5
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Re: About American Cruising Permits

Even with a cruising license, you'll still have to report (phone call) every vessel location change to CBP. (but you don't need 'permission to proceed', that's what the cruising license is).

It is odd that the cruising license and visa timeframes don't line up.

I think you'll have trouble getting a visa to spend more than 6 months in the US (2-90 day stints). Might be easier to plan accordingly.

And, don't forget to surrender your cruising permit when you leave US waters for 15 days or more (Bahamas/Cuba), you can then get a new 1yr license when you return. Don't rely on showing check in/out paperwork from a foreign country without surrendering the existing license on the way out, they don't like that.
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Old 13-11-2011, 12:07   #6
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Re: About American Cruising Permits

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Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
Pay sales tax; or pay a yard to work on her.
Thanks, tax was paid on the vessel however i'm not sure wheteher each state of the US requires there own tax? Here in Aus you pay it once only. Cheers.
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Old 13-11-2011, 12:11   #7
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Re: About American Cruising Permits

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Hi Frank,

I did a little research and from what I can find, you cannot use the ESTA program at all if you plan to stay over 90 days. Next step is to look into the options if you apply for a standard tourist VISA.
Ok therefore like all other countries application must be from outside the desired country, what we may well do then is simply stay the initial 90 days under our ESTA cancel our cruise permit entry then then exit via Bahamas, i think they still allow some grace if you cannot exit due to weather should that be an issue. Cheers thanks for your help. Frank
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Old 13-11-2011, 12:21   #8
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Re: About American Cruising Permits

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Originally Posted by mcm View Post
Visa is a must, ESTA only deals with airline travel, remember, if you go offshore, which you will at some time in order to renew the annual license, you cannot re enter the US on a pleasure craft except with a visa. Also, regardless of where you document or license the vessel, you will need the annual cruising license, in Florida anyway, if in possession of the cruising license, you are tax exempt, when you license expires you must either surrender your ownership to Customs which will let you stay and cruise within the Customs jurisdiction you would be in, if you want to move to another jurisdiction, you will need a permit to move. If that was in Florida, you may then become liable for sales tax on the vessel as your cruising license is expired, in order to renew you must visit a foreign port with the vessel and a minimum of 15 days must have elapsed since your permit expired before renewal.
Violations can be up to 10K and many customs offices will give you differing opinions...CPB.GOV is a good source for info.
Ok that sounds right, tax has been paid previous on the boat, our only concern on the 90 day timing is the weather, Maryland being so cold we want to get to Florida asap. We'll exit to Bahamas once ready then any future entries will have to be under a Visa application by what your understanding is? For some reason it was in my head the ESTA program was to simplify all entry by agreeable nations for an almost 'as of right' 90 days. When we came through for the first time to inspect and commit to the purchase we came under ESTA and wow everyone gets fingerprinted! That's a heck of a powerful data-base that i'm certain will come down as a surprise to a lot of mis-spent youth right up to criminals just not wanting to legally travel anymore- VERY POWERFUL STUFF!
Thanks for your words it all helps i'll phone the US Embassy in Canberra to confirm ... cheers Frank
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Old 13-11-2011, 12:29   #9
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Re: About American Cruising Permits

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Originally Posted by DotDun View Post
Even with a cruising license, you'll still have to report (phone call) every vessel location change to CBP. (but you don't need 'permission to proceed', that's what the cruising license is).

It is odd that the cruising license and visa timeframes don't line up.

I think you'll have trouble getting a visa to spend more than 6 months in the US (2-90 day stints). Might be easier to plan accordingly.

And, don't forget to surrender your cruising permit when you leave US waters for 15 days or more (Bahamas/Cuba), you can then get a new 1yr license when you return. Don't rely on showing check in/out paperwork from a foreign country without surrendering the existing license on the way out, they don't like that.
Ok thats good info, essentially i think we'll fit in with your suggestion as it looks correct, i think they would only allow an extended Visa if we needed a lot of work to be done or somesuch, my understanding is 90 days is seen as adequate for any family, business or tourist activities which is probably quite reasonable.
Weather would be our only delaying concern however as i said in a previous reply i believe that weather delays are still acceptable on exiting as long as they are relevant. Thanks for your help...Frank
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Old 17-11-2011, 13:45   #10
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Re: About American Cruising Permits

The ESTA or Visa Waiver program can only be used when entering the USA through a recognized port using a commercial carrier. It cannot be used for entering on a private aircraft or yacht. However you can cruise within the USA having come in on a ESTA entry and you can exit the USA with the ESTA on your yacht but you cannot return on your yacht once you exit. I obtained this information direct from Homeland security a couple of months ago.

The following was the reply I got from Officer Shepherd on 10th August this year.

This is a difficult situation. It sounds like you plan to essentially spend 12 months on your yacht. If that is true you should get a visa. You may have problems entering again and again every 90 days.

If you want to fly in on VWP and then leave on the yacht you can do that.

I hope that answers some of your questions.


Hope this info helps.
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Old 17-11-2011, 14:53   #11
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Re: About American Cruising Permits

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Originally Posted by Mexdon View Post
The ESTA or Visa Waiver program can only be used when entering the USA through a recognized port using a commercial carrier. It cannot be used for entering on a private aircraft or yacht. However you can cruise within the USA having come in on a ESTA entry and you can exit the USA with the ESTA on your yacht but you cannot return on your yacht once you exit. I obtained this information direct from Homeland security a couple of months ago.

The following was the reply I got from Officer Shepherd on 10th August this year.

This is a difficult situation. It sounds like you plan to essentially spend 12 months on your yacht. If that is true you should get a visa. You may have problems entering again and again every 90 days.

If you want to fly in on VWP and then leave on the yacht you can do that.

I hope that answers some of your questions.


Hope this info helps.
Ok thanks heaps for that, you've saved many phone calls for us, we will exit and if we need to come back we shall apply from outside. All good cheers Frank
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