This is really weird
. The U.S. instigated this Advance Notice of Arrival business, using the U.N. as the vehicle. The Caribbean
nations picked up on it, and at least some of them are now applying it to private and charter
yachts. Confusion is rampant in the islands, with many rumors and a lot of misinformation circulating (just read the letters, articles and news releases in the various media down here!) Then, the U.S. authorities, God bless 'em, came to their senses, realizing that enforcement would be a nightmare for the enforcers and for the enforcees, so they recinded the requirements for non-commercial vessels under 300 gross tons. (Note: Tiger Woods got into a scrape when his mega,mega-yacht captain
failed to provide advance notification of arrival to the USVI!)
Here's the latest from www.noonsite.com
on the U.S. clearance requirements:
Noonsite previously reported that non-US flagged yachts had to submit an Advance Notice Of Arrival (ANOA) 96 hours before arrival. However, the National Vessel Movement Center (NVMC) have confirmed that non-commercial pleasure vessels, under 300 gross tons, are exempted from this regulation.
Increased security means that although yachts may continue to obtain Customs clearance on entry into the US by telephone, that clearance is not valid until Immigration clearance has been obtained in person at the nearest INS office. (the immigration offices of the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection). The captain, and every other person on board, regardless of nationality, are required to report to the nearest INS Office after arriving in a port of entry. US nationals must take with them a valid passport. All non-US nationals must take passports with valid visas, and a Green Card if held. If you arrive after working hours, you must remain onboard, and clear in the next morning. You must clear in within 24 hours of your arrival.
The nearest INS office might be some distance away from your chosen port of entry, requiring an expensive taxi or rental car journey to reach. As long as this regulation remains in force, it would be worthwhile selecting an entry port where an INS office is within a short distance.
The US Coast Guard have the power to board any vessel within US territorial waters and they frequently do this, particularly off Florida. They can also board any US flag vessel anywhere in the world. All vessels entering the 12 mile territorial waters must fly the Q flag.
Failure to follow the correct procedure on arrival can lead to a substantial fine and seizure of the offending vessel.(emphasis added)
Foreign yachts: The captain must report the arrival of the yacht to customs immediately and make formal entry within 24 hours. On arrival everyone must remain on board, except for the captain going ashore to report the arrival of the yacht. Documents needed include registration papers, a declaration of both ship's stores and crew's possessions, last port clearance, and a crew list. Clearance must be completed with customs, immigration, health and agriculture. Sometimes the customs officer performs some or all of these other duties. On departure from the USA, yachts must clear out with customs.
US registered yachts: On arrival in the USA from a foreign port all US yachts must report their arrival to customs immediately, and also report any merchandise acquired abroad that is subject to duty. If an inspection is required, the customs officer will direct the yacht to an inspection area. New security regulations oblige US nationals to now complete immigration clearance on arrival.