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Old 27-11-2008, 13:06   #1
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Documentation to Leave US

I have a sailboat which is state documented. In January I'm planning to leave US. Looks like not a big problem, but there is on "but". I'm illegal in US. I have been here for eight years. My questions are:
can I leave US with sailboat without form 1378 clearance of vessel to the foreign port ? and if yes
will any other nation will give me cruising permit ?
My concern is that once I apply for the form,-I will not able be to leave the building. Thanks for any help.
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Old 27-11-2008, 17:53   #2
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I think if you "sneak" out of the US you are in trouble in regards to the boat clearance.

I would call the INS (new name these days) and tell them the story. I don't think they would care too much if you were leaving but I think you will have trouble ever going back to the US.
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Old 27-11-2008, 18:25   #3
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I really don't bother myself about getting back to US, because I'm not going to. I'm just afraid I'm not gonna be able clear in anywhere else without proper documentation about clearing out from US. I was hoping to get proper immigration papers to stay legally in US. But I've been waiting and waiting and waiting. And I'm getting older and older and older. Time to say "enought" and do whatever I want to do in my life.
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Old 27-11-2008, 18:39   #4
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Unfortunately many countries don't recognize state registration as proof of ownership so not sure where you are going with the boat. Clearance of a US vessel and US crew from a US port is not required to enter most foreign ports. Once you enter a foreign port you then clear out to enter the next port. You may have issues not being a US citizen in possession of a boat from the US with any registration other than US documentation which you can not get. You have opened a whole can of worms that may not have a resolution.
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Old 27-11-2008, 18:40   #5
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Old 27-11-2008, 18:52   #6
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Mexico is one place that expects a departure form (a "zarpe") from your past country. But I bet they get a few sailors from the US every year that don't have one. No idea about the Bahamas. What is the worst that can happen to you? Probably slip the guy $20 and the problem magically goes away...
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Old 27-11-2008, 18:59   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan View Post
Mexico is one place that expects a departure form (a "zarpe") from your past country. But I bet they get a few sailors from the US every year that don't have one. No idea about the Bahamas. What is the worst that can happen to you? Probably slip the guy $20 and the problem magically goes away...

Mexico does not require a Zarpe for boats coming from the US. The US does not issue Zarpes. What is the worst that can happen? Oh I don't know, jail, confiscation of your vessel, kick you out of the country with no place to go.
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Old 27-11-2008, 19:17   #8
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undocumented cruising

Well mate, I can't speak to the problem of illegal residence in the USA, but we have been full time cruising for the past 22 years with two boats, both state registered in Illinois. We have cleared in and out of 13 countries in the Pacific basin, and no one has been bothered by the state registration. When we left San Francisco in 1986, we didn't clear out with anyone, and Mexico seemed glad to see us. Things may well have changed during all these years of turmoil, but in the past 12 months we have cleared in and out of Australia, New Caledonia and VAnuatu with our state registration.

Good luck with it,

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II, lying Gladstone, Qld, Oz
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Old 27-11-2008, 19:20   #9
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Most Caribbean any many Central American countries do not accept state registration.
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Old 27-11-2008, 19:28   #10
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I still can cruise Carribeans with state registration? And if I have to, I can flag my vessel under different flag later on ?
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Old 27-11-2008, 19:39   #11
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Quote:
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I still can cruise Carribeans with state registration? And if I have to, I can flag my vessel under different flag later on ?
Really do not think so. Caribbean countries do not recognize state registration of US boats. They recognize only US documentation because they insist a boat must be "registered" by country, not by an individual state within a country. As the US does not register boats, that means you must have US documentation. Know a couple of people who have run into this problem in the Caribbean. Going down Pacific side of Mexico and into South Pacific is a different situation altogether.
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Old 27-11-2008, 20:06   #12
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I still can get, let's say, Bahamas registration before departing US? That's the last idea what I can come up to. Or it's also not going to work out for me?
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Old 27-11-2008, 20:19   #13
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To register the boat in the Bahamas you will need proper documentation to export it from the US then import it into the Bahamas. You will have to pay duty, etc. and establish a Bahamas address. You will need to show your citizenship papers in the Bahamas even though you can get by with state registration there for clearing in with the vessel. Not sure how they are going to react with a US vessel, state registered and you with a foreign passport. I don't believe you will be able to get a Bahamas registration without the boat being there. This is done with commercial vessels but not so much for pleasure craft.
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Old 27-11-2008, 21:01   #14
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I really don't like lawyers but...

I really don't like lawyers but they can have their uses.

I'm sure your problem is not unique. See if you can find one with some experience in immigration.

I would expect that the authorities would like to know that all your taxes have been paid before you leave.
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Old 27-11-2008, 21:25   #15
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I want to address two posts:

Chuck: With the Mexicans don't assume that you don't need clearance from your last port. ALL rules in Mexico are subject to change without notice. It's been a while since I've been there on a boat but it was a simple thing for me, in Key West at the time, to go to the Coast Guard and get a "courtesy" clearance. They knew what I needed and I was in and out of the office in about 20 minutes.

BeBe: Again, it's been a while since I was out cruising, but my boat at the time, REGISTERED in the State of Florida, presented no problems in Mexico, Belize or Guatemala. None. Entered and cleared each of them without hassle.

Here's a tip I got from a friend with extensive cruising experience in the Caribbean,
Central America and Europe, but especially good in Mexico and Guatemala...Go to Office Depot and get them to make a stamp for you with the name and official number of the vessel on it. They make stamps that emboss the paper. Take it with you when you go through the paperwork two-step ashore. Everything that THEY stamp, You stamp with yours. They love it! No kidding! I only had a rubber stamp but when I used it right after they used theirs the look on their faces always said "here's someone who knows the drill." It was always difficult not to laugh.
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