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Old 03-07-2011, 17:45   #1
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Sailing the USA as a Brit!

Ive searched through previous threads on here but cant seem to find the full details I am looking for!

We hope to be sailing in 2012 for a few years!

It seems that as a Brit I can cruise in US waters for 90 days on a ¨waiver visa¨? Is this right? I may have to be interviewed at the US Embasy in my home country (UK)? My BIG question is this, if it is 90 days can we Check ¨in and out¨ of the US or can you only do it in one go?, as we travel to different places? Also, does the 90 days also count for places like USVI and any other places I may not have thought of?

Thanks, Pablo.
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Old 03-07-2011, 18:04   #2
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Re: Sailing the USA as a Brit!

Ahhh, no.

The visa waiver scheme is only available for those arriving in the USA via a commercial airline (pretty much). The visa waiver cannot be extended beyond the 90 day period. What you'll need to do is apply for a 5 or 10 year visa which allows multiple entries to the USA over the time period (5 or 10 years). In order to get a 5 or 10 year visa you'll need to apply in your country of origin and prove that you have some reasonable link to that country (i.e. its not just a sneaky way of getting permission to get into the USA and then never leave).
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Old 03-07-2011, 18:12   #3
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Re: Sailing the USA as a Brit!

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Originally Posted by Knowazark View Post
Ahhh, no.

The visa waiver scheme is only available for those arriving in the USA via a commercial airline (pretty much). The visa waiver cannot be extended beyond the 90 day period. What you'll need to do is apply for a 5 or 10 year visa which allows multiple entries to the USA over the time period (5 or 10 years). In order to get a 5 or 10 year visa you'll need to apply in your country of origin and prove that you have some reasonable link to that country (i.e. its not just a sneaky way of getting permission to get into the USA and then never leave).


Ohh, OK, So am going to have to fly back to UK (I live in Spain) set up a meeting with the US Embassy, get the 5-10 year visa! Once you have the 5-10 year Visa does that give cruisers 90 days per year in the US? And can you use those days at different times by checking in and out??
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Old 03-07-2011, 19:08   #4
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Re: Sailing the USA as a Brit!

It seems that as a Brit I can cruise in US waters for 90 days on a ¨waiver visa¨?

Yes .... exactly the same as when you fly to the USA ..... when you check in at your port of arrival you need to ask them to issue a "cruising license" ... this is free of charge & is valid for a year .... although it is valid for a year you are still limited to your 90 day visa waiver period ...

I may have to be interviewed at the US Embasy in my home country (UK)?

Not required ... but if you choose to make an appointment with the US embassy in London then do it in order to apply for a 6 month visa ...

My BIG question is this, if it is 90 days can we Check ¨in and out¨ of the US or can you only do it in one go?

If you leave US waters permanently ( eg USA to Bermuda intending to sail back to UK ) then you have to check out with the authorities at your port of exit & hand back the green visa waiver card which they will have stapled into your passport when you arrived . If you leave US waters temporarily ( eg USA to Canada ) & you return within your allocated 90 days then you must present yourself at the US port of entry as usual , but a new 90 days will not be allocated if there is any of the original 90 days remaining ... by timing it right you can exit USA near the end of a 90 day visa waiver period , loiter for a while in a neighbouring country then back in for a fresh 90 day period ... although USA to Bermuda is possibly ( being 600-odd miles each way from USA ) a little extreme , when cruising the northeastern states , nipping to Canada is do-able & when cruising the southern states then your options expand to many island-countries for the purpose of checkout , checkin & obtaining a fresh 90 day USA ticket .... who knows , perhaps you might find somewhere to dally for longer before heading back to USA for a new visa waiver card ?

There are also reporting requirements ... the US CBP ( Customs & Border Protection ) require , under the terms of your cruising license , that you check out & check in when moving from one CBP district to another ... this can be done by phone quoting your cruising license serial number ... when you are initially issued your cruising license ask for a printout map of the CBP districts so that you will know when you are about to cross into a new district jurisdiction ....

A word about the US coastguard ... in my experience they rank as , possibly , the best coastguard service anywhere & will assist in any conditions ... although they are a part of the same governmental department as the CBP it seems they don't talk to each other since they are not able to accept a CBP cruising license inter-district movement report from you .... they will likely board your vessel & carry out a documentation check & vessel inspection - if so then you will be handed a carbon copy of the inspection report ... the next time the USCG boards you to inspect then they will accept the previous inspection report as seen .... they are particularly diligent regarding your vessel's sanitation arrangements & may insist on a padlock on your toilet overboard seacock & may also flush a dye pellet into your holding tank ... pumpout facilities are numerous & free with some town authorities even providing pumpout boats which you can hail by VHF ....

FWIW ... I have been cruising the US East Coast in a UK flagged vessel since 2007 ...

Good Luck & Fair Winds
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Old 03-07-2011, 19:25   #5
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Re: Sailing the USA as a Brit!

Quote:
Originally Posted by svtadpole View Post
It seems that as a Brit I can cruise in US waters for 90 days on a ¨waiver visa¨?

Yes .... exactly the same as when you fly to the USA ..... when you check in at your port of arrival you need to ask them to issue a "cruising license" ... this is free of charge & is valid for a year .... although it is valid for a year you are still limited to your 90 day visa waiver period ...

I may have to be interviewed at the US Embasy in my home country (UK)?

Not required ... but if you choose to make an appointment with the US embassy in London then do it in order to apply for a 6 month visa ...

My BIG question is this, if it is 90 days can we Check ¨in and out¨ of the US or can you only do it in one go?

If you leave US waters permanently ( eg USA to Bermuda intending to sail back to UK ) then you have to check out with the authorities at your port of exit & hand back the green visa waiver card which they will have stapled into your passport when you arrived . If you leave US waters temporarily ( eg USA to Canada ) & you return within your allocated 90 days then you must present yourself at the US port of entry as usual , but a new 90 days will not be allocated if there is any of the original 90 days remaining ... by timing it right you can exit USA near the end of a 90 day visa waiver period , loiter for a while in a neighbouring country then back in for a fresh 90 day period ... although USA to Bermuda is possibly ( being 600-odd miles each way from USA ) a little extreme , when cruising the northeastern states , nipping to Canada is do-able & when cruising the southern states then your options expand to many island-countries for the purpose of checkout , checkin & obtaining a fresh 90 day USA ticket .... who knows , perhaps you might find somewhere to dally for longer before heading back to USA for a new visa waiver card ?

There are also reporting requirements ... the US CBP ( Customs & Border Protection ) require , under the terms of your cruising license , that you check out & check in when moving from one CBP district to another ... this can be done by phone quoting your cruising license serial number ... when you are initially issued your cruising license ask for a printout map of the CBP districts so that you will know when you are about to cross into a new district jurisdiction ....

A word about the US coastguard ... in my experience they rank as , possibly , the best coastguard service anywhere & will assist in any conditions ... although they are a part of the same governmental department as the CBP it seems they don't talk to each other since they are not able to accept a CBP cruising license inter-district movement report from you .... they will likely board your vessel & carry out a documentation check & vessel inspection - if so then you will be handed a carbon copy of the inspection report ... the next time the USCG boards you to inspect then they will accept the previous inspection report as seen .... they are particularly diligent regarding your vessel's sanitation arrangements & may insist on a padlock on your toilet overboard seacock & may also flush a dye pellet into your holding tank ... pumpout facilities are numerous & free with some town authorities even providing pumpout boats which you can hail by VHF ....

FWIW ... I have been cruising the US East Coast in a UK flagged vessel since 2007 ...

Good Luck & Fair Winds

Thanks very much for your detailed reply, Im just not fully clear on the 90 day thing? So its not 90 days in 12 months? Are you saying I could go leave the US near the end of the 90 days, spend a few weeks away before applying for a new 90 day Waiver visa and return?
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Old 03-07-2011, 19:35   #6
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Re: Sailing the USA as a Brit!

So its not 90 days in 12 months? Are you saying I could go leave the US near the end of the 90 days, spend a few weeks away before applying for a new 90 day Waiver visa and return?

Exactly .... it is not 90 days in a 12 month period & you do not need to apply for a 90 day visa waiver before arriving ... the CBP office in your port of arrival will simply issue it over the counter ...
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Old 03-07-2011, 19:36   #7
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Re: Sailing the USA as a Brit!

I just checked my non us registered boat into the US in Puerto Rico. They gave my boat a 12 month cruising permit... so it can stay in the US for 12 months .. it cost 20 bucks... I asked them what would happen if I was not from the US... they said I would need to leave and come back... can't stay more than 90 days...but the boa coul;d stay for up to 12 months.... if I checked out on the boat I could re-enter whenever I wanted and get another cruising permit...and another 90 days to stay...
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Old 03-07-2011, 19:38   #8
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Re: Sailing the USA as a Brit!

This excerpt is copied from the US Visa Waiver Programme FAQ

Quote:
Overview – What is the Visa Waiver Program?

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables nationals of 36 participating countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business (visitor visa purposes only) for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. The program was established to eliminate unnecessary barriers to travel, stimulating the tourism industry, and permitting the Department of State to focus consular resources in other areas. VWP eligible travelers may apply for a visa, if they prefer to do so. Nationals of VWP countries must meet eligibility requirements to travel without a visa on VWP, and therefore, some travelers from VWP countries are not eligible to use the program. VWP travelers are required to have a valid authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to travel, are screened at the port of entry into the United States, and are enrolled in the Department of Homeland Security’s US-VISIT program.

Which travelers may use the Visa Waiver Program to enter the United States?

VWP travelers who have been admitted under the Visa Waiver Program and who make a short trip to Canada, Mexico or an adjacent island generally can be readmitted to the United States under the VWP for the balance of their original admission period. See the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website for additional details. Also VWP nationals resident in Mexico, Canada or adjacent islands are generally exempted from requirements to show onward travel to other foreign destinations. Learn more at the CBP website.
[B]Note that you are only eligible for a visa waiver if you arrive by air or sea via an approved carrier (commercial operators ... not private vessels) and you are only able to be in the US for 90 days. This period of time is not extendable under the visa waiver programme.
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Old 03-07-2011, 19:47   #9
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Re: Sailing the USA as a Brit!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Knowazark View Post
This excerpt is copied from the US Visa Waiver Programme FAQ



[B]Note that you are only eligible for a visa waiver if you arrive by air or sea via an approved carrier (commercial operators ... not private vessels) and you are only able to be in the US for 90 days. This period of time is not extendable under the visa waiver programme.

The system works exactly as I have described in my previous posts ... I have been doing it since 2007 ...

Perhaps you would care to enilighten us to the contrary with some recent experiences instead of copying & pasting verbatim paragraphs from the comfort of your armchair in NZ ?

As I said ... I have been in & out of USA on my vessel numerous times ( in fact roughly every 90 days ) since summer 2007 !!!
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Old 03-07-2011, 19:49   #10
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Re: Sailing the USA as a Brit!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Knowazark View Post
This excerpt is copied from the US Visa Waiver Programme FAQ



[B]Note that you are only eligible for a visa waiver if you arrive by air or sea via an approved carrier (commercial operators ... not private vessels) and you are only able to be in the US for 90 days. This period of time is not extendable under the visa waiver programme.
Hmmm, Its a bit confusing, the boat does not come into this for me as we will be living on it! I just want to clarify this 90 day thing, is that what I get in 12 months! I was just looking a various journeys that we may be able to take and trying to work out if for example we used 40 days in the US but then sailed away would that mean we still has 50 days remaining within that 12 month period if we sailed back in?
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Old 03-07-2011, 20:00   #11
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Re: Sailing the USA as a Brit!

I just want to clarify this 90 day thing, is that what I get in 12 months! I was just looking a various journeys that we may be able to take and trying to work out if for example we used 40 days in the US but then sailed away would that mean we still has 50 days remaining within that 12 month period if we sailed back in?

It has nothing to do with a 12-month period ... you can have 3 or 4 90-day stays per 12-month period ...
The 90 days is calculated from your arrival date & expires exactly on the 90th day ... is keeps going even if you exit for a few days ... eg if you sail to Canada for 10 days with 30 days remaining on your visa waiver , when you return you will have 20 days remaining .... savvy ?

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Old 03-07-2011, 20:07   #12
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Re: Sailing the USA as a Brit!

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Originally Posted by svtadpole View Post
I just want to clarify this 90 day thing, is that what I get in 12 months! I was just looking a various journeys that we may be able to take and trying to work out if for example we used 40 days in the US but then sailed away would that mean we still has 50 days remaining within that 12 month period if we sailed back in?

It has nothing to do with a 12-month period ... you can have 3 or 4 90-day stays per 12-month period ...
The 90 days is calculated from your arrival date & expires exactly on the 90th day ... is keeps going even if you exit for a few days ... eg if you sail to Canada for 10 days with 30 days remaining on your visa waiver , when you return you will have 20 days remaining .... savvy ?
The US Embassy in London dont help on their web page as the info is more than confusing! So from what you say a Brit can arrive into lets say Key West, stay for 89 days, then sail off out of US waters for a week, then come back and be granted another 90 day stay??
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Old 03-07-2011, 20:20   #13
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Re: Sailing the USA as a Brit!

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Perhaps you would care to enilighten us to the contrary with some recent experiences instead of copying & pasting verbatim paragraphs from the comfort of your armchair in NZ ?
My experience comes from talking to the US embassy in NZ. They specifically pointed out the various bits I highlighted and I only quoted the US visa waiver programme website because that's what I'd been directed to and that's how it was described to me by embassy staff when I asked.

@svtadpole, I suggest you phone the US embassy in Wellington and tell them they're totally wrong. I'm sure they'd appreciate the heads up.
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Old 03-07-2011, 20:20   #14
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Re: Sailing the USA as a Brit!

So from what you say a Brit can arrive into lets say Key West, stay for 89 days, then sail off out of US waters for a week, then come back and be granted another 90 day stay??

Exactly so ..... with a couple of minor exceptions ...

1. You have to check in & have your passport stamped in another country before returning to US .... you cannot simply go offshore & swan around for a bit then return ... you have to be able to prove that you entered another country ...
2. If contemplating a sail to Cuba be aware that the US authorities my not let you back in if they see a Cuban stamp in your passport ... the Cubanos know this & will usually not stamp your passport if you ask them not to ... nevertheless you will still need your passport stamped by another country before you will be granted a new 90 day visa waiver ...

And another thing .... the visa waiver system has worked for me by air , by sea & overland from Canada ...
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Old 03-07-2011, 20:33   #15
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Re: Sailing the USA as a Brit!

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Originally Posted by Knowazark View Post
My experience comes from talking to the US embassy in NZ. They specifically pointed out the various bits I highlighted and I only quoted the US visa waiver programme website because that's what I'd been directed to and that's how it was described to me by embassy staff when I asked.

@svtadpole, I suggest you phone the US embassy in Wellington and tell them they're totally wrong. I'm sure they'd appreciate the heads up.

Since this thread is " Sailing the USA as a Brit " .... & NOT " Sailing the USA as a Kiwi " I see no need to " phone the US embassy in Wellington "

Perhaps there are different parameters regarding the US visa waiver scheme for Brits & Kiwis ? .... don't know the answer to that & don't need to know .... what I do know is that it has worked for me exactly as described in my posts so far in this thread since summer 2007 ...
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