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Old 21-04-2010, 13:30   #1
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pirate Living Aboard and the Law - What Is it ?

I'm looking to move onboard in the next year or so and I'm looking forward to shedding a lot of the paper weight of modern living. Once I do move onboard I don't plan on spending any great amount of time in one place or country, work a season maybe and then move on.
In an ever regulated world where you have to have a home address for tax, licences, passports, visas, bank accounts, insurance and health care, how dose a live aboard get around this and how much would I have to hang on to?
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Old 21-04-2010, 13:35   #2
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There are mailbox companies that provide a residential-looking address for a reasonable fee. I have read threads where people said they use them for the address on their passports, ID, etc. Health insurance is available to foreigners in many countries with socialized health care. Most large banks work worldwide with ATMs. I have used my mother's home address because I move around a lot.
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Old 21-04-2010, 13:42   #3
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There are mailbox companies that provide a residential-looking address for a reasonable fee.
Cheers Tager are those addresses world wide?
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Old 21-04-2010, 13:45   #4
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There are companies that handle mail, banking, etc for cruisers. A lot of people get a family member or friend to get the mail and sort through the piles; discard all the catalogs and fliers and forward the important stuff like your sweepstakes winnings.

It's almost impossible to totally cut the strings to land unless you take all your money with you and hide it in the mattress, give up any health care coverage or insurance, and all the other "benefits" of civilization.
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Old 21-04-2010, 13:47   #5
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For what it's worth, I started doing some "podcasts"; little audio interviews around the waterfront. Here's one I did with our maina manager. Spent an hour asking her a bunch of questions. Maybe it will be useful for you: Podcast #1: An Hour With A Marina Manager - TheKeel
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Old 01-05-2010, 11:10   #6
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Not to hijack, but what are the requirements for a U.S. citizen to legally open a bank account in the Caribbean? Say... St. Martin or St. Vincent?
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Old 01-05-2010, 13:14   #7
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Not to hijack, but what are the requirements ...
You might be better informed in consulting the authority having jurisdiction, such as the International Financial Services Authority of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Here ➭ International Financial Services Authority* - St. Vincent and the Grenadines
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Old 01-05-2010, 15:49   #8
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You cannot wander around the world anymore without having a "home country." And having a "home country" means paperwork and requirements for passports, taxes, financial income/investments/savings in banks, and health/medical provisions. This all boils down to maintaining a "virtual home address" in the home country that satisfies the legal requirements for various aspects mentioned above. Family, life-long friends, and some commercial establishments can provide this "home address."
- - Banking can be easy or a hassle depending upon your home country. The same with taxes, licenses, voting, etc. Because of the "new world order" imposed by terrorists you need to legally appear to be an upstanding citizen of your home country and have comprehensive "links" to that country. Otherwise you could be mistaken for a terrorist or terrorist supporter and that would make your life real miserable quickly.
- - I am supposing that you want to travel/cruise the world and not just emmigrate to some less complicated country - there are other forums for "Ex-pats." This forum is about traveling via sail or power vessels to different parts of the world.
- - It is not difficult to set-up a home address (domicile) in your home country, it just take diligence to be sure at all aspects of a "normal citizen's life" are coordinated through that home address. And also you need to set up communications links from you to your "home address" so you can respond to various financial, tax or other governmental requests.
- - I get my mail 4 times a year and if anything "unusual" comes to my "home address" they send me an email and scanned copy so I can take care of it. There are numerous "email to letter" or "email to fax" services available on the internet so you can respond in "hard copy" within the required time frame or you can just mail a response by normal postal services if whatever it is, is not a critical time response item.
- - Bottom line, if you want to completely extricate yourself from the bureaucratic bull-doo then go find a deep swampland in your home country and disappear. But to travel internationally you must have an "established identity" and "financial depth" that will will separate you from the "bad guys/terrorist/drug dealers/etc."
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Old 01-05-2010, 17:24   #9
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Not to hijack, but what are the requirements for a U.S. citizen to legally open a bank account in the Caribbean? Say... St. Martin or St. Vincent?
The main requirement is having a good chunk of cash to deposit in the account. The more you put in, the more they'll like you.
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Old 01-05-2010, 19:01   #10
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The main requirement is having a good chunk of cash to deposit in the account. The more you put in, the more they'll like you.

In that case they'll barely recognize my existence.
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Old 01-05-2010, 20:38   #11
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Originally Posted by Geminidawn View Post
I'm looking to move onboard in the next year or so and I'm looking forward to shedding a lot of the paper weight of modern living. Once I do move onboard I don't plan on spending any great amount of time in one place or country, work a season maybe and then move on.
In an ever regulated world where you have to have a home address for tax, licences, passports, visas, bank accounts, insurance and health care, how dose a live aboard get around this and how much would I have to hang on to?
The simple answer to part of your question:
If you want to receive mail, you need to provide an address.. (2 if you are not near that first address)

If you want to remain Legal, remember: Laws apply:…

  • Whether you live onboard or not.
  • Travel or maintain a fixed residence.
  • Work full time or part time.
  • You must know and follow the laws of your country of citizenship as well as the country you have legally entered (as a tourist!).
  • (If you work) local competitors will scrutinize and blow the whistle if you break it.
  • In 3rd world countries their laws and enforcement can be much more draconian if you try to break them.

There are no simple silver bullets or exemptions because you choose to live on a boat.

For example, when your driver’s license expires you will need to show eligibility to get a new one. (usually a local residence from that country or state)

The bottom line is… that if you want to get the local benefits, you need to join the club … there is no free ride and those cruisers who try and get one, give the rest of us a bad name.

Sorry if that sounds a bit harsh, but I have seen it happen too many times and it is embarrassing.
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Old 01-05-2010, 20:41   #12
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The main requirement is having a good chunk of cash to deposit in the account. The more you put in, the more they'll like you.
What usually happens is that they take the cash but will not issue a credit card to a non-resident
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Old 01-05-2010, 21:29   #13
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What usually happens is that they take the cash but will not issue a credit card to a non-resident
The typical "offshore" accounts will still provide telegraphic transfer (wire transfer) capabilities, though. All the usual bank stuff. They're easy enough to open, but you need the cash to meet their minimums

I wish I needed one!
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Old 02-05-2010, 06:48   #14
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Originally Posted by Pelagic View Post
The simple answer to part of your question:
If you want to receive mail, you need to provide an address.. (2 if you are not near that first address)

If you want to remain Legal, remember: Laws apply:…

  • Whether you live onboard or not.
  • Travel or maintain a fixed residence.
  • Work full time or part time.
  • You must know and follow the laws of your country of citizenship as well as the country you have legally entered (as a tourist!).
  • (If you work) local competitors will scrutinize and blow the whistle if you break it.
  • In 3rd world countries their laws and enforcement can be much more draconian if you try to break them.
There are no simple silver bullets or exemptions because you choose to live on a boat.

For example, when your driver’s license expires you will need to show eligibility to get a new one. (usually a local residence from that country or state)

The bottom line is… that if you want to get the local benefits, you need to join the club … there is no free ride and those cruisers who try and get one, give the rest of us a bad name.

Sorry if that sounds a bit harsh, but I have seen it happen too many times and it is embarrassing.
Jeez! What did I ever do to you?

Just for the record I'm not on the run, I haven't broken any laws and I don't owe anyone any money! As a qualified boat builder, boat building instructor and Lloyd's Qualified Surveyor I have a reputation to keep so I'm not planning on breaking any laws, anywhere, anytime soon.

I don't have a mortgage or kids to tie me down but before that time comes my fiancee and I are thinking on relocating to some other part of the world where there's less crap and more prospects. I got offers of setting up and employment from a few other countries outside of the EU but before I sign anywhere on the dotted line I just wanted to go there in my own time, get a feel for the place, and if I don't like it move on.

If you lived in Europe you'll know all about bureaucracy, fat politicans deal with the problems here by throwing another pile of paperwork at it, endless form filling for no apparent reason just to keep some grey pasty pen pushers in some office somewhere in a job. I lose 40% of my working week to it and hardly any of it work related, I for one just has had enough!
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Old 02-05-2010, 07:12   #15
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Actually in just about every country of the world there are "fat politicians" and bureaucrats adding layer upon layer of paperwork to justify their jobs. Nothing wrong with that as the alternative is more locals without work who have to feed their families so they might just help themselves to your assets without asking. And setting sail to "reduce" paperwork is valid but you cannot "eliminate" the paperwork. Not owning real estate or a car are major reductions in paper work. Not having a job is another - unless you are filing for jobless benefits. But as other threads have discussed - you must maintain "ties" to your home country and financial links to assets in that country. Without them you would be classified as a potential terrorist or terrorist supporter. That's today's real world - so we have to do stuff today that our parents and grandparents did not have to do.

- - How to maintain "ties" to your home country is not difficult and all world cruisers handle it in one or two different versions of the same thing.
- - Pick a State/jurisdiction advantageous to your financial situation and if you have a relative in the area use them for your "home address" - or - use a commercial mail handing company. For the USA the ones in Green Cove Springs and another in Key Largo are the most popular as Florida does not have any income tax or other taxes on normal investments/retirement income.
- - You have to spend some time there to switch your drivers license to the new "address," get a voting card, file your national tax returns from that address, and switch all your banking, credit cards and financial accounts to that address. Don't forget your boats' documentation and radio and other licenses, State boat registration, etc. Once all that is done, you are finished and can go wandering around the world.
- - But you need to establish communications and procedures with your "home address" mail handler to forward your mail to you and to open and alert you whenever something extraordinary comes in the mail from some governmental or financial entity. What with the "world-wide web" and lapbook/netbook computers and Skype keeping in touch and communicating with your "people" at the home address is simple.
- - Setting up your credit cards or other periodic payments to automatic via your bank takes a layer of worry out of the equation so that if you are on a long passage you don't miss making a payment.
- - Relatives or a friend's home address is the simplest/best solution as any bank or government will not question the validity of the "residential" address. Some mail "services" provide a "real" address" or a PMB address - the later may present some difficulties. It better to have a simple: name-street-town-state-zip code form of address. P.O. boxes are not acceptable and besides who is going to sort and forward the mail?
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