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Old 15-01-2020, 03:41   #1
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Sailing in USA territorial waters

Hi all!
I intend to sail from Nova Scotia down to the Caribbean’s but would like to visit the East Coast of USA by sailing along the coast and by the Intercoastal Waterway.
Not being an American, nor an Canadian citizen but French (nobody is perfect) aboard a UK flagged sailing vessel, need to know if an USA visa is required and if so, have it be obtained in Canada or France before departure?

Many thanks in advance for your input.
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Old 15-01-2020, 06:07   #2
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Re: Sailing in USA territorial waters

Yes, you will need a B1-B2 Visa if you intend to sail from Canada to USA. Generally you need to get the visa in your country of residence, but perhaps you can get one at the closest consulate (perhaps Montreal? I've been in that consulate before).

It might be easier to enter the USA by land or airplane from Canada and then board the boat - that can be done without a visa using ESTA.

The boat will need to get a cruising permit, this can be applied for upon arrival and clearing in. The permit is valid for one year and while not officially necessary you can barely move without one, as you'd have to "clear in" personally at an office each time you move. With a cruising permit you can travel at will, but once you've arrived you have to call in and report your location. If you fail to do so you can be slapped with very stiff fines or worse. I usually get a recording where I leave the permit number, boat location, last port of call, and my telephone number in case there are any questions.
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Old Yesterday, 00:20   #3
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Re: Sailing in USA territorial waters

Many thanks Zanshin for your concise and clear reply. I've visited the ESTA page and will apply for the visa. Hope to meet you sometime in a nice place to share a chat and more...
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