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Old 05-05-2017, 23:51   #1
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Formal declarations when buying a private boat in French Polynesia

Hello to all,

We're considering buying a private boat in Tahiti, FP for our private use (privately). The boat is shiny-as bro and it's gonna be great! We're effectively good to go ahead.

Please can anyone tell me what declarations the seller and the buyer need to make to the FP customs and immigration authorities before, during and/or after the sale has gone through?

Cheers muchly!
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Old 06-05-2017, 14:25   #2
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Re: Formal declarations when buying a private boat in French Polynesia

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Originally Posted by baxonline View Post
Hello to all,

We're considering buying a private boat in Tahiti, FP for our private use (privately). The boat is shiny-as bro and it's gonna be great! We're effectively good to go ahead.

Please can anyone tell me what declarations the seller and the buyer need to make to the FP customs and immigration authorities before, during and/or after the sale has gone through?

Cheers muchly!
Where are you going to flag it once you've purchased, where will the boat physically be, and what is your nationality?
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Old 06-05-2017, 18:37   #3
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Re: Formal declarations when buying a private boat in French Polynesia

We're Brits (still European citizens for now thank goodness) and the sellers are Europeans (not French or FP). The boat is registered in Europe (not France) and is not and does not need to be Papeetesized. She'll be cruising the Pacific and beyond. She'll be registered in Europe.
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Old 06-05-2017, 18:55   #4
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Re: Formal declarations when buying a private boat in French Polynesia

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Originally Posted by baxonline View Post
We're Brits (still European citizens for now thank goodness) and the sellers are Europeans (not French or FP). The boat is registered in Europe (not France) and is not and does not need to be Papeetesized. She'll be cruising the Pacific and beyond. She'll be registered in Europe.
Well if you were Americans and the boat was French flagged I could tell you exactly what needed to be done having just completed the process myself last week. Unfortunately that's probably not terribly relevant to you, so hopefully someone closer to your situation can help.
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Old 06-05-2017, 19:16   #5
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Re: Formal declarations when buying a private boat in French Polynesia

Hi,
It might be very relevant so please feel free to let loose ;-)
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Old 06-05-2017, 20:17   #6
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Re: Formal declarations when buying a private boat in French Polynesia

Yes I'd like to know as well what an American does.
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Old 07-05-2017, 00:00   #7
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Re: Formal declarations when buying a private boat in French Polynesia

There are a number of agents who work with cruisers in Papeete, such as Tahiti Crew. You could contact them and have them run the paper work shuffle with customs for you.
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Old 07-05-2017, 09:54   #8
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Re: Formal declarations when buying a private boat in French Polynesia

As 14murs14 (is that CG Academy 65?) says deflag/reflag to US is not terribly complicated, few extra pieces of paper, some in French. The main problem we had was the seller originally presented a typed bill-of-sale on ordinary business stationary. It took a while for them to get a bill-of-sale on CG Form 1340, they had to do it through the US Consulate. They also presented us with an unsigned Builders Certificate. But once we got all the right paperwork, no problem. US duty may be payable. Our boat was built in South Africa so it was exempt from duty.
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Old 07-05-2017, 10:26   #9
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Re: Formal declarations when buying a private boat in French Polynesia

Hi,
if you buy an european flagged vessel (eu - member) be sure that the seller is the owneer and that there are no liens on the boat. Check if the VAT or TVA is payd in Europe if not you will have to pay VAT or TVA when coming back to Europe. As EU citizens with EU passport you may register the boat in Belgium what can easily be done online. As the boat is currently not in EU territory the VAT or TVA can be payd later then the boat is back in Europe. If the VAT was payd by the previous owner ask for document proofing that (Invoice of the builder payd incl. VAT or document from customs proofing that the VAT was payd. The latter is normale if the VAT was payd eg. by a second owner or if the boat was imported in the EU later as eg. she departed for sailing outside EU territory.
Be aware: if the boat was built before June l998 that the VAT was payd in a EU country and if she was built later that she has an EU certificate (EU built boats have that normally).
- If VAT/TVA or taxes have been payd in an non EU country it is no longer an EU boat then forget her if she was built before June l998 and VAT in an EU country was not payd again. Explanation: in June l998 the European rules for boats come on to power. From this date onwards the boats neede a Europen certificate. If a boat was imported before this date it was not necessary to have that certificate. I know that very well as I imported my boat just before to be able to sell her on the European market. I'm European but not EU, I'm from the little "villlage" surrounde by the EU.
Smooth Sailing and enjoy FP as I have enjoyed on my last trip seven years ago.
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Old 09-05-2017, 20:38   #10
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Re: Formal declarations when buying a private boat in French Polynesia

Thank you onavegadorand and everyone. The boat was built in 1992, reg'd '93. Great question on the VAT.

A friend who has recently purchased a boat here has this to say:
1) You should have a Sale and Purchase agreement document to prove change of ownership.

2) They will need to de-register the boat with what ever country they have it registered.

3) Once you get the de-registration certificate you'll need to register it. Probably easiest and cheapest under Part III of the UK Ship Registry $25 for 5 years or the slightly more offical option being Part i of the UK Ship registry. https://www.gov.uk/register-a-boat/the-uk-ship-register

4) Once you have than then you need to go to the Customs 'DOUANE' office which is way around the other side of Papeete directly opposite the Post Office on the Motu Uta. You'll may to write them a letter in French saying that you are the new owners, who you bought the boat from, how much you paid and that the boat has been re-registered. (It took me 3-4mths to get the de-reg papers and then another 4 mths to get a new BVI rego. But the uk small ship you can do on line.)

5) They will then issue you with a new temporary import document in your names - with which you will need to clear out.

6) Also be careful that the rules have changed for boats clearing out and moving more than 50km from Tahiti. If you're going further than Moorea you need to fill out a form for the Port Captains office. Also - there are new rules about clearing out of FP if you're departing for another country a) directly from Tahiti or b) from other islands in FP then next country.




Which is pretty helpful. Has anyone else got any advice? Thanks.
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Old 18-10-2017, 13:44   #11
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Re: Formal declarations when buying a private boat in French Polynesia

Hi CG 65! I am thinking of buying a boat in French Polynesia. It is a steel 35 foot 1996 Mooney Marine at an attractive price. It was built in the US. Purchased and flagged by a French citizen. It is Papeete FP registered.
Can you please give me an idea of the process to purchase the boat, and flag as USCG documented vessel.
I am waiting to hear from his broker, just saw the ad today.
I understand you recently went through this process.
Thank you!
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Old 18-10-2017, 14:12   #12
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Re: Formal declarations when buying a private boat in French Polynesia

You need to have the current owner deflag the vessel. They then need to provide the deflagging documents to you with a signed Coast Guard bill of sale (form CG-1340). You then get an official translation done of the deflag document, and send all three of those things to the Coast Guard to register the vessel. You will also need to go through a separate process with customs to import the vessel, although since your vessel was built in the U.S. you may be able to skip that step. Don't forget you also need to register the boat in most states, even though it is Coast Guard documented. In Maryland you need an original bill of sale for that as well, absolutely non-negotiable on the original part, so you'll want to probably get two original copies of that. You'll want that even if you plan to do an around the world and won't be in the U.S. for a long time, because again you won't be able to track this stuff down later.
I would highly recommend you pay the few hundred bucks to a good agency to do this for you. I worked with Kimberly at ASAP Marine in Miami and can't recommend her highly enough, and as I mentioned I am a retired Coast Guard officer and still didn't know all the tricks she did. The other reason an agency helps is because you need some kind of independent third party to act as escrow and you may not want it to be the broker in Tahiti. The owner isn't going to want to do the deflag, and then send it to you with the CG bill of sale until they are sure they're getting their money, rightly enough. You absolutely don't want to give them a dime until you have every piece of paperwork in order, otherwise it will be a nightmare tracking it down. An agent takes care of all of that for a surprisingly reasonable rate and I would have happily paid 3 times more and been happy given the service I got and the hassle I avoided. Good luck!
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Old 18-10-2017, 14:54   #13
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Re: Formal declarations when buying a private boat in French Polynesia

Thank you 14murs14 for your great information! Also thank you for your service! I will call Kimberly and ask her to help as my broker. Money well spent!
I have a nephew who is a USN JAG officer. He didn't even want to get involved as it is a complicated affair!
I'll let you know how it turns out!
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Old 18-10-2017, 15:57   #14
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Re: Formal declarations when buying a private boat in French Polynesia

I am fixin to run into the same type of problem, but going from U.S.A. to Sweden.
Don't, really doubt she can, know if Kimberly at ASAP Marine in Miami can help in any way, but will give her a call tomorrow.

noonsite makes it sound so easy to import and pay VAT into a EU state for a sailboat.
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Old 23-06-2020, 08:24   #15
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Re: Formal declarations when buying a private boat in French Polynesia

Please let me ask a question regarding purchasing a boat in France.


I am a US Citizen. Can I register the boat I purchase in France with a US flag and still use it in France and Europe according to the Shingrin agreement if the boat has VAT paid? Can I keep it in France without having problems.


Previously I sailed my US boat to France and got harrassed constantly to pay a 20% Vat.
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