As always, Noonsite is a great resource for countrey specific information for cruisers.
All visitors need a passport valid for at least 6 months (except French nationals).
French Polynesia is part of the European Union (as an overseas collective of France) but not of the Schengen Area Agreement and has its own visa rules. These rules closely follow those of mainland France with some exceptions that are specific to FP.
As not all border crossings are sufficiently manned, it is advisable for yacht crews to make every effort to obtain a passport stamp on entry to be able to prove their length of stay to avoid difficulties at a later stage.
Length of stay for EU citizens is regulated by FP decree N°2010-1434 dated 19 November 2010. They do not require a visa for a stay of less than 3 months.
For stays longer than 3 months, EU citizens require sufficient income for their stay in FP (proof of funds might be requested) and also medical insurance
covering them and the members of their family during their stay in FP.
Citizens of Iceland
, Liechtenstein, Monaco, and Norway
may have a special agreement with French Polynesia and should check with immigration authorities about permitted length of stay without a visa.
EU Citizens are permitted to stay in FP up to 18 months. This is the maximum accumulated time they may spend in FP, without being subjected to taxes and duties on the boat
: i.e. they may fly out of FP then back in again, but that will neither reset the clock nor put it on hold.
Citizens of the following countries do not require a visa for stays of up to 3 months:-
, Bolivia, Brazil
, Brunei, Canada
, South Korea
, Costa-Rica, El-Salvador, United States (including residents of American Samoa
and Guam), Guatemala
, Kiribati, Malaysia
, Northern Mariana Islands, Marshall Islands
, Mauritius, Mexico
, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Nicaragua
, New Zealand
(including residents of Tokelau, Niue
and Cook Islands), Palau
, Paraguay, Saint Christophe-et-Niévès, Salomon Islands, Seychelles
, Tuvalu, Uruguay, Venezuela
and Western Samoa
Other non-EU Citizens are only permitted to stay for the length of their visa. This is usually a maximum of 3 months in any 6 month period.
Non-EU citizens wishing to stay longer than 3 months must have an LS visa (one year visa) obtained outside of French Polynesia. The only exception to this rule
is if your spouse is an EU citizen, then you can apply for an LS visa upon arrival in FP.
Proof of Funds / Bond for non-EU Citizens:
If you have a Long Stay visa in your passport – you may or may not need to post a bond (check with an agent).
If you check-in at the Marquesas
, both Hiva Oa and Nuka Hiva require a bond.
Gambiers is not demanding a bond at this time.
All non-EU citizens are required to do one of three things when they arrive in FP:
1) Post a bond for each non-EU Passport of approx US$1,700; or
2) Have an airline ticket departing FP* (*see note below); or
3) Have a Bond Exemption Letter from a registered Yacht Agent in FP, approximate cost US$2-300 per person. Note, in order to get bond exemption you must have insurance which covers the cost of you flying out in case of a medical emergency
The rules about having a return air ticket or posting
a bond seem to vary in how strictly they are enforced, whereas in the past they were fairly relaxed, so do be prepared.
* Refundable air tickets appear to be available through Air NZ. Refunds take approx. 2-3 weeks to process. See this report by an Australian cruiser who used this option to circumvent paying the bond in April 2016.
Even if a bond is paid, if plans change you may encounter difficulties.
For a list of yacht agents see Clearance Agents.
The bond/bond letter is not required by EU citizens.
Long Stay Visas (LS)
If you wish to stay in French Polynesia (FP) longer than 90-days and you are a non-EU citizen, you are required to get a long stay visa / carte de sejur.
The rules concerning long-stay visas change often. In the main (there are some exceptions – see below), applying for a LS visa must be done from your home country and your original passport surrendered. As applications can take 6 weeks or more, be sure to apply in plenty of time.
The French consulate in Mexico City allow non-residents in Mexico to apply for FP long stay visa, however this cannot be done more than 3 months in advance. This is a big hurdle as it allows cruisers to not
have to travel back home. [https://mx.ambafrance.org/]
SY Jacaranda spent many years in French Polynesia and they have a very useful document outlining the LS visa application process, which is regularly updated using their excellent contacts in the country.
Applying for a FP LS visa (SV Jacaranda) https://www.jacarandajourney.com/fplongstayvisa
How to Apply for a FP LS visa from Mexico (SV Migration)
Also check the official Document Checklist for Long Stay Visas (in English) from the Haut-Commissariat de la République en Polynésie Française.
Your health insurance
must cover the whole period of your LS visa, otherwise your visa will expire at the same time as your health insurance
On arrival in French Polynesia, you must apply for a “Carte de Sejur” (temporary resident card) via a Haut Commissire. The procedure is straightforward. There are Haut Commissaire offices in Nuku Hiva (Taiohae), Papeete and Raiatea.
Early in the year, and through springtime, more people are applying for LS visas and therefore the officials in Papeete have more applications to process, and will do them on a more regular basis. Applications outside this period may take a lot longer to process (some cruisers report 13 weeks).
FYI - As to long stays on your vessel.
Ensure that you comply with all the Customs
regulations as it is very likely that Customs officers will board and search your boat
Arriving By Yacht:
Any owner or captain
of a pleasure vessel arriving in French Polynesia by sea from abroad must report to the customs office of Papeete Port in Tahiti
to make a declaration of entry.
If arriving at a port of entry other than the island of Tahiti
, the owner/s or Captain
of a vessel must present themselves to the Gendarmerie brigade at the port of entry to carry out customs and immigration formalities for entry into French Polynesian territory.
See the French Polynesia Customs website for all the details and Conditions of temporary entry of leisure vessels (admission temporaire des navires de plaisance).
Length of Stay:
On July 8, 2020 the Council of Ministers reduced the length of time that visiting leisure vessels can enter and be kept temporarily in French Polynesia without payment of Customs taxes and duties, from 36 months to a maximum period of 24 months.
It applies to any boat that entered in French Polynesia from the 9th of July 2020.
All foreign yachts that entered before the 9th of July, 2020 were given an extension that expired on December 31st 2021. Many began the procedure to import
their boats (7%) so they could stay in FP, however January 2022 Customs announced that in fact the permission to stay would be extended until end of March 2022.
The decree specifies that yachts can only renew the temporary admission after 6 months outside French Polynesia waters.
See official decree
The following requirements must also be met.
The vessel’s inward clearance has been duly reported to the Customs office in Papeete.
The vessel is registered (flagged) outside the territory of French Polynesia, and the owner or master or user is a bona fide tourist and not a resident in French Polynesia.
The vessel is solely for the private use of the owner, or master, or user. Spouse or direct ascendants or descendants of the owner, or master, or user are allowed to privately use the vessel.
The vessel shall not be used for commercial
activities. It shall not be loaned, rented or sold
The owner or master or user of the vessel shall not engage in lucrative activities in French Polynesia.
If the permitted stay rules are broken, not only is a substantial fine imposed, but import
taxes on the yacht also become due ( 7% tax on the value of the boat (value set by a maritime expert) – 8.5% from 1 April, 2022).
Overstaying the boat is considered a criminal offense and skippers that do so are liable to have their boat confiscated, be fined two times the boat’s value and be given a jail term of 11 days to one month.
Customs have made it clear that the law will be fully enforced.
– The French Polynesian Government
continues to introduce restrictions on anchorages
and moorings in many of the more popular islands (in particular in the Society Islands). In some places a quota system is being implemented, drastically reducing the number of yachts that can anchor
and the length of time they can stay.
Unfortunately there has been an increase in menacing and threatening behaviour towards yachts, due in part to anchoring
restrictions that are being placed by authorities on many popular locations.
The Association des Voiliers en Polynesie (AVP) is concerned about the recent evolution towards restricting the conditions of stay of sailboats in French Polynesia. The DPAM (Maritime Affairs Department in French Polynesia) have informed the AVP, without showing any legal
documents to that effect, that in fact, anchoring was illegal throughout Polynesia and that regulations were being drafted to confirm these prohibitions wherever required. AVP is monitoring the situation and endeavoring to work with authorities on this complex issue. This is their current
report on the situation.
Reference link: https://www.noonsite.com/report/fren...ions-from-avp/
Last Update - November 14, 2019