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Old 06-04-2007, 04:15 PM   #1
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Hi,

I've got a question about leaving the US (to Bahamas).

Who do I have to call when I leave, and what info do they need.
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Old 06-04-2007, 04:24 PM   #2
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Hi John.



Welcome aboard - good to have you here.

I'm sure someone will be along shortly who will be able to answer your query.
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Old 06-04-2007, 05:26 PM   #3
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Hi John,

You will need personal documents for all aboard, and the vessel documents.

Clear out of the country you are departing, (US) and clear into the country you are going to (Bahamas), and do the same when you depart from the Bahamas. Calling an office is a starting point. You will have to go there in person, and get your Passport stamped, at a US Customs Office, and again at the Port of Entry upon arrival.

US State Department website concerning The Bahamas

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/1857.htm

There are many informative links near the bottom of that page, including a suggested place to register your whereabouts.

Wikipedia Article on the Bahamas:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bahamas

The “External Links” near the bottom of the page, are of interest, and may prove helpful.

Official Site of the Bahamas

http://www.bahamas.gov.bs/bahamasweb2/home.nsf

Note the links on the left; especially “Visiting the Bahamas”, and the fly out sub-links.

Information you need to know concerning sailing to and arriving in The Bahamas:

http://www.bahamas.gov.bs/bahamasweb2/home...LegalIssues.PDF

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Sail Plans or Float Plans. Leave your float plan with a responsible friend and establish a reporting schedule. Keep them informed of changes to, delays, or completion of the original plan.

You can download a form from:

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Old 06-05-2007, 01:27 AM   #4
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John,

I need to add to, or clarify my earlier advice. My advice was well intended, yet broad in nature; just pointing to some creditable and likely good references.

Anytime anyone leaves one country and enters another, the best advice is to know as much as one can before departing. Or "know before you go". The ultimate responsibility is up to the traveler, the individual (skipper). The transportation method of sailing a vessel there could have and likely will have additional requirements.

Be aware states (countries) political climates are ever changing. What was true yesterday could be false tomorrow. What applies to each of us is the climate upon the minute of arrival. Well.... that applies more towards countries in a state of flux with each other. In your case (US to the Bahamas), there are established relations, laws, rules, protocol, and procedures.

I have no experience in your particular question; I have not sailed from the US to the Bahamas, ever. I have traveled to several foreign countries, and the experiences and requirements differ vastly.

Based upon my travels I am re-thinking my previous advice, and I am not certain if you have to stamp out (Passport) of the US.

You need to be in contact with the correct US Officials and Officials of the Bahamas, concerning international travel (citizenship matters / length of visit / intent: tourist, study, employment), transportation and sailing (vessel related), maybe tax matters.

For international travel there is no "standard answer"; do steps 1 - 2 - 3.

The Standard Answer is it varies, Country to Country, and Day to Day; get your official information from the officials that matter in each case; the rest does not count. Know before you go.

My contribution above was links to the official government sites; and some general information (Wikipedia), those that will or may connect you with applicable resources.

I think we have other members that have more experience than I, with perhaps more specific advice.

Fair Winds, ....on that matter, be aware of the Regional Tropical Storm Season,

Jeff
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Old 06-05-2007, 10:16 AM   #5
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If you are over 28 feet and from the USA you should get a decal. This will help your reentry. Do not worry Big Brother is watching you cross and most everywere else in the Bahamas at least 1 time a day. This is to prevent illegal things comming into the USA.

I suggest that you notify your family when you depart and your arrival time and call them before and after. Make sure you leave them all data on your boat so if needed it can be used.
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Old 06-05-2007, 03:19 PM   #6
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Here is the link to obtain a US Customs decal. The price has gone up from $25.00 to $27.50--I guess they have to make a living, too, but it's easy to apply for one and should make re-entry a tad easier, though who knows. We had one when coming back from Mexico, but the San Diego authorities were still worried that we were trying to import the boat. A few papers and a little discussion and they agreed that indeed, perhaps this really was a US vessel not entering for the first time:

http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/pleasure...r_fee_decal.xml
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Old 06-05-2007, 06:10 PM   #7
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You do NOT need to check out of the USA

You need passports AND boat papers AND either 150 or 300 bucks to enter the Bahamas depending on your vessel size.

You DO need to check back in to the US when you come back and you WILL need a customs sticker. When you arrive back in the states you call a phone # and give them your sticker number...then within 24 hours you and the crew need to present yourselves at a customs office to be "received". A real pain.
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Old 06-05-2007, 06:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
You do NOT need to check out of the USA
Cameraderie, thanks for supplying that info. I thought that it was that simple - but a pain in the butt.
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Old 06-07-2007, 03:45 AM   #9
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When returing back to the USA you need to call in. When my group did that last May none of the cell phones got through. I have read 1 report that says that the cell phones will not go through. Does anybody know if this is true?
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Old 06-07-2007, 07:33 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynx View Post
When returing back to the USA you need to call in. When my group did that last May none of the cell phones got through. I have read 1 report that says that the cell phones will not go through. Does anybody know if this is true?
Ok; I am confused; twice.

First:

Need to "call in" to whom? Phone number? Department? Who said you need to call in?

Second:

My best estimate is: It is true, you can not get through; (based upon your experiance and what you read) you could not, and the report says you can not. Why should one even bother calling?

Most Confused and Trying Hard to Understand,

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Old 06-07-2007, 02:31 PM   #11
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[QUOTE=name='Harbor_Pilot' date='Jun 7 2007, 03:33 AM' post='8184']

Ok; I am confused; twice.

First:

Need to "call in" to whom? Phone number? Department? Who said you need to call in?

The procedure for the last few years has not changed. You have to call in to the 800 number . Cell phones do work although sometimes (especially if it's a holiday) it can take up to an hour to get through the queue. They take all your info and issue you with a great big long number, the last digits of which is the date and time to the second that you called in. Then you have 24 hours to physically report to a Homeland Security office. For US citizens there is a new program started this year where you can "pre clear in". If you are registered with this program you only have to call in on return to the US and do not have to physically report.

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Old 06-07-2007, 02:34 PM   #12
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I have just heard from friends who go to the Bahamas every winter who I asked to give me some information. Here is their reply, more helpful than I could have hoped for.

"1). Yes, we have a US Customs Decal and indeed this is essential in order to clear in. It is possible to do so without one, but you then have to report in personally immediately on arrival, to purchase one. We always buy a decal in advance, before we depart for The Bahamas. 2). On arrival you can now clear Customs with a phone call, using either a cell phone or a land line. We were on hold for 50 minutes before anyone spoke to us, and friends were on hold for an hour. However, others have connected almost straight away. Apart from the wait, there is another wrinkle, - after clearing Customs and being given a Clearance number, you then have to report, in person, with all your crew, within 24 hours, to Customs and Immigration, to clear Immigration. You can report to the Port in Riviera (or to Ft. Lauderdale or Miami, etc), - or to an International Airport, - but they don't like this, and it is hard to find the right place or the right people. If, however, any of your crew are non-US nationals, you have to report, with them, straight away, together with passports and your Clearance number. Last time we returned over a weekend, - and Customs and Immigration are not open over the weekend, so we had to drive to Ft. Pierce Airport, to clear. (Once) we returned to xxxxxx, - and were told "...that is not an approved Port of Entry." We just muttered that we didn't know, and seemed to get away with it, although if you have non-US nationals with you, you could not do this. It is a problem for many cruisers to report in person, as they have to rent a car, and drive some distance, - or take a taxi, which can cost up to $100.

There is a pilot scheme to apply for advance Clearance, although I don't know of anyone who has used this yet. Further, this was a scheme pushed by Mark Foley, before his scandal and resignation, - and we were told as he was the chief proponent, it may be quietly dropped, - even before it gets going!

On your return to the US, you are meant to mail your Bahamas Cruising Permit back to Nassau, - but I know many people do not bother. I suspect that even if you do, the Permits are just thrown away in Nassau!"



Regarding mailing Bahamas Cruising Permit back to Nassau - when we left the Bahamas for the Caribbean in 1986 we went out of our way to check out from Great Inagua Island, only to be told that we did not have to, we could have just mailed the forms back once we made landfall someplace else. Perhaps it would have been easier, but I found the island very interesting and so I'm glad we didn't miss it.

By the way, I love the Bahamas. Still the prettiest water I've seen.

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Old 06-09-2007, 07:41 AM   #13
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US Customs number is 1-800-432-1216 (i hope). This is per a guide that I have. I entered on Memorial day '06 and called on my cell, the recorded message made my cell phone disconnect. If this happens to you, call from a land line. There was 4 boats in my party and nobody got through. We went to passport control and told them, No problem, they just took the info down and sent us on our way. It is really very simple and fun. Just take as an adventure and have fun and do it within 24 hrs of arrival.

When are planning on crossing and where are you planing to go?

Here is a link to the Bahamas customs forms -

http://abacomessageboard.com/bahamas...tionforms.html

There is a good chance that you will have to fill out new ones with the same data but at least you will have it with you.
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