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Old 05-10-2006, 04:41 AM   #1
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Default Paperwork issues

Anyone out there in a simmilar situation.

I am US permanent Resident living in US. I have a US registered boat which I cannot document with coast guard since I don't have US citizenship.

Am I gonna have problems going to any of the carribean countries or mexico, or any other place for that matter?

Title, and state registration do not mention United States. So theres no document that verifies that my vessel is from US. I will travel with a green card and a Serbian passport.

petar
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Old 05-15-2006, 06:46 PM   #2
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Petar:

Yours is an interesting and somewhat complicated question. Let's take it in steps:

Immigration: Your circumstances may vary not only from one island group to another but from one European country to another, and you will need to research what your visa requirements are for the island and Caribbean nations you plan to visit. Using Embassy websites is usually a good way to begin. When the information is not clear or you have questions about visa applications, I would consider using Skype to avoid phone costs. If advance visas are required, pay attention to two things: where can they be obtained and for how long a period is the visa valid after it has been issued. It may be of no help to learn in Puerto Rico that you must apply for a visa for the BVI's or St. Martin, but find the last chance you had to do so was in Santo Domingo, DR or Miami, Florida.

Imagine a typical Caribbean circuit: You may choose to stop at the Turks & Caicos, a UK dependency. You will perhaps stop in the Dominican Republic, an independent nation which will have its own immigration policy. At least you know where you stand with Puerto Rico, an American 'Commonwealth' (dependency). You will be drawn to the BVI's, which are again a dependency of the UK. Later, you will want to visit St. Martin - the French side does what France requires; the Dutch side is more independent of the mother country but influenced by her practices. Perhaps some other French islands will appeal, so back to France's requirements. There are probably some fairly consistent practices among the independent Caribbean island nations, but the home countries of the 'colonies' may differ.

Customs: Assuming you are not planning a lengthy stay in any one place, Customs' concern will be legal proof of ownership. If I were you, I would also want to carry a notarized Bill of Sale for the boat but that's more for your benefit than an official's needs. Customs officials see boats registered in one country and being captain'd or owner-sailed by citizens of other countries all the time. If your immigration papers properly identify YOU, and your boat papers confirm YOU as owner, then ownership should be clear to anyone.

They are mixed reports in the French islands about owners of USA state titled/registered boats being allowed to clear in. Sometimes this has been a big problem for the onwner; other times it is no problem at all. This sounds to me like an issue related to certain officials rather than an island 'policy'. Nevertheless, you should assume you MAY be turned away from e.g. Guadeloupe if you hit the wrong person.

Jack
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Old 05-18-2006, 03:22 AM   #3
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Thanks Jack,

I'll do my research in advance. British colonies are ok as I already went to bahamas. For others I'll approach with caution and hope for the best. My situation has always been very complex. Beeing from former Yugoslavia and moving to US was a major confusion and a problem. Getting a green card was another big confusing ambiguity taking more than 10 years to formalise. Now that I am less than a year away from getting a US passport, I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, every now and then small issues pop up and and ruin something(a trip, plane tickets, ...). We'll just have to see first hand which island customs need a little extra "greasing" in order to have a smooth check-in.

I already have few original copies of Coast Guard bill of sale(notirized) so that should be ok. I got positive response from one cruiser that went through panama and pacific with state title and

registration.

Anyway, thanks,

Petar
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Old 05-19-2006, 03:17 PM   #4
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Petar:

A couple of add'l comments to keep you from heading in the wrong direction:

The Bahamas are an independent island nation. This is a good example of why you need to do your homework. Turks & Caicos, BVI's, Anguilla (I think...), Caymans and Montserrat are British dependencies of one form or another, as I recall. Whether they even share all the same immigration rules is worth exploring.

Yes, the U.S. Passport is excellent for world travel; it seems to enjoy the most privileged access (along with select others). Congratulations on almost being there.

You are definitely heading in the wrong direction to think that a bribe will help an already difficult immigration issue. In many ports, a govt. position is a priveleged one and officials will find it extremely patronizing when a sailor on a boat shows up displaying both ignorance of the laws and presumes they can be bought. Corruption exists on many levels, to be sure...but what you imply will probably never be your best course of action.

Jack
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Old 05-23-2006, 02:14 AM   #5
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I see, the bribery comment came from a good friend that was a captain of a cargo or transportation ship in the carribean for some 20+ years. But that was in the 70s and 80s. I guess times must have changed.

Petar
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