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Old 05-11-2006
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Cruising in Europe: visa requirements

My family and I are considering cruising Europe for a year or more from North America (U.S.) and have a question about visas for cruisers. I understand that the boat is ok for 18 months, but what about people who arrive by and liveaboard the boat? If someone flys in for a vacation, the most you can stay in France, for instance, is 90 days without a visa. With a short stay visa you can stay for 6 months, I believe, out of 12 months. But obviously if your boat is allowed to stay for 18 months, what can you do to stay on your boat? Or is the boat's 18 month stay for the entire EU and the visa's stay limit is for an individual country?

Thanks for any comments,
Mark
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Old 05-11-2006
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Visa

When it comes to Visa immigration passport etc requirements the only people to ask are that country's embasseys. These are not questions for just anyone to answer.
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Old 05-12-2006
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Visas

I understand that the embassy is the place to ask officially. However, I'm just curious what has been the experience of U.S. sailors with regards to what they were required to do while spending time in the Med. Do cruisers regularly move on before the 90 days are over or do some apply for visas for a particular country so they can stay longer?

Thanks again,
Mark
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Old 05-12-2006
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Have you checked the SSCA site on this? I would imagine there would be some info there. Plus, I'm sure Jack on Whoosh will weigh in with some info, as well as suggest the SSCA. The membership is well worth the price if you are going outside of the US, as their monthly newsletter is full of member input.

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Old 05-12-2006
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The rules in Europe are in general quite simple but a bit tricky. All the costal countries are by now members of EU (except Norway), and most of them are members of the Schengen agreement except UK, but Norway!. The Schengen 'system' has 'eliminatet' pasport controle between the mebers so visa from one country goes all over the memberstates. Similar to enter the US and cross state borders. As for the boats the rules are formally the same but here is the tricky part. Not only must it be out of France as mentioned but out of EU! The system is in fact practiced a bit different from countr to country, but the rules are formarly the same. If you plan to keep the boat longer, get a WRITTEN confirmation/permission from the local custom office,but be aware that you from that port may have to excit EU straight, next country , if EU, may be very happy to collect import taxes if you have overstayed.
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Old 05-14-2006
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Hi Mark,

Probably the best info I've seen on Med cruising is contained in the Cruising Club of America's pdf file at this address.

http://www.cruisingclub.org/publicat...ing_europe.htm

As far as visas and vats, we've been cruising the Med for the last 5 years and have yet to run into any issues. During the summer we keep moving and try to respect the "Schengen" 90 day limits. Of note; we have never been told or asked about it during a check-in or out.

We've spent three winters in EU countries (Greece, Malta, Spain) and make it a point to break up the 6 month winter stay by flying back to the states for 6-8 weeks. This has worked for us.

The only country we needed to be very careful about was Turkey (non-Schengen) they will issue you a visa that is good for 90 days (not three months) and will definitely fine you, if you exceed that. Most people get by this by a quick trip to Greece.

VAT now with the 18 month temporary importation you have plenty of time to restart your clock by visiting a non-EU country. Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey all come to mind. Again we have never been asked about the VAT status of the boat, but have also never pushed our luck by staying over 18 months.

Hope this helps you. You will absolutely love Med cruising. We started with a 6 month plan to see the Med in 2001 and are still here.

Pete
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lying Andratx, Mallorca, Spain
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Old 05-14-2006
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Mark:

I expect Jack Tyler (Whoosh) to respond any time. He has been cruising in Europe for several years and has written extensively about this issue. He has posted his insights into the visa and VAT requirements at the following website:

http://www.svsarah.com/Whoosh/Whoosh%20Main%20Page.htm
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Old 05-28-2006
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Thanks for the info

Thanks everyone for the info on the EU. I suspected as much regarding rules versus actual practice but I wanted to hear from folks who've been there for a while, like Pete.

Actually Pete, Mallorca is one of the main places we would like to hang out a while. How do you like Palma?

Cheers,
Mark
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