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Feríners inbound!

Dearest International Sailheads,

What happens if youíre an American and arrive in a U.S. port of entry with someone on board from a country whose citizens require a visa to enter the U.S. (that is, not part of the U.S. visa waiver program)? Will they be arrested? Will you? Or will they merely be required to stay on board?

I mean, Iím sure commercial vessels arrive in U.S. ports every day with crewmembers who donít have visas. What happens to them?

Years ago I was in a Japanese port that had lots of Russian sailors coming and going. When I went to buy a train ticket out of town the people at the station refused to sell me one...until they figured out that I was an American. So I came to imagine that the international standard might be that foreign crew members are allowed off their boats as long as they donít go too far.
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post #2 of 84 Old 04-08-2020
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Re: Feríners inbound!

Methinks you should have checked that out before you all left from yon foreign port. Bet it could get expensive and you buy the ticket.
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Re: Feríners inbound!

In this scenario, if the immigration officers are lenient, the boat will have to leave with those who have no visa. If said officers are not lenient, there might be criminal charges and the foreigners will get on the immigration blacklist and not be allowed into the USA at all for at least 5 years. This information was gleaned from officers in St. John while clearing in a while back - they had just sent a boat back to the BVI because of exactly this situation.

The airlines and ferry companies have a bond and carry the burden of returning passengers denied entry back. Since private vessels don't have that bond, the risk is mitigated by requiring visas for foreigners prior to arrival; and even then the officers can deny entry.

On a related note, I cleared into St. Martin a couple of years back with two friends, both holding South African passports and both having visas. There had been some government change and the new rules forced the officers to deny entry to one of the passengers (a medical doctor!) and luckily I convinced them to allow me to keep her on board on my own cognizance rather than letting her spend the night in a holding cell. They then gave me the option of buying her an airplane ticket and flying her out and remaining or leaving with her for another port. And this was a benign case that could have gone much worse.


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Re: Feríners inbound!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ootinaboot View Post
Dearest International Sailheads,

What happens if youíre an American and arrive in a U.S. port of entry with someone on board from a country whose citizens require a visa to enter the U.S. (that is, not part of the U.S. visa waiver program)? Will they be arrested? Will you? Or will they merely be required to stay on board?

I mean, Iím sure commercial vessels arrive in U.S. ports every day with crewmembers who donít have visas. What happens to them?

Years ago I was in a Japanese port that had lots of Russian sailors coming and going. When I went to buy a train ticket out of town the people at the station refused to sell me one...until they figured out that I was an American. So I came to imagine that the international standard might be that foreign crew members are allowed off their boats as long as they donít go too far.
Yes we would let every foreign terrorist just wander off the boat as long as they donít go to far. They can only use ricin or blow up a building as long as itís close by. 😄

Are you kidding
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Re: Feríners inbound!

I never take crew into any country they are not a citizen of, visa or no visa, unless they have supplied me with an open ticket to their country of origin (the country they hold a passport from).
The vessel is responsible for repatriation of any crew member denied entry for whatever reason. Should the vessel (in the form of the captain or owner) not have the funds to repatriate the crew member, the vessel can be impounded by the government of the country and sold for the cost of any expenses necessary to satisfy repatriation. While this is all happening, many countries will incarcerate the parties involved and these costs will be added to the bill.
These days things are a bit more severe. I've heard of a number of sailing boats refused entry into Caribbean and Pacific island nations and literally turned away, some without enough provisions to reach a port in their country of origin.

We know of two American cruising boats headed for Tahiti (2k nm) right now, after being denied entry into the Marquesas. They will certainly be denied entry into Tahiti, leaving them only American Samoa or Hawaii (3k nm). They were warned and I wonder why they didn't sail for Hawaii directly from the Marquesas. So, instead of a 2 nm voyage when already light on provisions, they chose over 5k nm? What were they thinking?

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Re: Feríners inbound!

On the other hand, if you don’t bother to contact the authorities then there’s not much that they can do to you...other than arrest you and charge you with a serious crime if they somehow DO catch you, of course. Roll yer dice and move yer mice.

I’m reminded of Indonesia. When I was cruising there 10 years ago I was struck by two things. 1. How difficult their bureaucrats want to make life for cruisers and 2. How difficult it would be for them to even know you were there if you didn’t contact them.

Just curious, though, how do developed nations detect cruisers approaching their shores? How do their naval panopticons work?
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Re: Feríners inbound!

Just for the avoidance of doubt, even if you are from a visa waiver country, you still need a visa to enter on a private vessel. An ESTA does not work. The only exception that I am personally aware of is if you arrive in the USVI on commercial plane or boat, sail to the BVI and then check back into USVI or Puerto Rico with your BVI checkout papers, an ESTA is acceptable.

Even developing nations have radar and even binoculars so it is pretty rare that you can land somewhere and just hope to blend in...

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Re: Feríners inbound!

Iím in a slightly different situation.

Iím dual citizen USA/Canada. My Wife is USA only.

If I sail direct to Canada and check in Iím good. My Wife gets a 6 month Visa, automatic.

But also I was recently reading USA guidelines for incoming persons, related to virus restrictions.
USA Citizens have right of entry. They can also bring in direct family members.
Green Card holders has the same rights IIRC.
They did not describe what family member connection was adequate but Iím assuming my Wife would be included. Iím also assuming Canada will have similar policies.

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Re: Feríners inbound!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ootinaboot View Post
Just curious, though, how do developed nations detect cruisers approaching their shores? How do their naval panopticons work?
In the past I've entered from overseas both the Chesapeake and NYC without being challenged, but I doubt that could happen today. It is said that some developed nations have satellites that can read the license plate on a car, so I doubt a slow moving yacht is going to sneak through, considering almost every country has closed or at least limited entry.
Even in the days of the cocaine cowboys, the US had enough coastal defences (including balloons like in WWI & II) that eventually the cartels had to switch to land or air transportation.

"Any idiot can make a boat go; it takes a sailor to stop one." Spike Africa aboard the schooner Wanderer in Sausalito, Ca. 1964.
ďBelieve me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.Ē ― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

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Re: Feríners inbound!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hpeer View Post
Iím in a slightly different situation.

Iím dual citizen USA/Canada. My Wife is USA only.

If I sail direct to Canada and check in Iím good. My Wife gets a 6 month Visa, automatic.

But also I was recently reading USA guidelines for incoming persons, related to virus restrictions.
USA Citizens have right of entry. They can also bring in direct family members.
Green Card holders has the same rights IIRC.
They did not describe what family member connection was adequate but Iím assuming my Wife would be included. Iím also assuming Canada will have similar policies.
I would be very cautious about taking anything you have heard about federal entry policies as gospel, even from official sources, when it comes to this administration. It seems to do an about face every few minutes on so many fronts.
Were I to be forced out of Grenada, I would contact my Congressman before I departed, giving him my approximate date of arrival, and the very first call I made as I entered US waters would be to him.
It may be that CBP, CG & ICE will all have different directives.
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"Any idiot can make a boat go; it takes a sailor to stop one." Spike Africa aboard the schooner Wanderer in Sausalito, Ca. 1964.
ďBelieve me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.Ē ― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

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