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Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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For the past couple of years every sailing forum that has international travelers and travel sites like http://www.noonsite.com has known and published the fact that the US Visa Waiver program does not apply when sailing to the USA on a private vessel. The workaround with using a ferry from the BVI to the USVI has also been published in many places.

So while I feel bad for the experiences that the crew of sv-beachhouse encountered, they should have known better; and U.S. CBP or homeland security is not known for their tolerance of errors like that. This is analogous to the Australian reporting requirements - they aren't logical or necessarily easy to comply with, but they are widely known.

Knowing the entry requirements of the country you are heading to is part of passage planning. Plus some countries have very quirky rules - if you wear Camo in Antigua you get to visit the local jail, for example.
 

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Sure they could have been more helpful but, I have to get an ESTA for my mother every two years and the rule are very clear. If she has an ESTA she should know the entry requirements. I'm not sure but I think if they stop anywhere (not U.S.) between USVI and Florida, it will be regarded as an initial entry again. They should check if they plan to stop.
 

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I've traveled all over the world and I don't recall any immigration or customs agent with the authority to change the rules, because I thought they were silly.

There seems no doubt that this fella mouthed off a bit too. That is a well known poor tactic in a foreign country, no matter what. Amateur.

"Well, my frustration and questions put the chap off......."
Then there is this little charm. He's got to be kidding......

......of course we wondered why:

A) The BVI customs folks did not warn us of this potential issue [when leaving the BVI and going to the US]
 

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Do NOT treat the USA as SH!T! They have rules which must be followed.

They are easy and simple and on every website you can imagine.

If you are too stupid or lazy to find out the rules then you will cop it.







Mark
 

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Do NOT treat the USA as SH!T! They have rules which must be followed.

They are easy and simple and on every website you can imagine.

If you are too stupid or lazy to find out the rules then you will cop it.

Mark
Or any other country you may wish to visit. Lot's of information available out here. Yes, sometimes it is a PITA. If you don't like the regulations then don't go.
 
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Ok, obeying all the rules of a country is a given. What amazes me it the citizens of this great nation (of which I'm a citizen) frequently get bent out of shape when confronted by regulations of other countries.

Moving on, I have no problem with the authorities in the US applying the regulations to the absolute letter of the law. I have had frequent encounters with them entering South Florida. I do, however, have some issue with the arrogance with which they apply that said law. In a recent discussion about clearing a boat two senior ICE agents conduct a conversation, is Spanish, in front of my colleague. The general treatment of him was rude and unprofessional. The reason for speaking Spanish was not for confidentiality, as for all they knew he could have been a fluent Spanish speaker. On at least three occasions one agent said that " we could have impounded your boat." If the agents were German/American or Chinese/American and conducted a conversation it one of those languages I wonder what the public reaction would have been.

9/11 has not given these people carte blanche to be rude and obnoxious. They are first and foremost Public Servants and must treat people accordingly. If and when a person is to be arrested / boat impounded then the gloves can come off.:eek:
 

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....Moving on, I have no problem with the authorities in the US applying the regulations to the absolute letter of the law. ......I do, however, have some issue with the arrogance with which they apply that said law.......
Of course. But this is a damnation on the individual, not the country, nor the rule. The problem is fundamentally that government jobs have not competition, nor concern for going out of business for bad service or a bad product. But that's really a different discussion.

I've dealt with good and bad apples in immigration, just about everywhere I've gone. Some are just trying to stare you down, some just seem to be having a bad day. I will give them only this much credit. If it turns out you are up to no good, the host country will know which of their agents let you in.
 
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corrupt offiicials, rude officials, obnoxious or aggressive officials can be found anywhere...usually its not country dependant but individual dependant

some countries do have "bad" reputations but all in all I have learned that a smile goes a long way...even in those places to avoid...
 
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Just to revive the thread - I cleared into St. John, USVI a couple of days ago and it took about 5 minutes to fill in the form and about 2 minutes to get my visa checked, fingerprints and retinal scan taken and then I was finished. I was the only person clearing in and 3 officers were there. I asked how often they still have people trying to clear in on a visa waiver and they said it still happens, but not as frequently as it used to. Then another officer explained how they had to chose whether to deny entry (a really, really bad thing - since that stays in the computer system and suddenly that person can no longer enter the USA on a visa waiver and getting a visa is almost impossible after that) or they ask them to return posthaste to the BVI; no paperwork is filled in and as far as the C&I people are concerned nothing has happened. While they didn't state as much, since the officer has discretion on how to proceed, I wonder what people need to do in order to warrant getting denied entry rather than just sent back; it might be a matter of attitude? As I was leaving the third officer mentioned that ignorance of the law is no defense and stated that when visiting a foreign country one should be aware of the rules and I have to concur.

BTW, when I cleared out of the BVI I checked their website and it states that the VWP doesn't apply when going to the USA.
 

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How things have changed. I had a UK citizen on my boat and customs+immigration had no intention of stirring themselves out of their cubes to come do anything. After he had been in country a couple of weeks I got an idea and we went to the airport. I sent him down the international pier and he got in line with everyone else and "cleared in from the flight" ;)

note - do NOT try this now!
 
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