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· Mermaid Hunter
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Is this issue USA wide? We have many friends with Canadian flagged boats moored in WA state, and others who have spent a fair bit of time cruising in Puget Sound on their Canadian boats and I've not heard of this kind of micromanaging of their itineraries..
Yes its true. There is a line on a CBP website that says any person on a private boat entering the USA must have a B1B2 visa, except Canadians. I have seen the webpage but now can't find it. Ive check a coupla times over the last few months for forum questions, havent had time today.

If you think about it, it would make a mockery of CBP if you could ferry from BVI to USVI and grab a visa on arrival then pull up the anchor and head to Florida.

It was a loophole but its been plugged.
I'm not convinced it is completely plugged. The underlying issue is the roots of the US visa waiver program. In order to participate in the visa waiver program a commercial carrier commits (I'm not sure if there is a bond or if the companies can self-insure) to transport the inbound non-US citizen back out of the country if for any reason they are turned back. That is why the visa waiver program doesn't apply to private boats or aircraft.

The BVI-USVI work around has been accepted on the ground for many years even though it has been against the rules the entire time. To the best of my knowledge it is still workable.

Everyone has to make their own choices about the degree of risk they are willing to take when dealing with government bureaucracies.

I wouldn't hesitate to put crew on a ferry or plane (I almost had to do that in Bermuda) and pick them up in the US. The commercial carrier would still be liable for transit if needed.

I would not have crew make a round trip by ferry "hanging on" to their visa. The chances of getting caught are small, but the implications are disturbing.

YMMV.

My experience getting a B1/B2 visa for crew has been pretty positive. I don't have any insight into how hard it may be without a US sponsor. I also have no personal insight into getting a visa for anyone other than an EU citizen.
 

· Mermaid Hunter
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Well, I have a rule: Don't try to stiff the Yanks because thier computers have long memories.
I used a lot more words, but I agree with you. *grin*
 
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