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Discussion Starter #1
I am a canadian who plan to sail to the caribbean this fall with my honduran girlfriend. I do not require a visa to enter the US but she does. We plan to make the trip without stopping in the US, but what would happen if we had to stop and she was without a visa?
 

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I think there are provisions for mariners who have to unexpectedly put into port (for weather, breakdowns, et cetera). But, call the nearest US Consulate and ask them.
 

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MasterCard or American Express are sufficient.

And, use them heavily and all will believe she is a citizen.
 

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Whether YOU need a visa or not you still have to check in. Hiding her status would be a bad idea.

It is not unusual for ship's crew to be confined to the ship due to visa or other immigration issues. That isn't usually applied to recreational boats and I don't know if the professionalism expected of licensed mariners plays a role.

Calling a local US Embassy or US Consulate is the "right" answer but the response you get will come from a US Department of State consular officer. I suggest calling the local US Customs and Boarder Protection office in New York or Norfolk and ask them how their officers should respond in such a scenario.

If you do find you must enter the US due to illness or mechanical problems I suggest you call CBP (see Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia - CBP.gov ) as soon as you are in cell phone range and ask for guidance.
 

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Is there a great expense (time or money) to getting a visa for the US? If it's not a big hassle why not just get one for her in case you do need it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
It is not a great expense but she is currently working oversea so she cannot apply now. When she get home she will first apply for the canadian visa wich can take up to a month, she has to send in her passport with her application so she cannot apply for the US visa while she wait for the canadian one. I will give CPB a call and try to get more info. Thanks for the response.
 

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There are special requirements for visas for those arriving by sea. I think it is a B2 visa which is harder to get.
I imagine there is some provision for landing in the case of emergency but that it would be restrictive.
Skip the idea of sneaking in. Your boat would have to be Canadian registered and flagged with the home country marked.
You might also want to think about routeing - it can pay to have alternatives or contingency plans.
 

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I have to agree with those who are advising against the sneaking in approach. It might well work just fine. BUT, if you got caught, and someone with a case of hairuptheass was in a position to bring down the weight of post-9/11 legislation on your heads, you could be in for a serious amount of grief (maybe even the loss of your boat).
 

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I would just pull into a guest dock like you had just been out day sailing and not mention her immigration status. This method has been tried and tested and is currently in use by approximately 6.1 million people in America.

Mike
Civil disobedience is a wonderful thing. :eek:

Homeland security be damned. There might be a few terrorists interested in this approach. I am really surprised by those who like it.

Anyone else up for porous borders?
 

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Someone I know had a similar situation with a girl from eastern europe. They entered Puerto Rico (without any distress, simply because they wanted to) and USCIS allowed her to stay there for 48 or 72 hours, something like that.
 

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If you are planning on entering the US then she needs to get a visa. If the plan is not to stop, then you really don't need one. A ship in distress has a lawful right to stop just about anywhere to seek shelter and assistance.
 

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I would just pull into a guest dock like you had just been out day sailing and not mention her immigration status. This method has been tried and tested and is currently in use by approximately 6.1 million people in America.

Mike
ummmmm ...... I wouldnt try this in any main USA east coast port, especially south of the Chesapeake.
Our 'homeland security' folks are probably now much worse than the SS/Gestapo were in 'draconian treatment' of 'unexpected visitors' of foreign boats that dont follow the inane DHS rules to the absolute letter. Especially Charleston SC and many of the ports in S. Florida are notorious for the treatment of foreign flagged vessels by "homeland security'.

Ive personally witnessed many times the 'storm trooper' tactics against those who make even minor transgressions of the DHS rules by the these pompous a$$ed legal thugs even to those boaters who have already entered 'legally' ... and it isnt 'pretty'.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I gave CBP a call and was told the following.
There would no problem if stopping for a serious reason. There is no need for a visa if you just anchor and dont go ashore. Otherwise there would be a 600$ penalty. The US visa website says its better to apply from your home country, but she will come to Canada as soon as she get the canadian visa and will apply for the US visa from here.
 

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RichH

Comparing Homeland Security to what the SS/Gestapo did is pretty insensitive. My family lost 43 members one night to the Gestapo in Auschwitz. Try not to be so cavalier in throwing phrases around and making ridiculous comparisons.

Back to the thread topic, SV Auspicous post is most correct. Hopefully HS is tight enough that she can just show up. No sense hiding it as there are provisions for emergency stops.

Dave
 

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Is there a great expense (time or money) to getting a visa for the US? If it's not a big hassle why not just get one for her in case you do need it.
Getting the B1/B2 visa is a major hassle and expensive. At least it was in the UK. Day off work. Visit to the US embassy. 3 hr wait despite turning up at the appointed time.

Fees $185

Other expenses travel etc $120

+ 2 days work collecting and copying support documentation.

Know of cruising families of 4 who were denied on their first application because they treated it lightly and skimped on the support documentation.
 

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Bad Idea to assume you wont be boarded and checked. Though i have always believed our government agents couldnt find a hooker in a whorehouse.......history seems to agree with my view......BUT.....entering mobile bay from Mexico.....taking our boat north up the Tombigbee for storage we were stopped by US customs......My wife is a German national and although we sail outside US waters the bulk of the time she isnt allowed to use the Visa Waiver program (good for a 3 month stay)to enter and leave by anything other than commercial carrier.........Glad we had a proper visa for her......TRUST ME......MILLIONS and MILLIONS of illegals in the US and the people in good standing not TRYING to screw the system ...IE you and your girlfriend ...are the ones they will crucify.......dont take a chance.....Email USCIS......and just ask.........better that way
 

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I also want to mention that a HUGE amount of Candian boats are in the US come winter time ......no suprise there.....brrrr........either transiting or staying in Florida........this is surely not that difficult........it was suprisingly easy for us the few times we sailed into Canada.........BTW.......the Notrh Channel and Georgian bay......30,000 Islands are hands down some of the best cruising to be had ANYWHERE.........in summer of course.......
 
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