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What procedures must a small boat follow when entering the United States?

Jan 27, 2018 11:50AM ● By Editor

What procedures must a small boat follow when entering the United States?

The master of a pleasure boat must report to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) immediately upon arriving into the United States from a foreign port or place and must provide a formal vessel entry on CBP Form 1300 within 48 hours. He will also need to report any foreign merchandise on his boat that is subject to duty.

CBP has implemented the Small Vessel ReportingSystem (SVRS) to improve the security of our nation's borders while enhancing legitimate travel specifically for small boaters. For information on how to enroll, please click on the SVRS Enrollment Form and/or call 1-800-432-1216 for additional question about SVRS registration.

A cruising license exempt pleasure boats of certain countries from having to undergo formal entry and clearance procedures and can be obtained from the CBP Port Director at the first port of arrival in the United States. U.S. pleasure craft and foreign-flag vessels without a cruising license, which are 30 feet or longer in length, must pay an annual fee of $27.50 for the user fee decal. User Fee Decals may be purchased online through the CBP Web site.

While vessels that receive the CBP Cruising License may have some CBP reporting requirements reduced, the license does not exempt these vessels from the requirements for filing the Notice of Arrival (NOA) with the National Vessel Movement Center (NVMC) with the U.S. Coast Guard.

Under 33 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) § 160.205 required to file a NOA with NVMC prior to arrival into the US. For more information on the reporting requirements, please visit the National Vessel Movement Center (NVMC).

U.S. citizens should carry proof of citizenship such as a passport or birth certificate. Canadian citizens should present proof of Canadian citizenship; Mexican citizens may present a border-crossing card. Canadian, Mexican, and U.S. citizens must carry a passport if they are arriving in the U.S. from outside the Western Hemisphere.

Permanent residents of Canada who are nationals of a designated Visa Waiver Program country, may enter the United States by means of a pleasure boat along the northern border of the United States, if in possession of a valid, unexpired, passport issued by his or her country of nationality, and an unexpired multiple entry Form I-94W, Nonimmigrant Visa Waiver Arrival/Departure Form, or an unexpired passport, valid unexpired United States nonimmigrant visa and I-94 Arrival/Departure Form. Entry may be made only as a visitor for pleasure.

If your boat has anchored or tied up, you are considered to have entered the United States. No one shall board or leave the boat without first completing customs processing, unless permission to do so is granted by the CBP Officer in charge. The only exception to this requirement is to report arrival. If it is necessary for someone to leave the boat to report arrival to CBP, he or she must return to the boat after reporting and remain on board unless instructed otherwise. No one who arrived on that boat may leave until the CBP Officer grants permission to go ashore. A report of arrival into the United States should be made to the CBP office nearest to your point of entry.

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