Cruising licenses for vessels visiting the U.S. July 28, 2016
On July 6th, MIASF had its regularly scheduled meeting with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) to discuss issues of interest and concern. Due to changes in the cruising license process, FYBA and USSA were invited to participate in the meeting to provide input as CBP moves forward to redefine the process and clarify questions.
The regulation that guides yacht visitation to the United States was first written in 1969, and since that time the CBP has been issuing cruising licenses to any documented vessel with a pleasure registry, as well as any undocumented, U.S.-flagged, pleasure vessel, to cruise from port-to-port without having to “re-clear” Customs at each U.S. port. This privilege is reserved for foreign vessels whose country offers the same concession to U.S.-flagged vessels, while all others are given permission to proceed, requiring them to clear Customs in and out of each port they visit.
Recently, CBP at Port Everglades underwent a review of its operational procedures and the results indicated some inconsistencies in the cruising license process. The review resulted in the development of a form/application and stricter compliance to the regulation. As an example, a vessel entering the U.S. to go to a shipyard was given permission to proceed, as its plans did not indicate cruising.
FYBA, USSA, and MIASF met again on July 13th, and, with the help of Jennifer Diaz of Diaz Trade Law, crafted a joint response. CBP leadership is now reviewing our questions and will create consistent policies and guidelines that will be in place throughout Florida. The goal is to provide our visiting vessels with a clear and consistent experience when arriving and traveling in the U.S.