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Cruising Licences for Yachts in the United States

U.S. cruising licenses (also known as cruising permits) exempt pleasure yachts of certain countries from having to undergo formal entry and clearance procedures at all but the first port of entry for the yacht in the United States.

In certain states, for example Florida, a yacht is not usually deemed to be imported into that state if qualifying for and legitimately operating under a cruising licence and it is therefore generally not subject to state use tax.

Cruising Licence – Criteria

There are two fundamental criteria for a yacht to qualify for a cruising licence:

Argentina Denmark Ireland Norway
Australia Finland Italy St Kitts & Nevis
Austria France Jamaica St Vincent & Gren.
Bahamas Germany Liberia Sweden
Belgium Great Britain* Marshall Islands Switzerland
Bermuda Greece Netherlands Turkey
Canada Honduras New Zealand  

*Great Britain includes its Crown Dependencies such as the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands (BVI)

Cruising Licence – Restrictions

There are two fundamental restrictions for a yacht to operating under a cruising licence:

Cruising Licence – Time Allowed

The cruising licence is valid for a maximum of one year.

Cruising Licence – Arrival in United States

Cruising licenses are obtainable from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Port Director at the first port of arrival in the United States. The CBP information centre states the following with regard to the procedures for arriving in 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…  ……Cruising licenses exempt pleasure boats of certain countries from having to undergo formal entry and clearance procedures and can be obtained from the CBP Port Direct at the first port of arrival in the United States.”

Cruising Licence – Departing the United States

The CBP information centre states the following with regard to the procedures for departing the United States:

“If traveling via boat with a cruising permit, do I have to report our departure to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) when leaving the U.S.? Yes, pleasure boats from foreign countries must obtain clearance before leaving a port or place in the U.S. and proceeding either to a foreign port or place or going to another port or place in the U.S.”

Cruising Licence – Criteria for Obtaining Another Cruising Licence

A new cruising license will only be issued if following two conditions have been met:

CBP will want to see foreign clearance paperwork as evidence that the vessel is arriving from a foreign location.

It is advisable for yacht owners to plan their cruising schedule carefully so that the mandatory 15-day period does not fall in the middle of a planned stay in U.S. waters. It is also sensible for yacht owners to surrender their cruising license to a CBP Officer when leaving U.S. waters for a foreign port so that a new licence can be applied for on re-entry to the U.S. It should be noted that traveling outside of U.S. waters while a cruising license is in effect does not fulfill the aforementioned 15-day requirement.

Oceanskies – Non U.S. Yacht Ownership & Registration

Using its independence and experience of ownership, registration and documentation of yachts, worldwide Oceanskies has put together a non-U.S. corporate ownership and registration package which can assist with the operation of yachts under the cruising licence system whilst in U.S. waters. The key stages of the Oceanskies offshore structure are as follows:

For further information please do not hesitate to contact us either by using the message form below or by email to: [email protected]

The following internal website link also provide related information, (please click on heading for further information):

Disclaimer

This guide is for general information purposes only and does not constitute any kind of fiscal, legal, tax, importation or immigration advice. Further information the concerning cruising licence and arrival formalities for foreign yachts entering the United States can and should be obtained directly from the CBP prior to arrival in U.S. waters. A copy of the Code of Federal Regulations containing the rules applicable to the issue of cruising licences can be downloaded here:

Yacht Registration

Yacht Registration - An Introduction
The British Register of Ships & The Red Ensign Group
The UK Ship Register (Part I) v. UK Small Ships Register SSR (Part III)
Registration of Yacht Tenders
The Yacht Radio Licence – A Guide To Licensing, Call Signs, MMSI Numbers & More
The Carving & Marking of Yachts – A Guide
Delaware Yacht + Vessel Registration – A Warning!
Netherlands / Dutch ICP Yacht Registration – A Warning!

Yacht Registries

Cayman Islands Yacht Registration
Guernsey Yacht Registration
Isle of Man Yacht Registration
Jersey Yacht Registration
Malta Yacht Registration
United Kingdom (UK) Yacht Registration
Polish Yacht Registration

Yacht Operation

EU VAT & Yachts – Frequently Asked Questions
Temporary Admission (Temporary Importation) for Yachts in Europe
The Charter of Yachts in the European Union
Cruising Licences for Yachts in the United States
Yacht Leasing In Malta

Yacht Survey & Certification

The Tonnage Measurement Survey
Rules for the operation of Private Pleasure Yachts under the British Flag
Rules for the Charter of Yachts Under 24 Metres under the British Flag
Rules for the Charter of Yachts Over 24 Metres under the British Flag
The Intended Pleasure Vessel Code (IPV Code)
Rules for the Charter of Yachts under the Malta Flag
Marshall Islands – Yacht Engaged In Trade (YET) Dual Private & Commercial Charter Yacht Registration

Yacht Agents

Guernsey & Jersey: Channel Islands Yacht Export & Delivery
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@oceanskiesltd

25 March 2020 at 07:58

Here is a batch of Tonnage Plates for yachts we are registering with @RedEnsignGroup under British flag here @oceanskiesltd HQ awaiting courier despatch. These plastic strips are an important part of the yacht registration process #yachtregistration #yachtregistry pic.twitter.com/5xGR7f0Xo3

@oceanskiesltd

17 March 2020 at 07:43

A beautiful start to the day again here @Oceanskies in St. Peter Port Guernsey were we are pleased to welcome the latest @sunseeker_int Sunseeker 50 Predator #Guernsey @guernseyharbours @locateguernsey @vistguernsey #PositiveVibes pic.twitter.com/rajLtbGriM

@oceanskiesltd

16 March 2020 at 13:42

On this sunny Monday we are pleased to welcome this beautiful @Sunseeker_Intl 76 Yacht to @gsyharbours which is undergoing @RedEnsignGroup registration with Oceanskies - Anyone would think its Summer! #yachtregistration #yachtlife #Guernsey @LocateGuernsey #PositiveVibes pic.twitter.com/gy0sguWV5S

@oceanskiesltd

11 March 2020 at 16:55

Today we have been Northern France visiting an incredibly busy @Lagooncats factory near La Roche sur Yon for the tonnage survey of a newbuild Lagoon 46 sailing catamaran undergoing @RedEnsignGroup registration by Oceanskies #lagooncatamaran #yachtregistration #tonnagesurvey pic.twitter.com/rwmKAuzOvX

@oceanskiesltd

10 March 2020 at 17:21

Today Duncan has been in a sunny and warm Monaco for the tonnage survey of an @PrincessYachts Princess 82 undergoing red ensign registration by Oceanskies - we are a leading yacht registration agency working with the world’s best yacht registries #yachtregistration #tonnagesurvepic.twitter.com/PUl9Sy4L9a9a

@oceanskiesltd

04 March 2020 at 06:53

Very pleased to act as agents for the visit to @gsyharbours of a @Sunseeker_Intl 76 Yacht @PrincessYachts Y78 #Sunseeker #SunseekerYachts #SunseekerFamily #Princess #princessaroundtheworld #Princessyachts #Guernsey @VisitGuernsey pic.twitter.com/Y3Tk7X8paE