This is a summary of the requirements for entering the United States with your vessel from any foreign country for the start and for all vessels (US and foreign) upon return from Bermuda after the race. Please see the applicable Customs and Border Protection website for specific and legal requirements.
To enter a US Port:
- US vessels must have a Customs User Fee Decal:
- A US flagged vessel 30 feet or longer in length must obtain a user fee decal, which is available for $27.50 from Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Information on the user fee decal is available on the CBP website. If the decal is not received by the time of the race, a copy of the receipt for the current year is sufficient.
- Foreign documented vessels must pay a fee but are not required to have a decal:
- Foreign documented vessels are not required to purchase a decal but should contact the CBP office on clearance/entrance requirements.
- You must check in with the local Customs Officials:
- The master of any pleasure vessel must report to Customs and Border Protection IMMEDIATELY after arriving in the United States from a foreign port. Application to lawfully enter the United States must be made at a U. S. port-of-entry when the port is open for business. Masters of all vessels must report in person, except that masters of US vessels pre-registered using the Small Vessel Reporting System (SVRS, described below) may report in by telephone.
- No one shall leave the vessel without first completing Customs and Border Protection processing and the CBP Officer grants permission.
- Failure to report can result in civil penalties of $5,000 or more, as well as additional penalties to the master who intentionally commits a violation.
- Note: Those familiar with more flexible clearance procedures used in the past should be aware that the number of designated CBP ports-of-entry is limited. See the CBP website
- Every passenger must have a valid passport:
- All U.S. Citizens are required to have a valid U.S. passport. All foreign nationals are required to have a valid passport and a visa.
- Note: citizens of countries that are participants in the Visa Waiver Program are not eligible to seek admission to the U.S. via private vessel under that program.
SVRS Expedited Reporting
The CBP has implemented the Small Vessel Reporting System (SVRS) that allows eligible pleasure boat operators and crews to register themselves and their vessel in advance. CBP can still inspect vessels that arrive on SVRS. There is no charge for participation in SVRS. Passengers eligible for the SVRS program include U. S. citizens and lawful permanent residents of the U. S., as well as Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada who are nationals of a U.S. Visa Waiver Program Country.
- Firearms must have the approval, in advance, from ATF, with ATF Form 6 aboard. Otherwise they will be detained by CBP.
- Currency and negotiable monetary instruments must be declared if more than $10,000 is on board or the money will be subject to seizure.
- Foodstuffs (in particular fresh fruits and vegetables and meat products) must be declared so that they can be inspected if requested by CBP. Failure to declare could result in a $1,000 fine.
- Additional Information is available from the U. S. Customs and Border Protection website