Clear COVID-19, Captain Clears the Boat, Immigration Clearance – 1, 2, 3 Steps
Dear Race Captains and Sailors,
COVID-19 protocols have created new steps that all sailors will need to follow to meet Bermuda’s immigration requirements. The most important change is that all competitors (including the Captain) will need to apply for (and receive) a “Mariner’s Travel Authorization” (MTA) prior to departing for Bermuda. This process, including the requirements to obtain a MTA, is explained below and is also available at https://www.gov.bm/mariners-travel-authorisation. For the avoidance of doubt, a negative pre-travel COVID-19 test is required to obtain a MTA.
Competitors who have received their MTA approval can then visit the Bermuda Government Immigration officers in Newport for pre-clearance into Bermuda.
The MTA process also affects Captains registering their boats. To complete on-site registration, each Captain must confirm that all their crew members have met the requirements to enter Bermuda. In past years, this could be assumed. That is not the case this year. Specifically, Captains must know that ALL crew members have met the requirements for a MTA, (i.e., all crew members have received a negative pre-travel COVID-19 test and are fully vaccinated against COVID-19) BEFORE the Captain can complete on-site registration.
Bermuda Government Mariner’s Travel Authorization Process
Details on the Bermuda Government “Mariner’s Travel Authorization” (MTA) process can be found at https://www.gov.bm/mariners-travel-authorisation. Instructions (including a COVID-19 Hotline administered by the Bermuda Government to handle any queries) are also on this page. The “Apply for Travel Authorization” button is located at the bottom of the web page.
In order to apply for a MTA, all competitors must have the following:
- Traveler details including full passport information
- Proof of vaccination against COVID-19 as detailed at https://www.gov.bm/what-fully-vaccinated. This must be in the form of a file that can be uploaded during the MTA application process.
- Valid (negative) Pre-Arrival COVID-19 Test as detailed at https://www.gov.bm/covid-19-tests-accepted-bermuda. Further details on this process are included in this document. This must be in the form of a file that can be uploaded during the MTA application process.
- Name of Yacht
- Intended departure date from Bermuda
- Address while in Bermuda
- Online payment (VISA/Mastercard only – no American Express) of a $40 fee for the MTA. Note – this fee also covers any outbound COVID-19 test that may be required depending on the visitor’s intended departure destination.
Pre-Travel COVID-19 Tests for Competitors
- There are two types of pre-travel COVID-19 tests allowed by Bermuda’s Department of Health (https://www.gov.bm/covid-19-tests-accepted-bermuda) when applying for a MTA.
- A COVID-19 NAAT test (PCR, LAMP, or TMA) may be taken up to 4 days before the day of departure, OR
- A “supervised” antigen test may be taken up to 2 days before the day of departure. “Supervised” antigen tests may be performed at a testing facility or at your home, place of work, etc. A supervised antigen test done at home is typically ordered from a vendor and includes a “virtual visit” (video session) with a certified technician that helps you properly administer the test and certifies the results. You receive the results via email. A self-administered antigen test performed at home without virtual supervision does NOT meet Bermuda’s requirements.
- The results of an individual’s pre-travel test are required to complete the MTA application process.
- Competitors DO NOT need to be physically present in Newport to have their pre-travel COVID-19 test.
Returning to the competitor’s country of origin
If the competitor’s country of origin requires a test in order to return, it will automatically be scheduled and provided before they leave Bermuda.
NOTE: Competitors returning to the USA by sea DO NOT require a COVID test to return the USA. The USA only requires pre-travel COVID testing for travelers returning by air.
- These tests are included in the MTA application fee ($40).
- An outbound supervised antigen test will automatically be booked for the day before the competitor’s scheduled departure from Bermuda (per the departure date entered on their Travel Authorisation).
- An outbound PCR test will automatically be scheduled 2 days before a visitor’s scheduled departure date if that was selected on the Travel Authorisation application form.
- The competitor will receive a test reminder email telling them where to attend their outbound test.
- It is extremely important to ensure that accurate departure date and contact information are supplied on the MTA to ensure that tests are scheduled correctly, and results delivered to the correct email address.
The MTA process and its COVID-19 testing timeframes overlay the Captain’s on-site registration process. The result is shown in the following timeline:
It is strongly recommended that pre-travel COVID-19 tests are the type that return a rapid result in order to assist with the tight timelines. Since supervised antigen tests are generally less expensive than PCR tests (typically $40 versus $250), it is anticipated that many sailors will choose to take supervised antigen tests. The 2-day window for supervised antigen tests opens on Wednesday but registration closes at 1600 Wednesday. This means that all crew members using supervised antigen tests must take their tests as early as possible on Wednesday (the testing “window” opens at midnight) and notify their Captain of the results as soon as possible, but no later than in time for the Captain to register the boat by 1600 that same day (Wednesday).
Boats with entire crews that plan to take PCR tests (allowed 4 days in advance of departure) and receive results quickly (same or next day) may be able to complete on-site registration as early as Tuesday.
The Bermuda Race Organizing Committee leadership will do a webinar on Tuesday, April 5 at 1900 EDT to review this timeline and answer questions. The webinar will be recorded and be on the Bermuda Race website. Register here
Crew members meeting the boat in Bermuda for the return trip follow a similar process for a normal Bermuda Visitor’s Travel Authorization (not a Mariner’s Travel Authorization). https://www.gov.bm/coronavirus-travellers-visitors
Checklist for ALL racers:
- Review the requirements for a Bermuda Mariner’s Travel Authorization now at https://www.gov.bm/mariners-travel-authorisation
- Provide a copy of your COVID vaccination to your skipper.
PCR test option:
- If you want to take a PCR test, take it as soon as possible on Monday, June 13. You can take the test anywhere in the world. Turnaround time for PCR results can be as long as two to three days. It is advisable to arrange for a rapid PCR test.
- Call your skipper and share / report your results as soon as you get them. The skipper must have the result in time to register the boat by 1600 Wednesday, June 15.
- Go online and complete your Mariner’s Travel Authorization at https://www.gov.bm/mariners-travel-authorisation You will need your vaccination card, PCR test results, passport, and information about where you are staying in Bermuda, when you are departing, etc.
- After you receive your approved MTA, go to Bermuda Immigration at Sail Newport with your passport, MTA, return flight/vessel information to pre-clear Immigration no later than 1800 Thursday afternoon. We strongly suggest you go as soon as you can to avoid the crush on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday.
Antigen test option:
- If you want to take an antigen test, take it as early as possible on Wednesday, June 15. You can take the test anywhere in the world. Turnaround time for antigen tests can be as long as 8 hours (or as short as 15 minutes). It is advisable to arrange for a rapid antigen test so as to receive results quickly.
- Call your Captain and report your results as soon as you get them. The Captain must have the results in time to register the boat by 1600 that afternoon, June 15.
- Go online and complete your Mariner’s Travel Authorization at https://www.gov.bm/mariners-travel-authorisation You will need your vaccination card, Antigen test results, passport, and information about where you are staying in Bermuda, when you are departing, etc.
- After you receive your approved MTA, go to Bermuda immigration at Sail Newport with your passport, MTA, return flight/vessel information to pre-clear Immigration no later than 1800 Thursday afternoon. We advise you to complete this as early as you can.
Checklist for Captains:
- Ensure each of your crewmembers understands the actions they must take to obtain Bermuda’s online Mariner’s Travel Authorization (MTA). Review the race week timeline with the crew and develop a plan so that you will be able to register your boat by 1600 Wednesday, June 15.
- Obtain a copy of each crew member’s vaccination certificate. You will need to attest to all crew members vaccination status when you register your boat.
- Review section 13.1 of the Notice of Race regarding registration. The primary reasons for delay at the registration desks are:
- Incomplete crew list on SailGate. All sailors on your boat must be on your crew list in SailGate (with required tasks completed and required roles assigned.)
- No, or invalid Sailor Categorization: Missing, or invalid World Sailing sailor classification for sailors on crew lists in St David’s Lighthouse, Finisterre, or Double Handed divisions but who require category 1 classification to comply with Notice of Race 7, e.g., to steer in St David’s Lighthouse or Finisterre divisions or to satisfy the limits on sailors without category 1 classification.
- Insufficient Offshore or Medical training. All claims for training must be made by each sailor in their SailGate profile.
- Captain not able to attest to the negative test status of every crewmember on the crew list.
Since the large majority of the boats will likely be registering on Wednesday afternoon due to the timing of antigen tests, we very strongly encourage Captains to ensure all items on ‘Live Entry Status’ are resolved and to contact firstname.lastname@example.org in advance to clear up any of the issues listed above should they apply to you.
- Receive the notification from all of the crew members of negative COVID test results before reporting to registration.
- You will be required at registration to certify that each member of the crew has shown you proof of COVID vaccination and have reported to you that they have received a negative COVID test result meeting the requirements for a Mariners Travel Authorization. You will NOT be required to show proof of negative COVID tests for your crew at registration. The proof of negative COVID test must be provided by each sailor when applying for Bermuda’s Maritime Travel Authorization.
- As soon possible after you know all members of your crew list have received negative COVID test results, report to registration at Sail Newport. You may send a representative designated in writing instead of yourself. Registration closes at 1600 on Wednesday, June 15.
- After completing on-site registration, you will pick up a Captain’s bag that will include your Yellow Brick tracker. Almost all race documents such as the Sailing Instructions, scratch list, etc. will be only digital and available online.
Somers Kempe, Chairman
2022 Bermuda Race Organizing Committee