us customs
Reporting Requirements for Pleasure Boat Operators
When a private vessel arrives at a port of call in the United States, the Master of the vessel must report arrival immediately to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and must physically present themselves and their passengers for admission into the U.S. If all passengers on board are participants in an alternate inspections program such as the I-68, they need not present themselves for inspections but must still report arrival.) For a list of ports that accept private vessel arrivals please see our brochure "Pleasure Boats/Reporting Requirements" by clicking on the link on the right side of this page.

If the vessel is U.S. flagged or is a foreign-flag vessel that does not qualify for a cruising license, and is 30 feet or longer in length, the owner must obtain a user fee decal, which is available for $25 (See "related links" to the right for more information).

If a foreign flagged vessel will be sailing to a number of ports during a stay in the United States, it may be eligible for a cruising license. This license exempts pleasure boats of certain countries from having to undergo formal entry and clearance procedures at all but the first port of entry. If your vessel is eligible, please request the cruising license at your first port of entry. Eligible countries are listed in the "Pleasure Boats" brochure.

There are certain entry requirements of which boaters should be particularly aware. One is the requirement to obtain approval from ATF - in advance - for the entry of all firearms on board the vessel. If you do not have the approved ATF Form 6 for firearms, CBP will detain them. Please see our brochure for further information, or go to the on-line form by clicking on the appropriate link to the right in the "On the Web" section.

Another requirement is to declare currency and negotiable monetary instruments, if you have more than $10,000 on board. Failure to do so could result in the seizure of the money. The form for declaring currency is to the right in the "On the Web" section.

Finally, CBP now strictly enforces the requirement to declare all foodstuffs on board, in particular, fresh fruits and vegetables and meat products. While many items may be admissible, it is essential that they be declared so that a CBP officer can inspect them to make sure they are free of pests or disease. Failure to declare could result in a $1,000 fine.

Vessels that are entered into the United States for display at boat shows, testing, to take part in a race (not for money) and will not be in the United States for more than 90 days, may be admitted without formal consumption entry or bond. A certificate identifying the boat will be issued to the importer and must be delivered with the vessel to the CBP office at the point of departure from the country. If a vessel entered for such purposes will be in the country for more than 90 days the importer will be required to post a bond. Any boats entered for sale or for sale on approval are not eligible for the Temporary Importation Under Bond (TIB) program and must be entered as a formal entry on a form CF7501.

US. Customs Web site - All information needed for departure and entry into the U.S.