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Pleasure Boats - Obtaining a cruising license after old one expires
Can I get a cruising license after my old one has expired?
Cruising licenses exempt pleasure boats of certain countries from having to undergo formal entry and clearance procedures such as filing manifests and obtaining permits to proceed as well as from the payment of tonnage tax and entry and clearance fees at all but the first port of entry.
These licenses can be obtained from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Port Director at the first port of arrival in the United States. Cruising licenses are normally valid for up to a year.
Resident aliens may apply for successive cruising licenses if their foreign-flag vessel was made in the U.S. or if duty has been paid on its importation provided that the vessel is documented under the laws of one of the countries listed in 19 CFR 4.94(b).
Under CBP policy, non-U.S. residents are not eligible for successive cruising licenses. A new license will not be issued unless the following two conditions have been met: (1) at least 15 days have elapsed since the previous license either expired or was surrendered, and (2) the vessel arrives in the U.S. from a foreign port or place. (Customs Directive 3130-006A) CBP will want to see foreign clearance paperwork as evidence that you are arriving from a foreign location.
Non-residents are cautioned to plan carefully so that the mandatory 15-day period does not fall in the middle of a planned stay in U.S. waters. It may make sense to surrender your cruising license to a CBP Officer when you leave U.S. waters and then obtain a new one when you re-enter the U.S. Traveling outside of U.S. waters while your cruising license is still in effect does NOT fulfill the 15-day requirement.