Who Must Report
All U.S. Citizens and aliens seeking entry to the United States must report their arrivals.
Masters - The master or person in charge of the boat must report their arrival to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. For the purpose of these instructions, the term "boat," means any vessel not engaged in trade or documented trade (not carrying merchandise or passengers for hire) such as pleasure boats and yachts, regardless of size. This requirement applies to all boats regardless of country of registration. Additionally, boats registered outside Canada or the U.S. must contact a local CBP office for a cruising license.
Aliens - All aliens (including alien crewmen) who are applicants for admission or otherwise seeking admission or readmission into the U.S. must report for inspection by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer.
U.S. Citizens - Persons claiming to be U.S. citizens must report to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer to establish that fact to the examining officer's satisfaction.
Personal Travel Document Requirements
Beginning January 31, 2008, U.S. and Canadian citizens 19 years and older who enter the United States at land and sea ports of entry from within the Western Hemisphere will need to present government-issued photo I.D., such as a driver's license as proof of identity, along with proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate or naturalization certificate, or a passport. Children age 18 and under will be able to enter with proof of citizenship. Verbal claims of citizenship and identity alone will not be sufficient to establish identity and citizenship for entry into the United States. Please visit the Sea Travel website for details.
When Reporting Is Required
Masters must report their arrival to U.S. Customs and Border Protection if having been engaged in any of the below activities:
- After having been at any foreign port or place
- After having had contact with any hovering vessel
The master or designee may go ashore only to report the arrival to U.S. Customs and Border Protection either in person or by telephone. No other person may leave or board the boat and no baggage or merchandise may be removed or loaded until the report of arrival is made and release granted by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer.
Where to Report
Reports of arrival may be made at any of the following ports of entry. Upon report of arrival a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer will provide further instructions regarding designated reporting locations and entry processing. The boat must be made available for possible boarding at the time of the report.
Ports of Entry
- Gulfport, Mississippi
(228) 863-6350 (8 am to 5 pm, M-F)
- Lake Charles, Louisiana
(337) 439-5512 (8 am to 5 pm, M-F)
- Mobile, Alabama
(251) 378-7600 (8 am to 5 pm, M-F)
- Morgan City, Louisiana
(985) 632-8182 (8 am to 5 pm, M-F)
- New Orleans, Louisiana (also for boats proceeding to up river locations)
(504) 623-6600 (6 am to 10 pm, S-S)
- Pascagoula, Mississippi
(228) 762-7311 (8 am to 5 pm, M-F)
Note: For after hours reporting, call 1-800-973-2867.
Upon arrival at each port or place in the United States, the master shall report the fact of arrival to the nearest Customs and Border Protection port of entry. Foreign flagged yachts in possession of a cruising license shall not engage in trade or violate the laws of the United States in any respect. Applications for cruising licenses are to be obtained from the CBP port director at the first port of arrival in the United States.
Failure to Report
Reporting requirements for persons are established under the regulation promulgated pursuant to the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA), found at 8 CFR 235.1(a), which requires that application to lawfully enter the United States shall be made in person to a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at a United States Port of Entry. Report of arrival requirements for vessels are established under 19 U.S.C. 1433 and the implementing regulation, found at 19 CFR 4.2, which requires that upon arrival in any port or place within the United States, the master of the vessel shall immediately report that arrival to the nearest CBP facility or other designated location.
Failure to report can result in civil penalties as defined in Title 19, United States Code, Section 1459 to include a penalty of $5,000 for the first violation and $10,000 for each subsequent violation with the conveyance subject to seizure and forfeiture. In addition to being liable for a civil penalty, any master who intentionally commits a violation under 19 United States Code 1436(a), upon conviction, is liable for a fine of not more than $2,000 or imprisonment for 1 year or both.
All documented or registered vessels 30 feet in length or greater are required to pay an annual processing (user fee) of $25.00 (U.S. currency). Payment is required for the vessel at or before the time of the first arrival for each calendar year. Private pleasure vessels not required to pay a user fee include vessels less than 30 feet in length and vessels granted a cruising license, under 19 CFR 4.94, during the term of the license.
User fee decals may be purchased by mailing payment and a completed Annual User Fee Decal Request, CBP form 339 to:
Customs and Border Protection
Decal Program Administrator
P.O. Box 382030
Pittsburgh, PA 15250-8030
Decals may also be purchased via the Internet at the Decal and Transponder Online Procurement System (DTOPS). (Decal and Transponder Online Procurement System (DTOPS))
If you purchased your decal through the Mellon Bank, Pittsburgh, Pa., the U.S. Customs and Border Protection User Fee Administrator will handle your annual decal mailings/reminders at the Mellon Bank. Please carry a copy of the decal application for verification if you have submitted payment to Mellon Bank and have not received your decal.
Statutory and Administrative Authorities
8 USC 1225(a)(3) - Inspection by Immigration Officers
19 USC 1433(a)(1), 1436 and 1459 - Report of Arrival of Vessels
8 CFR 235.1 - Inspection of Persons Applying for Admission
19 CFR 4.2 and 4.51 - Reports of Arrival of Vessels, and Reporting Requirements for Individuals Arriving by Vessel
19 CFR 4.94 - Yacht Privileges and Obligations (Cruising Licenses)
Reporting Suspicious Activities
Please report any suspicious activities observed to 1-800-BE-ALERT (1-800-232-5378) or the after hours toll free number 1-800-562-5943.