What do Canadians need for cruising to the US?


Beginning in 2016, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has new procedures in place for for Canadian vessels visiting the United States. Canadian vessels are no longer required to purchase a U.S. Customs user fee decal. Instead, they must purchase a cruising license. Cruising licenses are valid for one year.

Here is the press release from U.S. Customs and Border Protection:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Field Operations announces new procedures that are coming to the inspection process for foreign flagged private boats. These procedures will be in addition to the reporting process currently in place. All operators of pleasure boats must report to CBP immediately upon arriving into the United States from a foreign port, place or location; or if they had contact with another vessel outside the U.S.; or if they have received merchandise outside the U.S. territorial waters. Foreign flagged pleasure boats must also make a formal vessel entry on CBP form 1300 within 48 hours after making their immigration entry at a port of entry and pay applicable fees. At the time of entry boaters may request a cruising license from the applicable CBP port director.

“The cruising license will greatly facilitate multiple entries during the year and avoid additional fees for boaters,” said Bellingham Port Director Diana Sandoval.

A cruising license may be available to boats departing from Canada and arriving in the Puget Sound area. A cruising license may exempt foreign flagged pleasure boats (from certain countries) from having to undergo formal CBP entrance and clearance procedures, except at the first CBP port of entry each and every year. Cruising licenses are normally valid for one year.

The operator of a foreign flagged or undocumented foreign pleasure boat without a valid U.S. cruising license must obtain CBP clearance before leaving a port, place or location in the U.S. to depart foreign or must obtain a permit-to-proceed if traveling to another port, place or location within the U.S.

The master, or operator of a foreign flagged boat not traveling under a cruising license will be required to file a formal entry and clearance each time they enter the United States, file the appropriate paperwork, and pay the applicable fees.

Foreign flagged boats traveling under a cruising license would not be required to purchase a CBP decal, which is currently $27.50, for the year.

For questions, please contact the Small Boat Reporting Line at 1-800-562-5943.



New to boating? Check out our basic boating lingo for beginners plus our boat safety checklist.

Contact Van Isle Marina with any questions about entering the United States as a Canadian boater.