Entering by ferry from the Bahamas
Replies: 8 - Last Post: Mar 18, 2013 5:26 PM Last Post By: max_mexico
Jan 19, 2013 5:40 AM
Entering by ferry from the BahamasHello!
I am doing a 'round-the-world trip without using any airplanes. One of my possible destinations coming from South Africa would be the Bahamas. From there I would take the ferry to Florida if not finding another option to reach mainland. I am a citizen of Finland (EU). I have so far traveled from Finland to South Africa.
I am traveling without airplanes so I couldn't possess a flight ticket out of USA. Do you think this is a problem? How do people usually convince the immigration officials in a case like this that they would leave the country? It would be a little tricky having all the bus/trains tickets ready if, for example, I would travel through all of Southern USA and leave going over the border to Mexico.
Any comments, information or advice appreciated!
Jan 19, 2013 7:33 AM
1The ferry website says you need a US visa.
You may also need Bahamian visa to enter the Bahamas.
Jan 19, 2013 7:55 AM
Jan 19, 2013 8:11 AM
3One of the requirements to enter the US under the Visa Waiver Program is that, if you arrive by air or sea, you must arrive on what is called a "signatory carrier." That means that the air or shipping company has signed an agreement with the US government concerning passengers who will be using the VWP to enter the US. Bahamas Express - Baleària is not on the list.
Therefore, as the company says
(By the way, in case anyone is interested, I discovered the other day that "ferries between Vancouver and Victoria, BC and Washington state... are treated as a land border port," so no ESTA or onward ticket. required. Source)
Jan 19, 2013 8:37 AM
Jan 19, 2013 2:09 PM
5Most cruise companies are signatories so you might be able to pick up a leg of a cruise to do the journey.
You'd still have the requirement for a return or onward ticket though - no way around that under the VWP so it wouldn't really help..
The ferries around BC are effectively an extension of the road system - floating roads if you like, more than transport. There's a similar arrangement in the Thousands Islands area where there's a tiny ferry from Ontario into NY state - must be the world's smallest international car ferry with not much more than half a dozen spaces
Mar 18, 2013 3:02 PM
I'm in the same position as Markus. Next week I'm flying to Cuba and will sail with my friends to Bahamas.. From there they will start crossing Atlantic and I would like to visit my friend in Florida. I have return ticket from US to Europe but I guess I need some kind of visa.
As a Italian, when I was just on airport in transit, I needed only ESTA application. By the entering the US with a ferry is something different or?
Is it better to take a plain or a ferry from Bahamas to Florida?
Any advice, useful information and help appreciated!
Mar 18, 2013 3:18 PM
7If you fly from the Bahamas to Florida, you will not need a visa. You can enter under the Visa Waiver Program. That allows you to stay in the US for 90 days. ESTA is not how you enter the US. It is a pre-approval that verifies that you appear to be eligible to enter under the Visa Waiver Program and that you are not on a list of people the US does not want. The airline will not let you board without ESTA approval.
ESTA approval is good for two years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.
If you take the ferry, you must have a visa. Since you are leaving next week, it is very unlikely that you could get a visa before you leave.
_SISTEMA ELETTRONICO PER L'AUTORIZZAZIONE AL VIAGGIO _ (ESTA)
Viaggio senza Visto (Visa Waiver Program) Scroll down to read more.
The plural of anecdote is not data.
Mar 18, 2013 5:26 PM
An interesting idea. As as been discussed ad infinitum on this forum and confirmed by the CBP, a return/onward ticket is not a requirement in practice. For the type of journey the OP describes, I am fairly sure he would be allowed in without a visa -- assuming he would have been allowed in if he crossed the land border that is. And assuming a cruise company would let him on the boat??
Ferry sounds more fun to me, but depending on where exactly on Bahamas you'll be, it's not necessarily much cheaper than a flight. And if you need a US visa (which I imagine the ferry company might require), the cost of the visa alone is more than a Nassau - Miami/FLL flight!
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