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Decal / Transponder Online Procurement System (DTOPS)

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by RASSELASFLUS, Feb 29, 2012.

  1. RASSELASFLUS

    RASSELASFLUS New Member

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    I recently came across this subject at the marina. I was told you must have this decal on your vessel if you travel to the Bahamas or outside US waters. Please weigh in on this subject and let me and others know if you have registered your vessel with DTOPS, does it make entering and leaving the US easier, do other countries recognize it, etc. Thanks.
  2. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    The customs decal is a user fee only necessary to clear when you come back. There is nothing for other country to recognize

    Couple of years ago i came back from the bahamas without the current sticker. When clearing on the phone I told the agent I would get it in person at the port when clearing immigration. They said ok, turned out the disnt sell them at the port and it had to be done on line... They cleared me anyway

    I ordered the 2012 sticker a couple of days ago on line since we re heading to the exumas in a couple of weeks.
  3. RASSELASFLUS

    RASSELASFLUS New Member

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    So we need more than Passports

    Thanks. Do you also know about this Small Vessel Reporting System? We thought we could just get in our boat and sail off towards the sun with our passports but it appears there are manys hoops to jump through as we are learning.
  4. Silver Lining

    Silver Lining Member

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    As Pascal said, you need to have the customs sticker to clear back in the US. It is very easy to do on line. This is separate though from clearing all passengers through US customs on return. On return to US waters, you have to call the SVRS and they will ask for all passenger and crew names with passport numbers. You will be given a clearance number and then you and all passengers are required to report to customs in person to complete the clearance. There is a substantiual fine if the captain or any passengers do not report to customs and clear in person.

    FL though has made it very easy with the Local Boater Option. You go in person for a 5 minute interview with passport at customs and are given a LBO card and can clear by phone on return. You still may be required to report in person, but we have never been asked to. The phone call is much quicker with the LBO card and any passengers without LBO cards can report seaparately.
  5. Seaclusion

    Seaclusion New Member

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    This whole process varies from state to state. Go to your local customs office and find out what applies in your state. For example, the process in the state of Washington is completely different than the process in Alaska. In Washington, we can call and get the clearance number over the phone, if you have pre-registered. That pre-registration is no good up in Alaska where they will physically come down to your vessel and clear you. Up in Alaska they don't even given you a clearance number. As I understand it, it is a matter of local interpertation (and administration) of the regs.

    So check with your local office.
  6. RASSELASFLUS

    RASSELASFLUS New Member

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    Thanks for the information.
  7. Ken Bracewell

    Ken Bracewell Senior Member

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    Just to be clear- this is Immigration. The first step (phone call) is to clear Customs.
    With the LBO, you won't be required to clear Immigration
  8. Silver Lining

    Silver Lining Member

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    Your post made me wonder as when previousy clearing in person in S FL or getting our LBO cards, I only remember seeing the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) insignia. After a little research, to clarrify:

    In the United States, there is no INS and "immigration" as it use to exist. The INS and Customs (formerly part of the Justice and Treasury respectively) have been integrated into the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency within DHS.

    INS functions were transferred from the Department of Justice to three new components within the newly formed Department of Homeland Security: US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

    CBP performs passport control and routine inspection functions, while the investigative functions (which formerly were part of the same agencies that performed inspections) are now performed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

    As such, there are no separate "immigration" and "customs" inspections. However, at most large international airports, travelers go through two inspections stations:

    1) Passport Control - also known as "Primary" - Here, a CBP officer scans the MRZ on your passport OR permanent residency card OR visa, checks for admissibility, looks for any outstanding warrants etc.

    2) Customs - After you pick up your checked luggage if any, you present your stamped customs declaration to another CBP at the exit door. This officer checks for any codes written on the form by the "primary" officer. The officer then decides whether you should receive a secondary.

    At smaller stations, or when arriving on private aircraft, or at land/sea ports of entry, one single CBP officer might perform both of the above functions.

    Note that in S. Florida, CBP has implemented revised clearance procedures for pleasure boats arriving in the United States from foreign waters. In the pleasure boat environment, the master of any vessel must report their arrival to CBP after having been at any foreign port or place or after having contact with any hovering vessel.

    The Local Boater Option allows a participant, under certain circumstances, to telephonically report the arrival of their private vessel, make customs declarations, submit any necessary additional information, and be cleared for Immigration purposes without the need to report to a port of entry in person. If an arriving passenger is not an LBO participant, the master must insure that the unregistered passenger reports to a CBP office in a timely manner.

    CBP retains the authority to require LBO participants to report for a physical inspection and/or board the arriving vessel.

    The program is only available to private vessels arriving into ports of South Florida, Tampa, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands.
  9. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    I ve never enrolled in LBOnsince we usually have non LBO guests who need to be taken to immigration anyway

    Last year for the first time, the boat was inspected the next morning. 4 ICE agents showed up at the marina, very friendly, were mostly concerned about fruits and veggies we had on board, actually all bought in MIA since we were only away got about a week. Asked that we discard some of the fruits and flowers in double bags as they could have been infested by bugs...
  10. RASSELASFLUS

    RASSELASFLUS New Member

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    Thank you for putting this in simple language. I have a clear understanding now. Thank all of you for helping me to understand this issue.
  11. missnmountains

    missnmountains Member

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    Pascal,

    We have had non LBO guest a few times, and we just reported their passport numbers on the phone when checking back in along with our LBO numbers.

    It did not seem to be an issue for them. We usually arrive at Key Largo or Marathon before heading back to the gulf side. And as you probably know, there are no close offices (Miami North and Key West South).

    Ken
  12. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    And they didn't required the non LBO enrolled guests to report in person? Every time they suggest we enroll and I ask about non LBO guests the tell me they have to report in person. And since I have to take them there (courtesy and to make sure they do...) LBO doesn't really have any benefits for me
  13. missnmountains

    missnmountains Member

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    No they did not require them to report in person. Got a clearance number each time. It appears to me just to be standard procedure for them. They ask just a few questions, get the LBO numbers, and then ask for the passport numbers for the non LBO guests.

    Ken
  14. d_meister

    d_meister Senior Member

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    We have returned from the Bahamas with non-LBO guests and we were expressly instructed that they must report to Customs within 24 hours. The guests went home that night and downloaded the LBO application and Customs processed the apps for them when they went to check in the next day.
    The LBO instructions are very clear on the check in requirement. One guest suggested that Customs wouldn't know if they were on the boat or not when we called in. The Boss, to his credit, declined taking the risk.
  15. missnmountains

    missnmountains Member

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    So it depends on who answers the phone. I was always a little concerned about this. And I agree, it isn't worth the risk. I am going to request LBO's for all guests. The issue for us is where we make landfall back into the US. It is very far to a Customs office.

    Ken
  16. Seaclusion

    Seaclusion New Member

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    Keep in mind that in todays age of computers, customs officals on either side of the border know more about you and your vessel than you could ever believe. Get caught once, even for a very minor infraction, and you will be in their computer, for life. And once there, your custom's check-in will no longer be over the phone, but in person.
  17. Sea Gull

    Sea Gull Member

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    Hijacking and old thread to ask a related question... i just got my first CBP decal and wondering where others place them. The official word is 18" from the main point of entry, but we have at least two ( port and starboard ). I'm thinking of putting it on or near the salon door. Where are you putting your decal?
  18. d_meister

    d_meister Senior Member

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    The only real use for the decal is when a CBP Officer comes aboard to check you in. That Officer will need to transcribe the number on the decal to the inspection paperwork, so place it in a position where it is easy to read for the officer when or if one comes aboard. No one walks the docks looking for the decals, to the best of my knowledge. If they did, right here in San Diego would be the likeliest place!
  19. Silver Lining

    Silver Lining Member

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    I just keep my decal in the drawer with my LBO cards and documentation. You will need the number every time you call to clear in. I have never been boarded by CBP but would simply produce my decal if needed.
  20. Cruz

    Cruz Member

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    Also new to this but do the same. Besides Sea Gull - too nice of a boat to mar with stickers : )