Posted by Claiborne Young | Posted on 08-14-2012
Ronnie gives us up to date information and Jerold would like more explanation:
Customs and Border Protection Decal – Renewal Lead Time Now Running 60 Days
For cruisers planning to head to the Bahamas this year. I just spoke to the Customs and Border Protection – Decal Renewal office in Indianapolis. Because of reduced government staffing, their processing time is currently running 4-6 weeks from the time they receive the correct completed application and payment for a sticker (or renewal). Allowing for receipt in the mail, they suggest that people apply at least 60 days prior to their planned departure. This can be done online or by mail, and requires that an account be set up with C&BP.
Regular cruisers to the Bahamas in HISC probably renew this decal annually in November for the following calendar year. For those not aware of the need to have it (first time Bahamas cruisers), or who prefer wait until a closer time to their departure, the new 60-day lead time could become a challenge.
What is this border protection decal all about. My first time going there, will they turn me away or not be allowed to get back into the US? I have passport, boat papers, etc. Need to understand this decal stuff….
In answer to your question about the Customs Sticker, on re-entry you are required to give this number to Customs and Border Protection as part of your clearance. I hope you are aware of the Local Boater Option which allows you to pre-register with CBP and then a simple phone call upon arrival in US will complete your clearance. You can access this information via Decal and Transponder Online System Email firstname.lastname@example.org , PH: 317-298-1245. Customs/Border for the Local Boater Option, http://www.cbp.gov. Hope this is helpful.
Having just talked to the decal people (8/9/2012), they do not even begin processing the 2013 stickers until September. This makes getting it onboard tricky for those who leave home port early.