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New Customs Rules - the Reality

By Gunnar Eriksson of SY Kahiba — last modified Nov 08, 2012 03:17 PM

Published: 2012-11-08 00:00:00
Countries: Aruba

Information on the new Customs Rules for Aruba, introduced 1 October 2012, can be found here.

5 November 2012

After reading lots of negative stories about complicated clearance procedures, unfriendly officials, etc this is my account of arriving in Aruba yesterday, Sunday November 4.

We tied up to a vacant spot on the immigration dock in Barcadera harbour, complete with fenders so no need to use our own. There was no mention of any harbour fees, we even asked if we could stay 'till the following day and that would have been ok, but we decided to go to the airport anchorage nearby.

Both immigration and customs are located on the dock, the officials were friendly and polite and we were back on board within half an hour. We told immigration and customs we would be staying for 3 weeks, till 28/11 (in fact we will probably only stay for one week). There was no mention of the temporary importation of the boat with associated forms (supposedly in Dutch and requiring an agent to deal with) and no charges whatsoever.

Of the cruisers we've talked to, one paid $70 to an agent for the temporary import, one paid nothing and did it himself, just a one page form he said - and in English.

Compared to Curacao, where it takes half a day to visit 3 different offices spread all over town, and compared to most other countries, this must have been the cheapest (= no cost), fastest and most efficient clearance we have experienced in 9 years of cruising.

We arrived with a German boat and they were treated the same way as we were. I'm not sure if arriving on a Sunday had anything to do with it, but the officials we dealt with were unusually friendly and courteous.

Gunnar Eriksson
Australian yacht Kahiba

(Editor's Note: The new rules have not been modified. They stand as outlined in the news report published by noonsite. There are still however some growing pains; not all customs officers know exactly what the procedure is. It has been confirmed that Customs has decided that if a yacht stays less than five days it's senseless to do the procedure as it takes them  5 to 7 days to process the paperwork. On the harbour tie up fee: You only have to pay it if the port security shows up to collect. In practice they don't always show up. Our thanks to Sanders of East Wind Marine Services for confirming these details.)

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