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By No owner — last modified Oct 24, 2017 12:58 PM

 Aruba - Formalities


Fly the 'Q' flag once in Aruban waters until clearance is completed. The correct courtesy flag is that of the Netherlands, but a request can be made for an Aruban flag.

To clear in you MUST currently go to the commercial dock at Oranjestad NOT Barcadera Harbour. Full details on the location of the clearance dock can be found on the Oranjestad noonsite page.

On approach, call “Aruba Port Control” on VHF channel 16 (or 11). The port Captain will switch to channel 11 or 14. Then request permission to enter the harbour to clear Customs and Immigration. Everyone must remain on board until clearance is completed. Once berthed alongside, the officials will come to the boat.

There are only a couple of forms to complete. These can be downloaded and completed in advance - see Customs and Immigration below - although officials will arrive with plenty of blank forms.

Both agencies will arrive at your boat by car.

Customs will want you to fill out two identical forms, one for check-in, one for check-out. They will want clearance from last port, vessel documentation and your check-in form. They may do a quick search of your boat for firearms and spear guns, they hold spear guns until departure.

Immigration will want you to fill out one single crew list form, and a small card for each crew member. Give them the form, cards, passports, and a copy of vessel documentation.

Both agencies will take their required forms/documents/passports etc. to their offices and in a short time will return with your passports, documents and clearances.

Clearance is reported to be swift and efficient, and there are no clearance charges. However, if visiting during the cruise ship season (October - April) there may be longer waiting times.

When leaving the clearance dock, be sure to check first with Port Control for permission. Cruise ships have right of way here.

On departure, be sure to obtain clearance out of Aruba.

Last updated October 2017.

Aruba Port Authority
Port Administration Building , L.G. Smith Blvd. 23 , Oranjestad, Aruba
Tel:(297) 523-4300 Fax: (297) 523-4343 ,VHF Channel 16, 11
Call on approach to arrange clearance.


Passports are required for all visitors.

The Immigration form (three copies will be required) for yacht crews can be downloaded at

Visa requirements:
Even though Aruba is now an autonomous country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, it has its own visas rules.

Citizens of the USA, Canada, U.K., Ireland and a Schengen Area country do not require a visa. .

Other nationalities should download entry requirements from

The initial period of time that a person can be admitted to Aruba as a tourist is 30 days, however, a longer period can be requested on entry.  The total amount of days a person can stay in Aruba, as a tourist cannot exceed 180 days per year. For a list of nationalities who can extend their 30 day stay for up to 180 days, go to the above link.

If you plan to stay longer than 30 days, ask for an extension on entry.

Last updated January 2017.

Aruba Immigration
Tel:(297) 585-8200


The Customs form (two copies are needed) can be downloaded at

If the yacht stays 180 days or less, a temporary import permit will need to be applied for. However, no deposit will be required.

This does not have to be done on arrival but your customs broker will have to start the process of the declaration no later than your second day on the island.

In practice, it appears that Customs officials do not expect a TIP if a yacht is staying 5 days or less as issuing the declaration takes up to 5 or 7 days to process.

Any time a yacht is stored in an official Customs Storage facility (i.e. the one at Varadero Caribe), storage time is not included in the 180 days.

If the yacht stays longer than 180 days, up to a year, a temporary import permit (TIP) will need to be applied for with payment of a deposit (or a bank guarantee) for the value of the duties for the yacht.

At the expiration of the TIP the yacht will have to leave the island for at least 15 days before a new temporary permit can be applied for.

If the yacht stays longer than a year, the yacht will have to be imported.

Yachts brought into Aruba with the intention of sale will have to pay duties upon arrival.

Other Customs Rules

Firearms and spear guns must be declared. These will be held until your departure.

Customs may undertake a quick search of your boat.

Oranjestad is a tax-free port and currently no customs restrictions apply on imports.

Last updated February 2017.

Aruba Customs
Tel:(297) 583-0738


ZIKA VIRUS ALERT: There have been recent safety alerts from the US State Department, UK Foreign Office, and Center for Disease Control (CDC) regarding travel to parts of Central and South America, Africa, southern Asia, the Caribbean, and the South Pacific islands. Aruba is an area of interest with multiple reported cases and active virus transmission. There is growing concern about the rapid spread of the ZIKA Virus and the impact of the virus on pregnant women and babies. ZIKA is transmitted by mosquitos in tropical and sub-tropical climates, and there is currently no cure or vaccine. This situation is evolving rapidly, so please refer to the CDC’s dedicated website if you are intending to cruise in one of the effected areas.

Last updated September 2016.


There are no Customs & Immigration fees.

For an agent to arrange the Temporary Import Permit, the cost is approx. US$ 65.00 to US$ 100.00, or about $25 if you just use an agent to draw up the paperwork before visiting the offices yourself.

Last updated February 2017.


Wider Caribbean's Marine Protected Areas (CaMPAM)
A useful database of MPAs in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean region. All Marine Parks are MPAs, and therefore if wanting to find out about any marine parks in the islands you are visiting, details and location can be sourced via this website.

Clearance Agents

Ashley Broker
Tel:+ 297 593-8305
S.E.L. Maduro & Sons (Aruba) Inc.
Rockefellerstraat 1 , Oranjestad, Aruba
Tel:(297) 528-2300 Fax:(297) 582-6003
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 8:00am - 5:00pm
Contact M. Mario Kelly


Details on Pet Regulations can be found here

Dogs and cats are only allowed entry with valid rabies and health certificates and to have resided in USA or other country with low incidence of rabies for 6 months immediately prior to travel to Aruba.

Pets from Southern and Central America, Cuba, Haiti or the Dominican Republic via USA are not permitted to land in Aruba.

Last updated March 2016.

Aruba Tourism Authority
PO Box 1019 , Oranjestad , Aruba
Tel:297 (8) 23777 Fax:Fax 297 (8) 34702
Contact for information on bringing your pet to Aruba.
Kwasnr says:
Oct 22, 2017 04:04 PM

Agree with everything Amazing Marvin wrote..

Rick SV Airborne

Kwasnr says:
Oct 22, 2017 03:57 PM

October 2017:
The only place worse than Aruba to tie up to for clearance is Barbados... Concrete dock, old black tractor tires, lousy placement of cleats, no one to help with lines, and winds and swells pushing you onto the dock... Not cruiser friendly at all...

The island is great, but not sure the struggle with checking in and checking out is worth it?

RonaldL says:
Feb 02, 2017 06:39 PM

Despite earlier messages, we found the Navionics charts dated september 2016, to be spot on.

RonaldL says:
Feb 02, 2017 06:35 PM

The Port Athority has listened to complaints appearantly: for immigration and customs, when entering from sea go to the commercial harbour, go in between red and green bouys, just stay in the channel between the docks on your starboard and the reef on your port, just before the giant yellow crane at the second slip you see at the round corner of that slip some yellow boulders and a white wooden board for your fenders. Briljant. Only the mooring lines should still be somewhat longer and not new! Use some old ones. It is a bit bumpy because of windwaves in the harbour and wake from passing ships. But not problematic. You will be between big tugs probably. If a cruiseship is entering the main channel, you will almost be able to touch it, so close does it seem to be.
However before entering the harbour from sea, call Aruba Port Control CH11 for permission to enter.
When docked the immigration and customs officers will come by car to your boat for the simple effective procedure (yes, 2 forms to be filled out and an entry-card for each crewmember.
When leaving the dock, first check with Port Control if they allow you to move, cruiseships have right of way here.
This is all our experiece when entering Aruba february 2017.

burnettmed says:
Oct 26, 2015 09:54 PM

I agree with the comments on clearing in at Aruba. At the moment, they still have you go to the commercial dock right next to the marina in Oranjestad, not Barcadera, to clear customs first, which is frustrating as the Renaissance Marina and customs are literally right next door to each other. The reason many don’t like the dock is because it is not designed for small boats. Huge, rotting rubber tires 1.5 feet wide line the concrete dock and oil the side of your boat, and the giant bollards provided to lasso your lines around are spaced too far apart. We had to tie our 48 foot catamaran dockside to a bollard at the bow and a tiny rusty hook (not cleat) that happened to be sticking out of the ground at the stern, because the next bollard was too far away. No one is there to help you tie up, which means the lineperson has to lasso the bollard from the boat or jump the huge divide between the boat and the dock created by the fat tires. If the port authority arrives early, they will just watch the madness from their cars. We heard that the port people are not trained to handle lines (not sure why, liability?) and apparently too many sailors/yachties screamed at them when they tried to help in the past. When we went to check out, a very nice dockworker assigned to the tugboat next door helped us with our lines. We thanked him profusely! Would recommend putting all fenders out on the port side and have some long lines available as you approach the dock.
It is also irritating that you have to return to the same dock to check out, “in case they need to inspect your boat,” which they apparently rarely do. However, once docked, customs and immigration came to the boat immediately for us, and the check-in and check-out process was as quick as it could be (you can’t escape all those declaration forms!) We were done in 45 minutes. Note “Cruise Ship Season” is October through April; might be busier then as they get up to four ships a day, and they all come in before noon and leave around sunset. Would therefore recommend an afternoon check-in/check-out.
Note that our Navionics Gold charts were completely off regarding buoy locations, depths, and just about anything around Oranjestad. It’s unbelievable how bad they are, especially since the Garmin charts we run on our iPad were much more accurate.
However, it would be a tragedy if one skipped visiting Aruba because of fear of the customs dock. It is a fun island, and the people are friendly! It is expensive and some of the best sites are away from marinas and anchorages, so I think those with enough resources to afford renting a car for a few days to explore would get the most out of it. I highly recommend for places you can snorkel without paying a tour company, and has excellent info on anchorages and more details on clearing in.
Renaissance Marina doesn’t have many spots and is pricey, but the location is primo and with your fees you get access to Renaissance Island as well as the hotels and pools within walking distance from the marina. They use med mooring. This was the first time we med-moored, and it was easy because the marina sends someone out on a dinghy to help you with the ball, and they also have a trained person at the dock to help with lines. It helps if you have long docklines; we bought two 60-ft ones while there from the marina store. This chandlery is well-stocked with good pricing and helpful staff.
Do not pay for “Wi-Fi Aruba!” It is slow and clunky. We got much better Wi-Fi boosting up the marina’s Renaissance Wi-Fi. Unlike in America, the Wi-Fi at Starbucks in Aruba is terrible.
Melinda Burnett
SV The Amazing Marvin

Debswoods says:
Jul 17, 2015 01:10 PM

You must call Aruba Port Control for permission to enter Oranjestad. We were asked to wait an hour before entering which can be a bit tricky if it is blowing as it was for us (35kn). You may need to be patient as we then had trouble contacting Aruba Port Control and had to ask Ren Marina for some assistance contacting them. The Customs Quay is H quay you come past the Marina and there are two docks on the right and it is the most Northerly dock. There are yellow bollards. Be aware this is used for cargo ships also and there are large tyres keeping you off the quay for the most part but in some areas these are missing and there are some nasty looking rusty extrusions so it is advisable to have plenty of fenders out on the port side to keep your hull from being marked. If you are single handed there may be someone on the quay to help but this is a little haphazard. We then had to wait over three hours for customs and immigration to come to can be frustrating. Leaving Aruba you reverse the process and for us having expected to be waiting on the Customs Quay a while we were rushed through and told to be off the quay and out in five minutes and leave via the Northern channel as a large ship was due in. All yachts are now being asked to use the Customs Quay whilst work is ongoing at Barcadera and so calling Aruba Port Control on Ch 16/11 is necessary to ensure you don't argue with any of the large cruise liners and container ships in the Port!
Renaissance Marina were very helpful and sorted out all the paperwork for us. Having said we would be there for 7 days was over three weeks before we finally got a weather window for Colombia.
SV Orion1

gregory vanwinkle
gregory vanwinkle says:
Jan 24, 2015 03:02 PM

Call Aruba Port Control on VHF 11. They will direct you to Barcadera or the North Basin beside the cruise ship dock which is 100mt from the Ren Marina. If in Aruba more than 7 days, will have to temp import vessel. (65$)

Ren marina is a god clean marina. full access to all hotel amenities etc.

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