The Marshall Islands capital is one of the easiest places in the Pacific to clear in, with everything often achieved within an hour. On approaching the pass, or shortly after coming through, you are required to attempt to contact the port control on VHF Channel 16. Generally, however, there will be no response. Instead, you can call the cruising fleet on VHF Channel 71 (hailing frequency) and then move to Channel 68 for conversation and ask for assistance from a fellow sailor.
Their recommendation will most likely be to pick up a suggested mooring (it is allowed for another yacht to assist you onto a mooring) and then go in your dinghy to the RRE (Robert Reimers Enterprises) Shoreline area.
You can then take a taxi (75 cents or $1 per person) to the Capital Building (about 10 minutes away) where, on the ground floor, you will find Customs (collared shirt, trousers or dress that reaches below the knee required). Customs will then give you instructions to go to Immigration in the Mako Building, which is a five to 10 minute walk.
Absolutely the best time to arrive in Majuro is during business hours Monday to Friday and not on a public holiday (of which there are quite a number – check the US Embassy website for the list of RMI (and US) holidays). If you arrive out of hours or on a holiday the officials clearing you in will each charge you an extra fee that is to be paid to the Secretary of Finance at the Capital Building.
The overtime fees are: Immigration $100, Customs $100, and Quarantine $75. This is payable even if you are doing the paperwork when the various offices are open or not.
Follows are a few more UNOFFICIAL items related to Immigration/visa rules and the clearing in process (in no particular order):
- It’s recommended you contact Immigration at least 72 hours in advance of your arrival: email@example.com.
- All American citizens can live and work in RMI without the need of a visa.
- Non-American cruisers used to be (until about October, 2013) given a special six-month cruisers visa. Immigration officials now “tend” to give non-Americans a three-month visa and then, instead of an extension, you can buy for $200 a year’s visa, which is not renewable. Variations on this are that non-Americans may be required to purchase the year-long $200 visa on arrival or that you will be given the earlier used 6-month free cruising visa.
- If you have a sat phone or are planning ahead and would like to contact Customs and Immigration, the country’s area code is 692. Customs: 625-8606, Immigration: 625-8633.
- If another cruiser organizes for the officials to clear you at the RRE Shoreline area, on average 50 percent of the time the paperwork will be done ashore … the other 50 percent of the time they will request to visit your vessel. If your dinghy is extremely small, or difficult to put in the water on short notice, with approval another yachtie may assist you to and from the Shoreline.
OUTER ISLAND ENTRY PERMITS
Entry Permits is required for each atoll. (Fees: free to $250.)
Obtain forms at the Ministry of Internal Affairs (brown building on the lagoon side next to Mobil Oil tank farm), 2nd Floor: 625-8240. Request a copy of the Lagoon Entry Fees when you pick up permit forms.
When you visit the atoll, present your permit and pay the fee to the acting mayor (if it was not collected by the mayor on Majuro). You must pay the fee again if revisiting the atoll.
Recommend you make copies of your approved permits and have the acting mayor sign it when paying the fee.
For Bikini and Rongelap, obtain approved Entry Permits at the Ministry, and then take them for secondary approval to their respective City Halls (between RRE and G&L).
Atoll with US military base for those cruisers looking for work. You must have a sponsor to visit. Civilian employment requires 2-year contract. Cannot live on vessel if working.