Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Good News for American Cruisers in Palau!

On March 23, 2009, Koror State Government amended their Rock Islands Management and Conservation Act to clarify definitions of Tourist, Citizen and Non-Citizen, with respect to Koror State tourist permit requirements. For American citizens visiting or cruising Palau for extended periods this change is a welcome clarification that clearly states the rules with respect to residency and notes the process required to secure a Koror State Resident Identification Card. That’s good news for American cruisers!

Palau enjoys a very special relationship with the United States under an agreement known as the Compact of Free Association and in return American citizens are entitled to a one-year Tourist Visa at no charge. As a result, many American cruisers opt to remain and cruise in Palau for an extended period however, unless they are considered residents, they remain subject to the Tourist Permit requirements of Koror State Government, which can be burdensome in the case of extended stays.

Presently, all visitors to Palau’s Rock Islands, which are located in Koror State, are required to purchase a permit. Funds raised from permits are used to maintain a system of mooring buoys at dive sites, maintain shelters, barbeques and bathrooms at popular beaches, maintain docks and trail facilities at Jellyfish Lake, provide marine safety and law enforcement patrols including monitoring conservation areas. There are two types of Koror State permits as follows:

Rock Island Permit $25 – Valid 10 Days: Permits holder to visit the rock islands, snorkel, dive, kayak, sail, and use designated beaches throughout the rock islands.
The permit does NOT permit access to Jellyfish Lake.

Jellyfish Lake Permit $35 – Valid 10 Days: Permits holder to visit Jellyfish Lake and the rock islands, snorkel, dive, kayak, sail, and use designated beaches throughout the rock islands.

For cruisers who wish to venture beyond Malakal Harbor (official Port of Entry) to spend time in the Rock Islands an additional “30 Day Cruising Permit” is required for their vessel at an approximate cost of $10 per foot, to a maximum of $80.

For American cruisers who are automatically permitted to stay for up to a year, the Koror State permit process and costs can be both administratively and financially burdensome. The clarifications under the new law however, make it easy to understand and simple to comply with the residency requirement and should encourage U.S. cruisers to spend more time (and more moeny) in Palau. That's a win win for all!

With proof of legal entitlement to remain in the country for more than 90 days and the intention to do so (as evidenced by a Vessel Entry Permit valid for one year and a Tourist Visa valid for one year) American cruisers can register their vessels in Koror State for a nominal fee and purchase a “Resident Identification Card” from Koror State Finance Office for $5.00

RBYC thinks that's great news!

E-mail: rbycpalau@gmail.com for a complete text of the new law.

No comments:

Post a Comment