America's Cup challengers are remaining hopeful they'll be here in weeks, rather than months, with two teams having applied to have some of their teams enter the country despite the borders being shut.
The process appears to be taking some time for American Magic and British team Ineos.
Images fresh in this afternoon from Florida show American Magic boat Defiant being loaded on to a ship bound for Auckland, set to arrive in around four weeks.
At the moment, it won't have any overseas crew to welcome it.
“I haven't received any applications yet from any of the America's Cup crews, wanting to come in, we know the America's Cup crews, the cup organisers are dead keen for the event to go ahead as is the Government,” Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford said.
A spokesperson for the minister says he's at the end of a long process.
Officials from the American Magic team have confirmed to 1 NEWS that they lodged exemption applications some time ago. Team Ineos are in a similar boat.
“The visa applications are queued up, and the immigration officer dealing with the America’s Cup has been really good, but he can't set the policy when he can issue the visas or when people can enter,” Team Ineos chief executive Grant Simmer said.
As we reported last week, the teams have offered to fund their own quarantine, apart from the millions they're already spending.
Challengers say the exemption requests for extra preparation time are necessary with five courses being used this summer off Auckland.
Unlike Team New Zealand, who landed in Bermuda only five weeks before the America’s Cup in 2017.
Prior to lockdown, American magic had received around 20 visas, but that dried up.
“We've provided to immigration all the relevant information re our visa applications and so on and so forth, we don’t have our accommodation addresses just yet, but we have our base address,” American Magic skipper Terry Hutchinson said.
It's much easier to get a boat into the country with Team New Zealand's Te Ahie has just arrived back from four months on the high seas.
It was sent to Europe at the start of February, only to be turned around, due to Covid-19 cancellations.