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When arriving into the United States from a foreign location, commercial operators are subject to several federal inspection fees, including a customs user fee, an immigration user fee, and an Animal and Plant Health inspection Service (APHIS) use fee.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Private Aircraft Preclearance program allows the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to screen travelers before takeoff through essentially the same process a traveler would undergo upon arrival at a U.S. port of entry.
A Customs bond, officially known as an "International Carrier Bond," is a financial backing and guarantee that insures the performance of an obligation or obligations imposed by law or regulation. All FAR Part 135 charter operators who fly internationally are required by Customs to be bonded.
With some exceptions, anyone who is not either a U.S. citizen or a U.S. resident alien must present a valid passport and a valid U.S. visa upon entering the United States. The Visa Waiver Program enables nationals from designated countries to apply for admission to the United States without first obtaining a nonimmigrant visa.
- NBAA Weighs in on Canada’s Plans for New Electronic Passenger Information System
- Feb. 20, 2015
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) plans to implement two new online systems by spring 2016 to pre-screen air travelers prior to a flight’s departure for Canada, and Sarah Wolf, NBAA’s senior manager of security and facilitation, met recently with U.S. and Canadian border agency representatives to discuss the plans with government officials. The interactive advance passenger information initiative – similar to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s electronic advance passenger information system – would require valid documentation of all travelers, including Canadians, prior to boarding an aircraft. The second process, the electronic travel authorization, would be required of all visa-exempt foreign nationals, except U.S. citizens. Learn more about CBS’s new screening systems.
- Scottsdale Airport Announces Expanded Customs Service Hours
- Feb. 10, 2014
Scottsdale Airport (SDL) recently announced expanded hours for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) services. The expanded hours for customs and immigration processing will began on Feb. 9, with services available from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week. The expanded hours are the result of increased demand from business travelers. Scottsdale Airport representatives expect the extended hours to generate more international airport activity. During fiscal year 2012-2013, the CBP processed 490 aircraft in Scottsdale, and that number is expected to increase this fiscal year due to the additional service hours. Read more about expanded customs service hours at SDL.
- New Indianapolis Customs Facility a Local Advocacy Success Story
- Dec. 2, 2013
Indianapolis International Airport (IND) has opened a new general aviation Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facility. NBAA Member Company Cummins Inc. was the leader of the two-year long initiative to convince CBP to rebuild the existing facility. Several other Member Companies in the Indianapolis area, the Indianapolis Airport Authority and NBAA’s Security Council also participated in the effort. "This new facility is the result of over two years of discussion and collaborative efforts among many stakeholders of the greater Indianapolis area," said Jason Mowrey, captain of corporate aviation at Cummins Inc., who believes that the facility addresses many safety and efficiency concerns. Read more about the new Indianapolis Customs facility.
- CBP Updates Southern Border Overflight-Exemption Process
- June 17, 2013
Following nearly two years of collaboration between Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials and the NBAA Security Council, effective June 17, CBP has updated certain requirements under the Southern Border Overflight-Exemption Process for approved general aviation operators. Key among the updates is that all Overflight Exemption holders flying into the United States from across the southern border can now overfly CBP-designated processing airports, and proceed to any U.S. airport where normal CBP services are available. Also of particular note, CBP will no longer require at least one passenger to be on board, nor will the agency require aircraft to depart from an approved airport. The changes should substantially reduce operators’ costs for compliance. Read more about the changes to the Southern Border Overflight Exemption Process.
- NBAA Calls for Adequate Customs Staffing at U.S. Ports of Entry
- January 14, 2013
NBAA has joined more than 50 organizations in petitioning the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to ensure that President Obama's budget request includes adequate funding for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) staffing at U.S. ports of entry. In a letter to OMB Acting Director Jeffrey Zients, the groups said understaffing at ports "increases wait times, costs industry billions, and discourages business and leisure travelers from visiting the U.S." Along with NBAA, the letter's signers include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and numerous city and state chamber groups. Read more about the letter to OMB.
- NBAA Provides Rare Chance to Meet With CBP Officials
- August 31, 2011
General aviation (GA) operators from around the country have a unique opportunity to meet face-to-face with what one NBAA leader calls the "GA brain trust" at Customs and Border Protection (CBP). On Sept. 13, NBAA, along with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and National Air Transportation Association, is sponsoring a discussion with CBP officials at both the national and regional levels. NBAA Vice President for Safety, Security, Operations and Regulation Doug Carr called the meeting a "rare opportunity" for international GA operators. The event, which begins at 9 a.m., takes place at the West Hangar at Landmark Aviation, Kendall-Tamiami Airport in Miami, FL. Read more about this opportunity meet with CBP,
- Local Advocacy Prompts Customs Policy Changes in Columbus
- August 31, 2011
A recent, collaborative effort between government and industry in Columbus, OH, prompted improvements to clearance policies from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for business aviation at the Port Columbus International Airport (CMH) in Ohio. "It was the perfect example of a partnership of industry and government getting something accomplished," reported NBAA Security Council Chairman Greg Kulis. The situation highlights the importance of industry mobilization on policies impacting business aviation. Learn more.
- Scottsdale Airport Now Has Entry Procedures for All International Travelers
- June 13, 2011
Scottsdale Airport (SDL) now has the US-VISIT traveler identification program, allowing passengers with proper visas to clear customs when arriving on international flights from anywhere in the world. The new entry procedure lifts a decade of restrictions allowing foreign flights from only Canada and Mexico. Aviation Director Gary Mascaro said that by eliminating the need to use larger ports of entry, such as Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, the city is paving the way for international travelers to fly directly to Scottsdale. The new entry procedure, a result of cooperation between the City of Scottsdale, the Arizona Business Aviation Association and the federal government, lifts a decade of restrictions allowing foreign flights from only Canada and Mexico. In 2010, these groups same worked together to increase the maximum takeoff weight at the airport. Review the SDL press release.
- Enforcement of ESTA Requirement for Visa Waiver Program Beginning
- January 21, 2010
Although there are not a large number of business aircraft operators affected, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are reminding US-bound passengers, traveling from Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries, on aircraft approved for the VWP, of the requirement to use the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).According to the CBP “Beginning January 20, CBP will initiate a 60-day transition to enforced ESTA compliance for air carriers [operators]…” VWP travelers are required to complete an on-line application, which can be found on the CBP web site.
- NBAA Welcomes Customs Services to Valley International Airport
- September 15, 2008
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced last week that agents are now available to conduct aircraft inspections at Valley International Airport (HRL) in Harlingen, TX. For a fee, CBP agents will perform the required inspections for Part 91 and 135 aircraft returning to or arriving in the U.S. from across the southern border. The CBP requires that operators provide at least one hour's notice prior to crossing the U.S. border. The CBP Guide for Private Flyers will be updated to reflect this change. Review the announcement.
- SAT Designated as Southern Border Crossing Airport by CBP
- April 7, 2008
The San Antonio International Airport (SAT) has been officially designated by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as an airport where Part 91 and 135 aircraft arriving in the United States from the south (south of 30° on the east coast and 33° on the west coast) must land for Customs processing. CBP regulations require that aircraft arriving from these locations provide at least a one-hour notice prior to crossing the U.S. coastline or border and land at a designated airport nearest to the border crossing point.
- U.S. Customs Expands Radiation Scanning of GA Aircraft
- December 31, 2007
On December 30, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) implemented a program to scan all internationally arriving general aviation (GA) aircraft for illicit radiological/nuclear materials. Operators will be asked to shut down the aircraft engines, auxiliary power unit and certain electronic systems. At the discretion of the CBP officer, passengers and crew may be required to disembark the aircraft prior to screening. During the five to 15-minute procedure, the CBP officer will scan both the exterior and interior of the aircraft using the RIID. Learn More.
Frequently Used Forms
- Customs Form 442
- Application for Southern border overflight
- Customs Form 262
- Request for Printed Material, which can be used to order Customs Declaration forms as well as other print publications and forms from U.S. Customs and Border Protection
- Advice On Clearing Canadian Customs
- Updated September 23, 2002
Several NBAA Members recently have reported minor problems in clearing Canadian Customs when they declared that they were carrying flareguns on board in response to the question, "Do you have any firearms onboard?" NBAA recommends that Members answer this question by stating: "There is a 'pyrotechnic signaling device' in the life-raft survival kit in accordance with Canadian, U.S. and international regulations." For more information, refer to U.S. FAR Part 91.509 - Survival equipment for overwater operations.
- Canadian Deportation Warning
- August 21, 2002
In recent months, NBAA has received reports of U.S. citizens being deported from Canada by the Citizenship and Immigration Canada inspectors when the U.S. citizens have accurately responded on immigration questionnaires that they had been convicted of a felony, usually involving driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). Deportation under these circumstances is consistent with Canadian law, however there are processes available to allow such persons to be legally admitted to Canada.
- CANPASS-Corporate Aircraft Program
- Information from Revenue Canada's official Web site.