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Customs

International Operations Appendices

There are three very good rules when it comes to dealing with the customs officials of another country:

  1. Not all the rules are written and even if they are they are subject to change; it pays to know somebody with first-hand experience with the country.
  2. Sometimes things don't go well and having an advocate on the ground who speaks the language and actually lives there will work in your favor. If you don't have somebody like that, find a trip planning handler who does.
  3. Be prepared for delays, don't get upset in public, and make sure your passengers know to do the same. You are playing in someone else's sandbox and they can toss you into the penalty box for no reason at all. Don't give them the excuse to do just that.

 

Before Departing the United States

Passports and Visas

You will probably need a passport to enter another country and then to return to United States. The rules are different for each country and can also change depending on the other countries on your itinerary. The rules of Visas can also be different for passengers and crewmembers. You may be surprised to hear that many countries even have rules on how many blank pages must be available in your passport or how many months remain before expiration.

The best way to be certain is to visit: http://travel.state.gov/content/travel/english.html and use the "Learn about your destination" section.

Visa Waiver Program, "Green Cards"

A person who enters the United States under the Visa Waiver Program may not be aware that they cannot depart the country unless the entity providing the transportation is approved under the program. Even as a 14 CFR 91 operator you can be an approved Visa Waiver Program carrier, but even if you aren't and one of your passengers is travelling using the Visa Waiver Program, you need to be smart about it.

More about this: Visa Waiver Program.

Minors Traveling Without Their Parents

Some countries required minors traveling without their parents have notarized travel permission from their legal guardians.

Canada

Getting into and out of Canada is fairly easy and it can be even easier if you, everyone on your crew, and all your passengers are enrolled in CANPASS. See: CANPASS.

Electronic Advanced Passenger Information System (eAPIS)

You've got no choice in the matter anymore, you have to participate in the Electronic Advanced Passenger Information System (eAPIS). An international flight planning service can make this easy for you, but you can do it yourself. The system the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) gives you through Customs & Border Protection (CBP) is fair, at best, but it does work. It won't remember your passengers or crew, but it remembers you. Several flight planning services that you are probably already using can automate things and make the entire process a bit less painful. More about this: eAPIS.

Entry into the United States

The process of getting back into the country has gotten easier, thanks to the proliferation of electrons in the system. Things will go more smoothly if you have eAPIS complete, have your paperwork in order, and be patient with the guy wearing the badge and gun.

Electronic Advanced Passenger Information System (eAPIS)

You can't depart for the United States unless you have your eAPIS in order. More about this: eAPIS.

Inspection of Certificates

[14 CFR 61] §61.3 (l) Inspection of certificate. Each person who holds an airman certificate, medical certificate, authorization, or license required by this part must present it and their photo identification as described in paragraph (a)(2) of this section for inspection upon a request from:

  1. The Administrator;
  2. An authorized representative of the National Transportation Safety Board;
  3. Any Federal, State, or local law enforcement officer; or
  4. An authorized representative of the Transportation Security Administration.

The customs and border inspector will ask for your pilot's license, medical, and a photo ID which is normally your passport.

Non-immigrant Visitors (CBP Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record)

Foreign visitors to the U.S. arriving via air or sea no longer need to complete paper Customs and Border Protection Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record or Form I-94W Nonimmigrant Visa Waiver Arrival/Departure Record. Those who need to prove their legal-visitor status—to employers, schools/universities or government agencies—can access their CBP arrival/departure record information online. More about this: http://www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/i-94-instructions.

Customs Declaration Form 6059B

[http://www.cbp.gov/travel/clearing-cbp/traveler-entry-form]

  • Each individual arriving into the United States must complete the CBP Declaration Form 6059B. If you are traveling with other immediate family members who reside in one household, complete one form per family.
  • A family is considered people who are related by blood, marriage, domestic relationship or adoption. People in a domestic relationship include foster children, stepchildren, half-siblings, legal wards, other dependents or individuals with an in loco parentis or guardianship relationship. It also includes two adults who are in a committed relationship including, but not limited to, long-time companions and couples in civil unions or domestic partnerships, wherein the partners are financially interdependent and are not married to, or a partner of, anyone else. A "domestic relationship" does not extend to roommates or other cohabitants who do not meet this definition.
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  1. Print your last (family) name. Print your first (given) name. Print the first letter of your middle name.
  2. Print your date of birth in the appropriate day/month/year boxes.
  3. Print the number of family members traveling with you (do not include yourself).
  4. Print your current street address in the United States. If you are staying at a hotel, include the hotel's name and street address. Print the city and the state in the appropriate boxes.
  5. Print the name of the country that issued your passport.
  6. Print your passport number.
  7. Print the name of the country where you currently live.
  8. Print the name of the country(ies) that you visited on your trip prior to arriving to the United States.
  9. If traveling by airline, print the airline's name and flight number. If traveling by vessel (ship), print the vessel's name.
  10. Mark an X in the Yes or No box. Are you traveling on a business (work-related) trip?
  11. Mark an X in the Yes or No box. Are you bringing with you:
    • fruits, plants, food, or insects?
    • meats, animals, or animal/wildlife products?
    • disease agents, cell cultures, or snails?
    • soil or have you visited a farm/ranch/pasture outside the United States?
  12. Mark an X in the Yes or No box. Have you or any family members traveling with you been in close proximity of (such as touching or handling) livestock outside the United States?
  13. Mark an X in the Yes or No box. Are you or any family members traveling with you bringing $10,000 or more in U.S. dollars or foreign equivalent in any form into the United States?
  14. Mark an X in the Yes or No box. Are you or any family members traveling with you bringing commercial merchandise into the United States?
  15. If you are a U.S. resident, print the total value of all goods (including commercial merchandise) you or any family members traveling with you have purchased or acquired abroad (including gifts for someone else, but not items mailed to the United States) and are bringing into the United States. Note: U.S. residents are normally entitled to a duty-free exemption of $800 on items accompanying them.

    If you are a visitor (non-U.S. Resident), print the total value of all goods (including commercial merchandise) you or any family members traveling with you are bringing into the United States and will remain in the United States. Note: Visitors (non-U.S. Residents) are normally entitled to an exemption of $100.
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Declare all articles on this form. For gifts, please indicate the retail value. Use the reverse side of this form if additional space is needed to list the items you will declare.

The U.S. Customs officer will determine duty. Duty will be assessed at the current rate on the first $1,000 above the exemption.

Read the notice on the reverse side of the form.

Sign the form and print the date.

Keep the complete form with you and hand it to the CBP inspector when you approach the Customs and Border Protection area.

Crew Member’s Declaration

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This form is required at only a few points of entry, KPBI to name one. To date, there is no central location of information detailing when the form is needed. Just make sure you’ve got one per crewmember at KBPI!

Forms available at: http://forms.cbp.gov/pdf/CBP_Form_5129.pdf.

General Declaration (CBP Form 7507)

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They say the Gen Dec is no longer required in the United States, it has been replaced by eAPIS.

More about that: eAPIS.

The trouble is much of the rest of the world still requires them and the form is still in print, available here:http://forms.cbp.gov/pdf/CBP_Form_7507.pdf.

Book Notes

Portions of this page can be found in the book International Operations Flight Manual, Part VIII, Chapter 16.

References

14 CFR 61, Title 14: Aeronautics and Space, Certification: Pilots, Flight Instructors, and Ground Instructors, Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Transportation

CANPASS Website

http://www.cbp.gov/travel/clearing-cbp/traveler-entry-form

https://eapis.cbp.dhs.gov

http://travel.state.gov/content/travel/english.html

http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/visit.html

Revision: 20150803
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