Starting last month, operators clearing customs at so-called “user fee” airports began to see as much as a 10-percent increase in clearance charges. The increases are based on an increase in the flat fees charged to the airports by the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection. There are approximately 40 user-fee airports, so called because they don’t qualify as international or landing-rights facilities due to insufficient traffic volume.
U.S. Customs has decided not to continue the General Aviation Telephonic Entry (GATE) program, which was designed to facilitate customs processing of certain prequalified travelers on preregistered general aviation aircraft arriving in the U.S. from Canada. The program was under test operation until it was shut down after 9/11.
Business aircraft passengers and crews are facing fines and delays after inadvertently falling afoul of French Customs regulations on currency. According to FBOs at Paris Le Bourget Airport, customs officers there are rigidly enforcing the requirement to declare currency in excess of £7,622 ($8,239) when arriving in or departing from France.
On September 14, three days after the terrorist attacks, the U.S. Customs Office notified NBAA that the General Aviation Telephonic Entry (GATE) program was closed. GATE allowed approved pilots and passengers flying from Canada to the U.S. to give customs advance notice by calling a toll-free number and obtaining a telephonic entry number.
Be aware that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has some special requirements regarding the disposal of such garbage.
According to Laura Everington at Universal Weather & Aviation, regardless of the point of entry into the U.S., federal regulations require disposal of these items in special bags and handling by USDA-approved services or individuals for subsequent incineration.
The U.S. Customs Service has revised the list of user-fee airports by adding Edinburgh Airport in Texas and removing Arkansas Aeroplex at Blytheville, Ark. These actions were taken at the request of the airports. The complete list contains 36 airports designated as user-fee facilities.
McKinney Municipal Airport in Dallas has been added to the list of the U.S. Customs Service’s designated user-fee airports. Operators must obtain advance permission to clear customs at user-fee facilities, which unlike international or landing rights airports are not staffed with full-time, government-paid customs agents.
International operators arriving at Teterboro Airport (TEB), N.J., are urged to choose the customs clearance facility closest to their final ground destination (there are now two customs offices on the airport) to prevent unnecessary runway crossings or taxiing against the normal traffic flow. If unfamiliar with TEB, operators are advised to contact the FBO they will be using and ask for directions to the nearest customs station.
Contrary to earlier reports that aircraft flying into the Dallas area from international departure points could clear U.S. Customs only through Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, customs can be cleared at Addison Airport, Dallas Love Field and any other general aviation airport in the area. Nevertheless, operators are advised to verify customs clearance procedures before departure.
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