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More on Crossing the Border

Gleaned from the e-mails of Leo Nikkinen, Bill Evans, and other EAA Chapter 266 members

These comments relate to specific airports, but the information is also useful as a general guide for the best way to cross the border. The pilots were discussing a trip to Geneseo, New York, for a July 2015 warbirds fly-in. If many of us decided to make cross-border flights this year, the economic benefits for both the United States and Canada would be more visible to the powers that be, and maybe add leverage to the case for making it simpler. A Canpass number would allow me to land directly at my home airport of Bromont, Quebec. – Editor

While you are planning for a border crossing, remember that U.S. Customs and Border Protection will want you to purchase an annual decal. It can be done at an airport of entry (U.S. cash only), but U.S. Customs usually charges big-time landing fees. Or you can get it online and it will be delivered, usually within a few days.

A Canpass number is useful for flying direct from Geneseo to Niagara Central (CNQ3), so you don’t need to clear between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. (other times for a big callout fee) at St. Catharines and wait for the border guys to drive from Niagara Falls (1-hour minimum). A Canpass number allows you to clear customs at any port of entry – whether the local Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) office is open or not – including airports attended by a remote CBSA service.

If you want to cross the border but don’t have a transponder, you need an exemption. There is a fee. The information you will need is similar to that required for your eAPIS filing, which is needed prior to both flying into and out of the United States. You also will need to consult the latest NOTAMs prior to your trip.

In order to cross the border without a transponder and/or without a radio, you must enroll in the Transportation Security Administration’s waiver program, wait for approval, and then set up an account and apply for an airspace waiver, which takes up to an additional seven days. 

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