Flying To The USA
Flying to the USA - tips on how to cross the border
Flying to the US opens up a whole new world with thousands of airports in some pretty and unique places. Unfortunately the process to fly to the US has become quite cumbersome and for this reason many people do not fly there. This is very unfortunate and so we (Larry TAYLOR, Derek ZAILO and myself, Ed FESTEL) decided to do a trip across the border and here is what we found.
Before You Go
If you wish to fly to the US you will have to apply for a Customs Decal. Go to https://dtops.cbp.dhs.gov and follow the prompts under "New DTOPS User". This is a pretty straightforward process and costs about US25 per year.
The good thing is, if you are in their system, they will actually remind you in November to renew and the renewal process is really easy.
Then you have to sign up for your eApis, for this go to: https://eapis.cbp.dhs.gov and start the process by clicking on "Enroll"
✈︎You will have to keep track of a bunch of passwords, numbers etc:
PW: you will have to choose your own password - very strict conditions apply. A new password has to be entered every three months
Decal #: you need the Decal # for customs and the officer may want to see the actual decal on your plane. Make sure you have it displayed in a location where they can see it.
Sender ID: you will get your own ID (permanent)
Activation Key: a 12-digit alpha-numerical Activation Key will be sent to you by email - you must activate within 30 days of receipt - or else you start from scratch . . .
✈︎FILING THE 'DREADED' eAPIS:
Make sure you fill out all the fields required. Problems may occur when you are not sure if a O is a zero or an O. Dorothy Scott airport in Oroville is 0S7 (= zeroS7).
✈︎Address in the USA (one of the more silly questions, so we just use the mail service in Oroville):
1306 Main Street
Oroville, WA, 98844
(If you have a better address in the US, please use it!)
🇨🇦🇺🇸When flying from Canada to USA:
Make sure all pilots & pax have a valid passport!!!
File eApis and wait for reply, then copy your confirmation number
File international flight plan (1866-992-7433 ext. 1 / no different from your regular flight plan)
Call US Customs & Border Patrol at port of entry at least 1 hour before your arrival (Dorothy Scott, Oroville 1509-476-2955 with time of arr, phone #, registration, a/c type, eApis conf.#, name of pilot, DOB, Citizenship, pax info)
After landing wait in the aircraft until customs official arrives!!! Do NOT exit the aircraft!!!
After customs inspection CLOSE FLIGHT PLAN by calling 1800-992-7433 ext.1, say "any" for state
🇺🇸🇨🇦When flying from USA to Canada:
File eApis and wait for reply, then copy confirmation number.
Call Canpass (1888-226-7277) with time of arrival at airport of entry - Penticton customs service is only available on weekdays until 16.30 local time - after that you have to fly to Kelowna . . . AND they require 2 hours advance notice - the latest BS to make it more complicated!!!
File international flight plan call 1800-992-7433 ext. 1 then say "any" for state
Open flightplan after take off on 122.2 with Flight Services ("Any Radio" . . . or "Seattle Radio") OR ask the briefer for an "assumed departure time" because we can not contact Seattle Radio on 122.2 in the valley near Oroville - they are very helpful and have done this.
Close flight plan on arrival in Canada (1866-992-7433)
Call Canpass (1888-226-7277) to report arrival - wait at aircraft until cleared
☛For further information on Weather and Flight Planning:
TIBS (Telephone Information Briefing Service) - For Weather in a particular area and to file Flight Plan call 1-877-4-TIBS-WX (1-877-484-2799). See Pilot Tips for more information about that service.
Flight Service - www.1800wxbrief.com
☛Useful information about US airports, MOA's, Rules and Regulations etc:
And now you better use your newly acquired skills and file for a flight to the good ol' US of A. It gets easier when you do it a few times - but there are new surprises every time you go . . .
Filed on 29 May 2013 by Ed Festel
- last updated 13 Nov 2016 by MS