Diverts and customs

NovemberEcho

Dergs favorite member
We had a charter inbound for EWR about 30 miles out when the tower called and said they were no longer accepting GA/Charter because the ramp was full. This guy didn’t want to divert and said he was worried about getting a $10k fine because of Customs when we tried to suggest TEB. What’s up with that? (He wound up being the last GA into EWR, I guess they made it work)
 

Stinger

Well-Known Member
CBP can impose fines on GA pilots for failing to comply with eAPIS requirements.
It's $5,000 for the first offense, and $10,000 for subsequent offenses.
 

NovemberEcho

Dergs favorite member
CBP can impose fines on GA pilots for failing to comply with eAPIS requirements.
It's $5,000 for the first offense, and $10,000 for subsequent offenses.
I don’t know what eapis is. Could they really be fined if their original destination airport closes?
 

Stinger

Well-Known Member
I don’t know what eapis is. Could they really be fined if their original destination airport closes?
Electronic Advance Passenger Information System. Entering the country you have to clear customs. To clear customs, CBP needs to know when/where/who is showing up. You have an arrival window to meet. If you can't meet that window, you need to advise them. Some CBP officers are not very friendly and take any little error to the max.

I know of a $5,000 fine because the pilot was late due to weather, was finally parked on the ramp at the FBO, no phone service. So him and passengers walked into the FBO to make a call. CBP arrived and gave the violation and fine.
 

JeppUpdater

Well-Known Member
I diverted on an international part 91 trip a couple months ago in a light jet from Canada. Started down the arrival into some weather and got a WX RADAR FAIL message and said “wellllllp that’s a nope.”

Called the original destination CBP on the satphone, told them we were diverting into another CBP airport, called immediately after landing, sat until they showed up. The poor guys had to come out in the rain but they were fine, took the paperwork, checked passports, and had the pax on their way in less than ten mins. No problem at all.

That being said - CBP is in competition with the TSA for biggest PITA to deal with, every station and officer is different, and power trips run rampant at several stations, your mileage may vary, no warranty expressed or implied - so I don’t blame the guy for being concerned...he probably wasn’t carrying his CBP-approved jar of lube for the uh, action, he expected to get.
 

Roger Roger

Paid to sleep, fly for fun
If I was reading this when I’d only dealt with customs part 91, I’d wonder what the big deal is...but I did an international Medevac a few months ago and it turns out that commercial is a whole other ball game re:customs. Still, if you listed an alternate that has customs I wouldn’t think it’s a big deal. Just call when you can and obey the man. If you didn’t list an alternate that has customs on an international flight, you’re an idiot.
 

Roger Roger

Paid to sleep, fly for fun
I know of a $5,000 fine because the pilot was late due to weather, was finally parked on the ramp at the FBO, no phone service. So him and passengers walked into the FBO to make a call. CBP arrived and gave the violation and fine.
To be fair, i thought everyone knew you’re not supposed to leave the airplane until CBP says you can. That’s on the pilot being a dumbass. If nothing else, get FSS on the radio and have them call.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
For an issue such as this which is not in the control of the flightcrew.....such as ramp being full, that isn't something that should be fined or punished in any way. The next reasonable Airport of Entry that can accommodate the aircraft, such as TEB, should be good to divert to and not have any kind of trouble. Exigent circumstances are understandable, or at least should be. If the OFO (Office of Field Operations) agents (the CBP guys/gals in blue at the ports of entry) were really concerned about this, they could easily have contacted N90 or EWR tower for confirmation. But something like this isn't in the control of the aircrew. They showed up in their window, there was just no ramp space.
 

DE727UPS

Well-Known Member
How about this one Mike: I recently flew from YVR to BFI. We always walk to customs which is about a 3 minute walk from where we parked. Went over there and nobody was home. Waited about 10 minutes and walked into UPS ops. Was told by an ops employee that if were going to the hotel and not operating right back out we could just leave. That this was a normal procedure and the station manager knew about it. I was skeptical but thought maybe they had some sort of local deal worked out with customs. Decided I wasn't going to leave until the station manager told me that face to face when she got back from the ramp. Happened to talk with a lowly secretary and she started making some calls for us. She knew who to call and it turns out there is only one agent split between RNT and BFI and he had been at RNT. We went back over to customs and the guy said we weren't on the list even thought it's a normally scheduled flight and that they were understaffed that day . Everything was fine after that but I swear I would have left had the station manager told me they had some sort of local procedure approved. Just goes to show you sometimes the lowly secretary knows what's up....
 

Prino

Well-Known Member
Seems like they could just drop off and reposition the plane? I get what a hassle that is but that’s what they do here when they run out of room for ramp parking
 

JeppUpdater

Well-Known Member
To be fair, i thought everyone knew you’re not supposed to leave the airplane until CBP says you can.
Until you roll into the one of many airports that the CBP officer comes out after you’ve been baking on the airplane for ten minutes and asks in an annoyed voice “why didn’t you come inside?”

Well, Carl, because your coworker screamed at me last week because I cracked the storm window when it was 105 because your station just randomly decided that no APUs were allowed.

As @Stone Cold would say:
There's how it should work, and how it does work. The two rarely meet, at least from my experience years ago.
There is -zero- standardization with CBP, and like the TSA, that’s the real problem.
 

z987k

Well-Known Member
Until you roll into the one of many airports that the CBP officer comes out after you’ve been baking on the airplane for ten minutes and asks in an annoyed voice “why didn’t you come inside?”

Well, Carl, because your coworker screamed at me last week because I cracked the storm window when it was 105 because your station just randomly decided that no APUs were allowed.

As @Stone Cold would say:

There is -zero- standardization with CBP, and like the TSA, that’s the real problem.
And then they decide they can force you to clear immigration after a domestic flight.
 

z987k

Well-Known Member
To be fair, i thought everyone knew you’re not supposed to leave the airplane until CBP says you can. That’s on the pilot being a dumbass. If nothing else, get FSS on the radio and have them call.
To be fair if they were Canadian they might not assume that our officers are the biggest dbags on the planet. They might also assume you can divert to any old airport you feel like and still clear. Because they're not barbarians.
 

DesertNomad

Active Member
Yup - KTMB had us come inside and wondered why we didn't assume such. At KEYW, they yelled at us for even opening the door to get some air.
 

Brian29

Well-Known Member
I’ve had to divert form my original destination inbound from a foreign point of origin and it was zero issue. Contacted the FBO at my alternate airport and made them aware we were coming in and had them contact customs for us to make them aware we were inbound. It happens. No big deal
 

Brian29

Well-Known Member
In regards to leaving the plane/not leaving the plane, I usually just call the CBP office I’ll be clearing at and ask them how they want it done. Or call them while on the ramp and I don’t see anybody. The lack of standardization mentioned above is the absolute truth and frustrating as hell. That fact alone is 80% of why clearing inbound is such a pain in the ass.
 

TallWeeds

Well-Known Member
Back in my cargo days, we grew to recognize or know most of the CBP officers at the stations we frequented. At most of the CBP facilities they would barely check the cargo and just glance at our passports while at the jet. We even had two crew members accidentally leave their passports in Mexico. CBP let them go to the hotel for the night. A different company brought the passports from Mexico to the border, and we went back in the morning to officially clear customs.
 
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