Recent changes mean that Border Overflight Exemptions are now more straight-forward in two key ways:
- Everything has been centralized! Before, operators had to apply for their BOE’s from CBP offices at individual airports – some would approve requests, and others wouldn’t, and there seemed to be a bit of a lack of consistency in some cases. CBP has now streamlined the process, and will be issuing all new BOE authorizations from their headquarters instead.
- Authorizations have been simplified! Before, some BOE authorizations contained the aircraft operator, approved aircraft, and approved crew; and some others contained only the aircraft operator and approved crew. Now, all new authorizations will only contain the aircraft operator. What this means is that for operators who get this new approval, they will now be able to fly any of their authorized aircraft with any authorized crew when conducting an Overflight arrival.
Important to note: CBP will issue new BOE’s to operators as requested, but until that happens, operators must comply with the terms and conditions of the authorizations they already hold.
CBP have told AOPA the following – “Because this change in procedure is occurring on a case-by-case, operator-by-operator basis, CBP officers are having to process operators who have been authorized under three sets of terms and conditions. Until the transition is complete, please be patient with our officers.”
So, bottom line – if you’ve got any BOE required flights coming up soon and you want to benefit from the new format, better submit a request for an updated BOE authorization as soon as possible! Send CBP an email at GAsupport@cbp.dhs.gov
What is a Border Overflight Exemption, and when do I need one?
When flying to the US from the south, you need to land at the first designated airport of entry that is nearest to the point of crossing the U.S. border or coastline (see the chart below for the list of these airports). If you want to land elsewhere, you need to get a Border Overflight Exemption.
In this case, ‘the south’ means everywhere from south of 30 degrees in the eastern U.S. and south of 33 degrees in the western U.S. This covers all flights from the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America, and some parts of French Polynesia.
Here is the list of designated southern airports of entry:
There are multiple changes to the US Border Overflight Exemption process effective 2017. Unusually, there is no official notification of the changes from either CBP or DHS, and so you may find that even the Customs Officer on arrival does not know about them.
New US Border Overflight Exemption rules March 2017
The March 2017 changes may be the start of the end for the Border Overflight Exemption, since most requirements from the CBP perspective are transferred to eAPIS: notably, the fact that individual aircraft are no longer listed on the Approval Letter.
We were first alerted to the changes by an OpsGroup member, and have spoken with a lot of different DHS and CBP officials. From these conversations, we’ve put together our summary of the situation below.
Noteworthy is that at many Airports, the front line CBP officers were not aware of the new rules. CBP have said: “This is new not only to you but to most of the Officers in the field. Your pilots need to know what it says because they will be getting questions when they land.”
What is a Border Overflight Exemption?
- If you operate a flight to the US from south of the 30th parallel, you must land at the first airport you come to.
- To avoid this, you can apply to CBP for a Border Overflight Exemption (BOE)
- With that in hand, you can fly to any airport with customs.
- So, on to the changes:
Effective March 1st, 2017 :
- A full list of the changes to the process is in Notes to Members #23 in your OPSGROUP dashboard.
- We recommend you carry this in the aircraft as well, for any CBP official not aware of the new rules.
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We just published our latest Lowdown – this one is for the USA. Heaps of good information on eAPIS, new TSA Waiver rules, Border Overflight Exemption, Customs Notifications, Importation, Special Route Clearances, ESTA, Visas, and Special Flight Authorizations.
You can get these Lowdowns by joining OPSGROUP – you can get a single or team membership. If you’d like the US Lowdown, we’ll gladly send a copy your way, just email us.