PreClearance from Canada


#1

Does anyone know if it is possible to pre-clear under GA from one of the Canadian airports with pre-clearance?

Seems like you might be treated better coming over the border by pre-clearing in Canada and then simply flying to your US destination airport. If I did a trip to Canada, say taking the family to Montreal for the weekend in summer if they have cool front, land and do services at Trudeau instead of a GA airport, the different in cost could be more than offset by the lack of hassle coming back into the US.


#2

I’m sure not aware of that program. All private aircraft I see coming out of major Canadian cities land at nearby US cities then continue in land to their destination.


#3

there is no need out of Canada to stop anywhere short of your destination if you are Part 91. I can and have flown from Quebec City to Bradley Airport in CT on an IFR flight plan and passed through immigration and customs there. Now BDL is only 25 nm from my home airport and not a major hassle to ten fly over to my home field. But, if I could pre-clear in Canada, I could then fly straight home.

If you don’t know about the program then I guess you don’t know if you can use it .

Only Part 135 need to stop at the closest airport AOE - most Part 91 do it anyway but do not have to. The officers at my local airport are a heckuva lot nicer than the gorillas in Buffalo and along the border where they are actively being buttheads for no real reason. How many private pilots bringing their family back from vacation are smuggling. . .

I called the Washington DC number for this program and they don’t know. I called one of the Canadian numbers and they told me I ‘need a boarding pass.’ I told them that I am in my own aircraft, I already have authorized myself to have a boarding pass. The bureaucrat answering the phone asked me if I was in Canada. . . . nobody listens.


#4

A lot of airline flights clear US customs before departing Canada. There is no equivalent program for non scheduled flights that I know of.
On the other hand it’s been 20 years since I’ve been in the back of an airliner coming from Canada to the US, so maybe that has changed since 9/11.


#5

I was only speaking of aircraft and owners I know. One goes from Toronto to Denver but stops inside the US in his jet. Several other jets and King Air’s I know stop inside the border in Northwest US then continue onto destination 100 miles into US.

The last time I flew to USA privately was in a privately owned US reg King Air with a company employed pilot. We flew from a remote strip in BC, landed in Bellingham, then continued to Boeing Field.


#6

I have always stopped along the border because destinations in the interior are even MORE hassle. Denver was mentioned. If you stop at DIA, you have to use the Signature ramp, and they charge you a pretty penny. You will also be sitting there waiting for a good long while. Other airports in the area offer customs at a fee. IIRC, the fees start at $100 and go up based on weight or passengers, etc.

The nicest, most proficient, and best of the best US customs people I have dealt with were in Montana at Cut Bank, and Billings. No charge, quick service, and willing to help you get back on your way. They lend you the phone, tell you where the bathrooms are, have the numbers for fuel and local Flight Service.

Lastly, if you forgot your passport or something and had to return to Canada, you aren’t that far away. I think the key is to avoid the airports with lots of scheduled international traffic.


#7

last time I came from Quebec City last summer. I filed IFR out of QBC and flew nonstop right to Bradley [BDL] on a Monday morning. I called them the Friday before and told them I was coming in around 10.30am or so. They asked me why I was calling then and told them they were not open until 8.30a on Monday or weekends and I’be in the air by then.

We had a nice discussion about ADCUS, how unusual it is to fly direct from Canada to BDL, and they thanked me for the call since it was made before I arrived! The same guy would be there on Monday and he took my tail # and pax info in advance told me to have a nice flight and to get in before 11.30 since there was a A320 public charter from Mexico due in Mondays at noon. They told me to just tell BDL Tower I needed to taxi to the Int’l Ramp when I arrived.

Burlington Approach queried me as I crossed the border at 9000 booking along at 190kts GS where I was gonna stop, and told them my IFR destination - he said OK, nobody ever does that. I thanked him and he reminded me to make sure that when I was shopped to BDL Approach to have them pick up the ADCCUS phone there in the TRACON. I did that, and BDL Approach told me that customs was expecting us.

Winds were 25012, I landed long on 24, taxied off at the first intersection south of 33/15 and ground told me to taxi to customs, which is right there now.

I taxied up @ 10.46, waited for the officer to come out. My wife handed him the customs form , the arrival form and our passports out the door. HE asked us to step out. Looked in the cargo hold, looked at the passports, looked at us, make sure the form was filled out correctly and welcomed me home. Took about 2 minutes. MUCH better than the Buffalo or Niagara guys. Much nicer than Bangor or Augusta or similar locales in northern New England.

I started the engine back up, asked BDL for the 33 intersection departure , and was sitting in my home office at noon. NO way that would have happened if I’d stopped up north - it always takes 30-45min and they always bring Fido out for a sniff.


#8

My only experience with New England customs was a royal pain and that was pre-9/11. On a flight from Houghton, MI (CMX) to Boston I stopped in London, Ontario for fuel. Everyone remained on the tarmac and the Ontario customs official gave us an official document that they had done so and he said the U.S. would clear us right through. Right…

Boston looked at the Canadian document and then made us take every little thing out of the airplane, drag it all inside, open everything up and they even checked inside the band instruments of the pep-band members I was carrying to a hockey game.

Nice inter-agency cooperation, eh?


#9

Regarding Denver I was speaking of KAPA. I just looked up the person I know and they recently did a direct flight. Go figure!


#10

Have you asked how much he paid to go thru customs there? That is one of the ones I tried, and it was like 100 for a mooney. Cheaper to land and stretch your legs, IMHO.