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Tuesday, 25 October, 2011

Attention Charter Operators - New Customs User Fees Begin On November 5


October 25, 2011

What’s at Issue
Beginning on November 5, 2011, all commercial passengers arriving in the U.S. from another country are subject to the $5.50 Customs User Fee.  Arrivals from Canada, Mexico and the adjacent islands are no longer exempt from this fee.

Please note that in an earlier announcement regarding this fee NATA incorrectly stated the effective date as November 15.  The correct effective date is November 5.  NATA regrets this error.

Why It’s Important
Currently, passengers arriving from Canada, Mexico, U.S. territories and possessions and the “adjacent islands” (defined below) are exempt from the $5.50 fee.  The exemption for Canada, Mexico and the adjacent islands has been rescinded.  Only the exemption for the U.S. territories and possessions remains.

Operators must begin collecting the per passenger fee on November 5, 2011.

Major Provisions
Since the 1980s, a fee has been imposed on the arrival of international commercial passengers by the United States Customs Service, now U.S. Customs and Border Protection.  For many years, passengers from Canada, Mexico and the adjacent islands as well as passenger arrivals from any U.S. territory or possession were exempt from this fee.

Last week, the President signed legislation enacting a trade agreement between the U.S. and Columbia.  A provision within that law (P.L. 112-42) removes many of the existing exemptions from the Customs User Fee.

The revised requirements are effective beginning on November 5, 2011.  All air charter operators should prepare now to ensure that their invoicing and recordkeeping systems are updated to ensure the fee is properly collected and remitted.  Operators that have not previously been required to collect this fee should act now to establish fee collection and remission procedures.

Information on the Customs User Fee is available on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Web site at

Please note that this page has not yet been updated to reflect the exemption changes imposed by the new law.

Adjacent Islands: The adjacent islands include St. Pierre, Miquelon, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, the Windward and Leeward Islands, Trinidad, Martinique, and other British, French, and Netherlands territories or possessions in or bordering on the Caribbean Sea.  Arrivals from these locations are now subject to the fee.

U.S. Territories/Possessions: Arrivals from U.S. territories and possessions remain exempt.  Those locations are American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

NATA Position
NATA is disappointed that the Congress and President have chosen to impose new fees on commercial passengers and create new burdens on operators.  The association strongly encourages operators to ensure that their business is prepared to implement this change.

The imposition of the Customs User Fee on arrivals from Canada, Mexico and the adjacent islands begins on November 5, 2011.


Staff Contact:  Jacqueline E. Rosser
Director, Regulatory Affairs

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For general press inquiries, contact Shannon Chambers at 703-298-1347 or

The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) has been the voice of aviation business for over 75 years. Representing nearly 2,300 aviation businesses, NATA’s member companies provide a broad range of services to general aviation, the airlines and the military and NATA serves as the public policy group representing the interests of aviation businesses before Congress and the federal agencies.