US Customs & Border Patrol - available at Duluth

Some of our Canadian members may wish to clear into the US at Duluth since it’s an AOE. I asked Andy Brown, the Migration Planning Team member who has worked with ATC to map out arrival/departure procedures for the last three Migrations, to check with Duluth. As usual, Andy offered a very comprehensive answer, something that makes your job as PIC sooooo much easier! Here’s his response:

I spoke directly with Nate Gassert in Duluth at US Customs and Border Protection.
Here is some info:
Obviously you need to have filed using eApis and follow all of those normal procedures.
I assume this is not a class in using eApis at this point.
If people do not understand this system, they should review the information available on-line…
Notifying U.S. Customs in Duluth
US Customs Telephone: 218.720.5203
US Customs Fax: 218.720.5216

Notifying Monaco Air Duluth
Monaco Air Telephone: 218.727.2911
Monaco Air Fax: 218.727.6937

Required/Recommended Documentation and Forms


  1. Aircraft Registration
  2. U.S. Customs Decal (U.S. AND Canada Reg. Only)
    Flight CrewRequired:
  3. Passport
  4. Pilot’s License
  5. Pilot’s Medical
  6. Declaration Form 6059B
  7. Passport
  8. Declaration Form 6059B

3. Visas
4. Transporting Animals

U.S. Customs Forms

Form 6059B: Customs Declaration Form 6059B: Customs DeclarationWho - All passengers and crew members
Where - Submit to U.S. Customs office
When - At time of arrival

Nate had the following additional info:

  1. You can park at Monaco (wherever they direct you to stop) but make sure they know you are awaiting US Customs.
  2. Under NO circumstances are you to leave the plane.
    Not you or your passengers.
    NO going to the bathroom or stretching your legs.
    They are VERY serious about this.
  3. You can open the airplane doors for airflow.
  4. US Customs will come to your airplane.
    If they do not show up in a “reasonable” time, call the number above 218.720.5203.
  5. They usually bring a drug/bomb dog and a Geiger counter.
  6. Make sure you have the correct documents as shown above.
  7. If you are NOT a citizen of the USA or Canada, then you have to go to the main passenger terminal and they will bring you inside to swipe your passport and examine your bags.
  8. If you bring a pet, you must have all the proof of vaccinations (like rabies) with you.
  9. Please do not bring any weapons as it really complicates the situation…
  10. Keep customs updated on your ETA so they know when to expect you.
    They are available at the phone number 7 days a week, 0700 - 2230 local time.

If you are an “old hand” with clearing into/out of the US from/to Canada, the short answer is “yes, you can simply fly into Duluth and clear Customs at Monaco”. Of course, it would be useful to tell Tower and/or Ground what you need to do. Otherwise, they’ll direct you to park with the rest of the COPA fleet. Of course, you cannot do that until you clear Customs!

Blue skies & tailwinds,


PS - BTW the Customs 6059B form is one per family, not one per person. [;)]

I’ve cleared 10+ times in Duluth, always quick and easy.
Note- I’ve frequently gotten out of the seat and say on the doorsill while I wait. Never an issue.

Doug, that’s about as many times as I have cleared US Customs at Duluth.

Note that the location of the Customs inspections for GA aircraft has moved away from the passenger terminal to Monaco. Dunno how recently they moved, but its different from when I last landed and cleared Customs. Much more sensible for them and us.


Interesting. For all the times that I have flown into Duluth from Canada, I have never filled out a declaration form – always answered their questions verbally, essentially nothing to declare except sometimes gifts or food. Oh, well.

A habit from days before eAPIS – I photocopied all of the airplane and pilot documents on one sheet so that I ensured that I had everything and could hand that to the inspector. Now, with eAPIS, they have the data but seem to want to see the originals. Oh, well.

Have I mentioned that I love CANPASS, eh?!


Perhaps this is a question for Andy Brown or anyone else familiar with Duluth operations – how do they expect us to keep them updated?

When I depart from Ontario, it’s usually from the Ottawa area. The flight is 4+ hours over Sault Ste. Marie. I confirm my arrival with Duluth Customs folks before I depart – so, is that what they want? Or do they want to know that I’m delayed by headwinds? (It’s always headwinds!!! Yikes, 24 knots tonight!)


Hi Rick,

I spoke with Nate this morning to get some clarification on the questions you and others have raised.

As far as notifying US Customs, they are okay with +/- 15 minutes with no problem. If you are airborne and have unforseen headwinds or tailwinds that will affect your flight greater than that, you can call FSS or ATC and just ask them to “pass along” your revised ETA to US Customs in Duluth.

You are generally talking to a USA ATC person well before you actually cross the United States border.

Customs tries their best to be there at Monaco at the time you noted and informed them of before you left Canada. They try to avoid things like getting there at 9am when you don’t show till 11am, that type of event…

Nate mentioned that they have also had situations where the ETA was 9am and they get a phone call AFTER 9am with the airplane still in Canada to change the time. Please try to notify them BEFORE your previously given ETA expires.

As to your “no declaration form” comment, Nate said it is technically required for everyone. Some agents would allow you to verbally say “nothing to declare”, but he would prefer you just fill one out and avoid the issue.

For Doug Moore, Nate laughed when I described your “doorsill” comments. He said again, typically Customs is right there, so please just stay in the airplane and don’t get out. If you want to stay in your seat and swivel to the side to hang your legs over the doorsill, he would probably be okay with that.


I’ve made the same types of photocopies - use them flying into Mexico without a problem. Flying back into the US from Nova Scotia recently, the US agent asked to see my pilot’s license. So, I opened up my folder with my photocopies (pilot license, medical, plane registration, airworthiness, proof of insurance, etc.). Nope. She told me that was a photocopy (duh), and she wanted to see the real thing. Different agents I guess…

I love Canada’s CANPASS system, as well! [Y]


Many dittoes on CANPASS!!!

While I have to admit that over the last few years all my interactions with US Customs have been quite pleasant, CANPASS is how it should be done. What always strikes me is how the Canadians seem happy that you want to visit their country and how, too often, US Customs makes you feel like a criminal when you come home,

But as I said, it seems that things are improving.

Jerry, do you remember the GATE program (General Aviation Telephonic Entry)?

When I first started by private pilot training in the summer of 2001, my interest in flying to Canada prompted me to research how to cross the border. CANPASS had a complimentary program in the US called GATE. Soon after 9/11, GATE authority was revoked and US Customs and Border Protection ultimately implemented eAPIS (which really bugs me because when I travel to my family’s island, I have to boat across to the public library to file using their wireless internet from the parking lot).

One thing that I recall from my research was the preamble to the CANPASS program, in which the Canadians determined that 96% of all private aircraft and boats crossing the border were in full compliance with all regulations. Consequently, in the late 1990s, they set up a telephone system that is CANPASS today. For the 4%, they rely upon background checks and sampling to investigate the situations worth spending their time.

The American GATE program was almost identical – similar phone procedures, similar sample inspections… But after 9/11, the Department of Homeland Security seemed to consider any percentage too much of a risk so they instituted a 100% inspection rate. Add a bit of law enforcement hubris, and entering the US has been often quite unpleasant, perhaps 20% of my crossings have been authoritarian. Hope you are right and it gets better.



I remember GATE quite well. It was as easy as CANPASS.

It seems to me that US Customs is less antagonistic to GA than it used to be. Perhaps the furor over the domestic stops and searches had an overall beneficial effect?

I also wonder if the hassle of eapis might allow Customs to do better prescreening so they are less suspicious of us when we arrive.

Who knows? I too hope it gets better.

The attitude on the part of US Customs officers seems to be one of “guilty until proven innocent” rather than the reverse. I still yearn for the “good ole days” when all I had to do was file a flight plan and request that Flight Service advise Customs of my arrival.


Yes, those were the “good old days”. I don’t think we will see them again. But is interesting how we are treated by our own customs officials. When I fly from Ontario to the US, your customs officers are very happy to see us and treat us very well. It is a totally different story when I fly back to my own country. The Canadian Customs are rude, argumentative, and down right nasty.

Looking forward to clearing customs in Duluth, see you then!


It’s actually customs and border protection. Not customs and border patrol.

This transaction is one that shows the real limits of our current Federal Government structure.

DOD is suppose to control the hostile aircraft coming in to our land. NORAD was set up for just that activity.

FAA is suppose to control all aircraft in our land.

CBP is suppose to prevent illegal entry to our land.

All parts of our border are not equal.

I had hoped after 9/11, these groups and DHS could actually sit down and figure out how to do their jobs.

The challenge is you have both legal and illegal entry.

I have a DOD bent. I would make them King. Then FAA and CBP would have supporting roles.

I would also have “USERS” part of the solution.

Here is just one simple question: Do you think CBP uses tools like Flight-A-Ware or the FAA equivalent? Why does the Pilot have to try and contact them by phone or through FSS if they are not going to meet their “Planned” time?

I find NORAD completely inept now. They can’t find Russian Aircraft now.

I have done 100+ border crossings. The customs form has become an issue in the last few months.

I always had the verbal declaration and occasionally I would be asked to fill one out the form when I arrived, but the last time I went into KTEB I was reprimanded for not having it filled out prior to arrival.

I now keep copies of them in the plane and fill them out prior to arrival. YMMV.