Boats get their fast lane back

Published on Thu, Apr 18, 2002
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Boats get their fast lane back

Last week the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and Canada customs and immigration authorities announced their pre-clearance programs for U.S. and Canadian pleasure boaters were back in place for this year’s boating season.

Both the CANPASS and the I-68 U.S. boat permit programs were suspended following September 11 due to security risks but have been modified to meet today’s security needs, according to press releases from the agencies administering the programs.

“The forms are on their way but we don’t have them yet,” said INS representative Garrison Courtney. Once local ports have the new I-68 applications, boaters over 14 can pay $16 and come to the port for an interview to be admitted to the program. Families with children under 14 pay $32 to have the children included on a parent’s I-68. Applicants will be fingerprinted and need to bring in photographs.

Holders of the I-68 do not need to check in with immigration authorities when they cross the border on a pleasure boat, but they still need to check in with customs. The customs small boat reporting service was not suspended after September 11. Boats receive an identification number the first time they check in at a customs inspection port if customs inspectors are satisfied with their examination of the vessel. Thereafter the vessel can clear customs by calling a toll-free number. “If the customs officer wants to inspect you, he will direct you to a port,” said customs representative Cherise Miles.

The customs reporting system is free, but all boats over 30 feet entering U.S. waters pay an annual $30 user fee to customs.

The CANPASS system covers both customs and immigration requirements for boats entering Canadian waters. The program costs CDN$25 and participants call a toll-free number before they cross the border and get a clearance number, eliminating the need to go to a port where inspection services are available. CANPASS application information is available at www.ccra.gc.ca of from the regional office at 604/535-9346...

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