Pre Clearing Customs in St. Thomas

jross

Active member
Joined
Mar 11, 2003
Posts
28
Total Time
4000+
Has anyone been able to pre-clear customs in St. Thomas (TIST)and then fly directly to an airport that is not served by customs?
 

LRvsH25B

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Posts
249
Total Time
9K+
Has anyone been able to pre-clear customs in St. Thomas (TIST)and then fly directly to an airport that is not served by customs?
Yes. Remember, St. thomas is USvi, not a Brittish Virgin island. We did a little custom's paperwork there and then flew to PBI, but we didnt go to customs or anything liek that. We just hit the FBO and then went on ou way.
 

getonit

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 22, 2002
Posts
194
Total Time
2500
Unless you really coordinate things it doesn't seem like you are saving much time. Have your passengers meet you at customs at the main terminal. Otherwise you load all of your stuff at the FBO, taxi over to the terminal, unload there, repack everything, etc. I agree in theory it saves time especially if heading to the NE area because you don't have to stop at wilmington NC. There is no accounting for what customs will want you to do. Sometimes you pull everything off of the plane and othertimes you don't.
 

fu69atacafyeah

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 28, 2005
Posts
157
Total Time
1
Unless you really coordinate things it doesn't seem like you are saving much time. Have your passengers meet you at customs at the main terminal. Otherwise you load all of your stuff at the FBO, taxi over to the terminal, unload there, repack everything, etc. I agree in theory it saves time especially if heading to the NE area because you don't have to stop at wilmington NC. There is no accounting for what customs will want you to do. Sometimes you pull everything off of the plane and othertimes you don't.

you hit it...it saves you from needing an overflight exemption or running into "captain america" at customs on the other end eating up an hour of time
 

cptsesso

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 15, 2004
Posts
130
Total Time
6100
Things must have changed over the last 5 years. We used to go to St. Thomas every month and if we pre-cleared there, we were told we still had to land at an airport served by US Customs because they reserved the right to come out and check us again.
 

jross

Active member
Joined
Mar 11, 2003
Posts
28
Total Time
4000+
Things must have changed over the last 5 years. We used to go to St. Thomas every month and if we pre-cleared there, we were told we still had to land at an airport served by US Customs because they reserved the right to come out and check us again.
Things have not changed at all. I started this thread trying to find out if I had been giving bad info from the customs office in ATL. I flew out of TIST Sunday and pre-cleared customs before departure. I had originally planned to fly to our home base in GA, which has no customs and is not a point of entry. Weeks prior to our trip I had contacted the CBP office in Atlanta to inquire about my plans and they said no problem. Come the day of the trip and I need somebody's badge number from ATL for my GEN DEC and suddenly they are not sure about the rules. To make a long story short I elected to fly to FLL taxi directly to the FBO bypassing the customs ramp and fax my paperwork get gas and blast of for home. I would like to avoid this in the future if I can. Just trying to figure out how?
 

Fly91

Registered Pilot
Joined
Jul 31, 2008
Posts
635
Total Time
lots
Things have not changed at all. I started this thread trying to find out if I had been giving bad info from the customs office in ATL. I flew out of TIST Sunday and pre-cleared customs before departure. I had originally planned to fly to our home base in GA, which has no customs and is not a point of entry. Weeks prior to our trip I had contacted the CBP office in Atlanta to inquire about my plans and they said no problem. Come the day of the trip and I need somebody's badge number from ATL for my GEN DEC and suddenly they are not sure about the rules. To make a long story short I elected to fly to FLL taxi directly to the FBO bypassing the customs ramp and fax my paperwork get gas and blast of for home. I would like to avoid this in the future if I can. Just trying to figure out how?
We did it last week. Pre-Cleared, took 10 minutes for 8 people. Flew direct to Boca at 8pm. They never tell you to go to an airport with Customs to get checked again, never happened to me in the past 4 years and about 40 times coming back from TIST.
 

fu69atacafyeah

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 28, 2005
Posts
157
Total Time
1
Things must have changed over the last 5 years. We used to go to St. Thomas every month and if we pre-cleared there, we were told we still had to land at an airport served by US Customs because they reserved the right to come out and check us again.
NOPE NO CHANGE...that's right, you absolutley have to go to an airport with customs BUT you dont have to comply with the 30 degree north rule per 19 CFR 122.23...customs on the other end still has the right to check you out.
 

cptsesso

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 15, 2004
Posts
130
Total Time
6100
NOPE NO CHANGE...that's right, you absolutley have to go to an airport with customs BUT you dont have to comply with the 30 degree north rule per 19 CFR 122.23...customs on the other end still has the right to check you out.
That's what I thought. We ended up getting an annual overflight permit to bypass ILM and fly straight up to the northeast. We would still have had to land at the same airport with pre-clearing, so why even bother.
 

StarHustler

Go Mountaineers!
Joined
Jun 25, 2005
Posts
317
Total Time
1 Mill
Unless I am flying to an airport without a Customs office, I try not to pre clear in St. Thomas. We pre cleared down there last month and it took over an hour (everyone is on 'Island time') my passengers were angry about it (we were flying to BOS and could have cleared up there with an overflight permit). If I have a choice, I won't do it again.
 

jross

Active member
Joined
Mar 11, 2003
Posts
28
Total Time
4000+
Unless I am flying to an airport without a Customs office, I try not to pre clear in St. Thomas. We pre cleared down there last month and it took over an hour (everyone is on 'Island time') my passengers were angry about it (we were flying to BOS and could have cleared up there with an overflight permit). If I have a choice, I won't do it again.
My experience with pre-clearing was much different. I used St. Thomas Jet Center to handle our flight and they took care of everything that we needed. Filled out all paperwork, walked our passengers through the customs area and we completed the whole process from beginning to end in 20 minutes. To me it beats flying to a port of entry and unloading all of the bags for an inspection and then load them back on and then head for home.
 

ProFracPilot

What's it doing now?
Joined
May 1, 2003
Posts
701
Total Time
8000
The last time I pre-cleared at TIST, our destination was SYR. When we landed at SYR and taxied onto the FBO ramp, ground tells us Customs wants to see us and the airplane over at the terminal. Thankfully I hadn't shut down. Back across the runway we go. The CBP person at SYR basically told us we wasted our time by pre-clearing, and that we should have known better.

In the future, I won't waste mine or my pax time pre-clearing in TIST.
 

Fly91

Registered Pilot
Joined
Jul 31, 2008
Posts
635
Total Time
lots
The last time I pre-cleared at TIST, our destination was SYR. When we landed at SYR and taxied onto the FBO ramp, ground tells us Customs wants to see us and the airplane over at the terminal. Thankfully I hadn't shut down. Back across the runway we go. The CBP person at SYR basically told us we wasted our time by pre-clearing, and that we should have known better.

In the future, I won't waste mine or my pax time pre-clearing in TIST.
Maybe you skipped the one important thing that you still SHOULD DO, but are not required to do. Still call the Customs office where you are going if there is one on the field to tell them you pre-cleared in TIST. If you do that they will never ask to see you a second time. IF there is no customs office on the field you're going to, call any of them to give them an inbound notification. I've never once had to see them again on arrival at PBI, FLL, MIA or anywhere, and alot of times we went into fields with no customs office on the field, BCT, ORL, LAL. Been doing this for 4+ years. Did it last week and our other crew did it yesterday.

And to be honest, Customs has no clue about the laws or requirements, they all have their heads UP THEIR AZZES. If they called me to come to Customs after I taxxied into my parking area, I'm shutting down, they can come to me. And I will get my poassengers off and gone as normal.
 
Last edited:

fu69atacafyeah

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 28, 2005
Posts
157
Total Time
1
And to be honest, Customs has no clue about the laws or requirements, they all have their heads UP THEIR AZZES. If they called me to come to Customs after I taxxied into my parking area, I'm shutting down, they can come to me. And I will get my poassengers off and gone as normal.

YES SIR YOU JUST WON THE JACKPOT!
 

bama*pilot

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 29, 2006
Posts
64
Total Time
4500+
You can pre clear in TIST or TISX. All you have to do is bring your passengers and luggage to customs... they check it out and off you go. You can go to any us aiport after that. Customs or not. That is the point of pre clearence. I have done it 40+ times. Some of the airports we fly to from TIST have been very small county airports.
 
Top