Canadian airspace - Border crossing procedures/options
Answered By AOPA

I'm planning a cross-country flight in July 2020. We're beginning in So. California and heading eastbound. The attached graphic shows our routing from Syracuse, NY, to Quebec City, QC, to Bangor, ME.
It's been 14 years since I last did a border crossing into Canada. At that time, all we needed to do was to call 1-88-CANPASS to advise of our crossing and arrival at an Airport of Entry to clear customs. Have the procedures changed significantly?  Referencing our routing on the attached map, would we be able to fly direct from KSYR (Syracuse) to CYQB (Quebec City) to clear customs, or would we have to find a different AOE? Same question for the return to the US.  Bangor, ME seems to be the closest AOE along our route. Is there some way to confirm which airport we would be expected to fly to upon returning to the US?
3 Replies
AOPA Staff Answer
Hi Gary,

I would first recommend that you review the information on AOPA's Canada page just to check the procedures needed for crossing the border (they have changed since you last did it).

When flying to or from Canada the requirement for clearing customs is that your first point of landing needs to be at an AOE, but not necessarily the first one you come across. If your airport of destination is an AOE you could fly directly there without needing to make a stop at the first AOE you pass. So if CYQB is and AOE you would be fine clearing there, the same goes for Bangor on your return trip.

I would recommend checking with both US and Canadian customs on the status of Border crossings, because there have been many restrictions due to COVID. Those restrictions could be tightened or relaxed at anytime and should be something you keep your eye on more and more as your trip date approaches.
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