Ottawa, February 25, 2015
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- This memorandum has been updated as a result of a technical review.
This memorandum outlines procedures for the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) clearance of aircrew.
Customs Act, sections 5, 8, 11, 12, 13, 98, and 164
Guidelines and General Information
1. For the purposes of this memorandum, the following definitions apply:
- airline personnel who are engaged in either operating the aircraft or performing cabin duties.
- Canadian Inspection Services (CIS)
- refers to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Canada Border Services Agency, Health Canada, and Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
- Deadhead aircrew
- airline personnel who are permitted by CBSA to be on the aircraft and who are not engaged in either operating the aircraft or performing cabin duties.
- Domestic leg
- a point to point movement within the territory of Canada of a progressively cleared flight or a progressively boarded flight.
- In-transit aircrew
- aircrew who arrives from a foreign country and who are allowed to disembark temporarily into an in-transit facility prior to resuming travel to another foreign country.
- Primary Inspection Line (PIL)
- the term is used to refer to the point at which the person entering Canada makes a report of his or her person and goods as required under the Customs Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. The CBSA has PIL booths from which the officers conduct primary examinations.
- Progressively boarding
- a flight departing for a foreign destination where passengers and crew board the plane at more than one airport in Canada.
- Progressively clearance
- a flight into Canada that offloads passengers and crew for CBSA clearance at more than one airport in Canada.
- Turnaround aircrew
- aircrew who terminates one flight and commences another flight without an interruption of their duties.
2. Prior to the arrival of an aircraft, the airline will provide CBSA with notice detailing the type of aircraft, the number of aircrew, the number of passengers, the movement of aircrew, and any change in the scheduled time of arrival. The notice will be communicated to the local CBSA manager or designated person at every airport of entry into Canada where passengers and aircrew will disembark.
Reporting and Clearance Procedures
3. On arrival of an aircraft, the airline will report to the local CBSA manager or designated person the exact number of passengers and aircrew who will disembark. With the exception of the special reporting and clearance procedures outlined in paragraph 4, the law requires that all passengers and aircrew report in person to CBSA upon arrival in Canada:
- (a) At airports where PIL is in operation, aircrew will report to a PIL extension desk or other location determined by the local CBSA manager.
- (b) At all other airports, aircrew will report and complete primary inspection requirements with passengers on a first-come first-served basis.
- (c) At all airports, passengers and aircrew will complete required CBSA secondary examination procedures on a first-come first-served basis.
- (d) Aircrew and deadhead aircrew who disembark on the domestic leg(s) of a progressively cleared flight or a progressively boarded flight must report to CBSA at the Canadian airport of disembarkation.
- (e) All airlines and aircrew shall adhere to all regulations and reporting requirements of CBSA and other inspection services, notwithstanding the special clearance privileges for aircrew.
Special Reporting and Clearance Procedures
4. Aircrew shall report in person to CBSA upon arrival in Canada except in the following situations:
- (a) Turnaround aircrew who are on the ground for less than ninety (90) minutes may remain on the aircraft provided that the airline notifies CBSA in advance detailing the total number of aircrew on board and the number of aircrew that will remain on the aircraft. Turnaround aircrew may be subject to spot checks.
- (b) In-transit aircrew may remain on the aircraft at airports where an in-transit facility is not in operation. In-transit aircrew may be subject to spot checks.
- (c) At airports where there is a United States preclearance facility, the use of the customs clearance procedures outlined in paragraph 4 are subject to prior approval by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
5. Aircrew are granted special CBSA clearance on the condition that they comply with the procedures contained in this Memorandum. Failure to comply with the procedures may result in the cancellation of special clearance privileges for aircrew.
6. For more information, within Canada call the Border Information Service at 1-800-461-9999. From outside Canada call 204-983-3500 or 506-636-5064. Long distance charges will apply. Agents are available Monday to Friday (08:00 – 16:00 local time / except holidays). TTY is also available within Canada: 1-866-335-3237.
- Issuing office:
- Program and Policy Management Division
Traveller Program Directorate
- Headquarters file:
- Legislative references:
- Customs Act
Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
- Other references:
- Superseded memorandum D:
- D2-5-6 dated February 2, 2006
- Date modified: