Seaplane Pilots Can Now Clear U.S. Customs by App

The ROAM app lets pilots use video conference for two Minnesota locations.

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Seaplanes pilots returning from Canada can clear U.S. Customs by video conference at two Minnesota seaplane bases.U.S. Customs

Seaplane pilots arriving in the United States can now use an app to clear U.S. Customs as part of a test program. Available at two locations in Minnesota, the Reporting Offsite Arrival-Mobile (ROAM) app lets pilots clear customs by video conference at Scott’s Seaplane Base on Crane Lake and at the Shagawa Lake Seaplane base in Ely. Pilots must file a flight plan using the electronic Advance Passenger Information System (eAPIS), but the ROAM app can be used to close the flight plan.

Launched as a system for pleasure boaters, the ROAM app is compatible with iOS and Android devices. Once the app has been downloaded, users can set up a free login.gov account to create traveler and conveyance profiles. After landing at one of the two approved seaplane bases, the app allows the pilot to conduct a video conference on their smartphone or tablet with U.S. Customs rather than requiring a customs officer to be on site for clearance.

The test program for boaters was launched last August and expanded to Crane Lake in February. It “addresses a pressing issue for border waters that depend heavily on tourism,” CBP said in a statement. “Anglers and outdoorsmen from around the country travel to these border waters with their families to enjoy fishing and other outdoor activities. Oftentimes these groups travel into the province of Ontario, Canada, which prompts border security checks by U.S. Customs and Border Protection upon return.”

CBP plans eventually to expand the program to more locations.