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Do I have to stop for customs when I fly on a private jet?

If you are flying internationally you will have to stop at customs whether you’re on a commercial or private flight. When entering or exiting certain countries, you may need to stop at a specific port of entry. For example, you must stop in Tahiti to perform customs checks en route to Bora Bora. And you’ll need to stop at the first port of entry when leaving Mexico.

However, your operator may have an overflight permit. This allows you to bypass the first port of entry and complete customs at your destination. For example, when flying from Paris to Los Angeles, you can go straight to LA with no stops. If this is the case, you can go direct from customs to your transport. Otherwise, you’ll need to board again and continue to your destination.

In the US, the airport you stop at for customs depends on the operators’ overflight permits. And the FAA rules for the country you departed. Every passenger must go through customs and declare anything of value they brought in, be it cash or goods. Separate customs stations are provided for private aviation. There are typically just a handful of people present which greatly speeds things up.

Outside of the US your customs station may include commercial flights. This can take a very long time. Unfortunately, there is no way around this as there are very, very few exceptions to going through customs. For example, an emergency medical flight may receive permission to skip customs.

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