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

Passengers on all international private charter flights will have to stop at customs. In certain countries, you may have to go through customs at a specific port of entry; for example, you must stop in Tahiti to perform customs checks en route to Bora Bora. You’ll also need to stop at the first port of entry when entering the U.S. from Mexico.

However, your operator may have an overflight permit allowing you to bypass the first port of entry and complete customs at your destination. For example, when flying from Paris to Los Angeles, you could go straight to LA with no stops.

In the U.S., the airport you stop at for customs depends on the operators’ overflight permits, as well as the FAA’s and CBP’s specific regulations for the country from where 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 usually provided for private aviation in the United States, and with fewer passengers to clear compared to a commercial airliner this process typically takes less than about 15 minutes.

Outside of the U.S., your customs station may include commercial flights, which may mean 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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