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Ports of Entry and User Fee Airports

The following describes the basic requirements needed that must be met by an applicant for consideration to be designated as a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Port of Entry or User Fee Airport.

Ports of Entry


A "Port of Entry" is an officially designated location (seaports, airports, and or land border locations) where CBP officers or employees are assigned to accept entries of merchandise, clear passengers, collect duties, and enforce the various provisions of CBP and related laws. The following are considered the minimum basic criteria for establishing a port of entry.

The applicant or requesting community must:

  • Prepare a report that shows how the benefits to be derived justify the Federal Government expense.
  • Be serviced by at least one other major mode of transportation.
  • Have a minimum population of 300,000 within the immediate service area (approximately a 70-mile radius).

The actual workload in the area must be one or a combination of the following:

  • 15,000 international air passengers (airport).
  • 2,000 scheduled international arrivals (airport).
  • 2,500 consumption entries (each valued over $2,000), with no more than half being attributed to any one party (airport, seaport, land border port).
  • 350 vessels (seaport)
  • 150,000 vehicles (land border port).
  • Any appropriate combination of the above.

Facilities provided without cost to the Federal Government, must include:

  • Wharfage and anchorage adequate for oceangoing cargo/passenger vessels (if a water port).
  • Cargo and passenger facilities.
  • Warehousing space for the secure storage of imported cargo pending final CBP inspection and release.
  • The commitment of optimal use of electronic data input equipment and software to permit integration with any CBP system for electronic processing of commercial entries.
  • Administrative office space, cargo inspection areas, primary and secondary inspection rooms, and storage areas, storage areas and any other space necessary for regular CBP operations.
  • Identification of location and distance of nearest CBP ports.

The Federal Government provides Land Border inspection facilities.

User Fee Airport (UFA) Program


A UFA is a small airport which has been approved by the Commissioner of CBP to receive, for a fee, the services of a CBP officer for the processing of aircraft entering the United States and their passengers and cargo. The applicant must meet the following criteria for UFA consideration:

  • The volume or value of business at the airport is insufficient to justify the availability of inspectional services at such airport on a non-reimbursable basis.
  • The current Governor of the State in which such airport is located supports such designation in writing to the Commissioner of CBP.
  • The requestor (e.g. airport authority) agrees to reimburse CBP for all costs associated with the services, including all expenses of staffing a minimum of one full-time inspector.
  • The requestor completes an Agriculture Compliance Agreement (ACA) with fixed base operators and garbage haulers for handling the international garbage.

The basic steps required in considering an application for designation as an UFA include:

  • Receipt of a letter from the current Governor of the state supporting the user fee airport designation addressed to the Commissioner.
  • An initial site visit in which CBP officials discuss workload and services
  • A final site visit in which CBP officials verify that facilities are 85% complete and adequate for inspectional services to be provided.
  • A successful site visit in which CBP officials discuss workload and services and verify that facilities are adequate for inspectional services to be provided.
  • Completing a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with CBP, which states the responsibilities, fees and hours of service.
  • Completing an ACA with CBP for handling international garbage.

An approved UFA receiving CBP services is responsible for payment of the following fees:

  • Per Inspector - $140,874 for the first year and $123,438 for succeeding years.
  • ADP costs per inspector - $17,042 to $21,062 (1st year) and $13,620 to $17,640 for succeeding years depending on the location.
  • Other associated costs such as overtime.

In all cases regarding requests for new service, it must be understood that before CBP approves requests to establish new Ports of Entry or User Fee Airports, CBP must have the available staffing or the authorization and appropriations to hire additional staffing. This is and will continue to be one of the most important considerations.