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DHS, CBP Publish Final Rule Allowing Additional U.S. Ports of Entry for Flights To and From Cuba

Release Date: 
February 3, 2011

The final rule titled "Airports of Entry or Departure for Flights to and From Cuba," was published in the Federal Register on Friday, Jan. 28.

Under Department of Homeland Security regulations, direct flights between the U.S. and Cuba must arrive at or depart from one of three named U.S. airports: John F. Kennedy International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, or Miami International Airport.

This final rule amends current DHS regulations to allow additional U.S. airports that are able to process international flights to request approval of U.S. Customs and Border Protection to process authorized flights between the U.S. and Cuba.

Properly authorized flights to and from Cuba will be able to arrive at or depart from any U.S. airport that CBP has approved. To be eligible, an airport must be an international airport, landing rights airport, or user fee airport and have adequate staffing, equipment, and facilities to process international traffic. In addition, the airport must have an Office of Foreign Assets Control licensed carrier service provider that is prepared to provide flights between the airport and Cuba.

The director of the port authority governing the airport seeking approval must send a written request to:

Assistant Commissioner, Office of Field Operations
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Attn: Mr. Arthur A. E. Pitts, Sr., Director, Passenger Policies Division
1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20229
Telephone: (202) 344 -2752
E-mail: Arthur.pitts@dhs.gov

After CBP determines that the airport is suitable to accommodate flights traveling between the U.S. and Cuba, CBP will notify the requestor that the airport has been approved to accept aircraft traveling to or from Cuba, and that it may immediately begin to accept such aircraft.

The requirements to obtain clearance and permission from CBP to depart from or enter at the airport and to provide advance notice of arrival will still apply. Clearance and permission to depart from or enter at the airport must be obtained by contacting the CBP officer in charge at the authorized airport at which the aircraft departs or arrives. Advance notice of arrival must be provided either through the Federal Aviation Administration flight notification procedure or directly to the CBP officer in charge at the authorized airport of arrival.

All aircraft to which these amended regulations apply must be properly licensed or otherwise authorized to travel between the U.S. and Cuba. Several federal agencies administer the necessary authorizations, and it is the responsibility of the owner or person in command of the aircraft to ensure that the aircraft has the necessary authorization to travel.

Paperwork Reduction Act Statement: an agency may not conduct or sponsor an information collection and a person is not required to respond to this information unless it displays a current valid OMB control number. The control number for this collection is 1651-0134. The estimated average time to complete this submission is 1 hour per respondent. If you have any comments regarding the burden estimate you can write to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Regulations and Rulings, 799 9th Street, NW. Washington DC 20229. Exp. 07-31-2014.

For more information, please see the final rule. (Rules and Regulations)

Last modified: 
February 8, 2017