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Discussion in 'Cinestar Misc' started by Dave King, Apr 11, 2013.
Has anyone had any problems taking their cinestar into Canada at the border? Just curious.
I've crossed a few times with mine. PM me your number and we can chat about it.
We've been crossing the boarder for the last 7 years with UAVs ranging from a Draganflyer X4-P to a 75lb. Movie Cat II with Adaptive Flight auto pilot with out a single issue. If you plan to fly the UAV for a client (and charge them a fee for your services) that is using a UAV commercially (for profit) and in that case you need an SFOS (Special Flight Operations Certificate) issued by Transport Canada (Canadian equivalent of the FAA) SkyReel has been operating UAVs commercially with an SFOC for 7 years.
Hope that helps
Can you get this permit even if your a US resident? It would be nice to have.
I think you then may have other issues, Josh. Entering Canada with the intent to work will mean you need to be prepared to deal with Canadian immigration authorities.
On the other hand if you are "Film or media crews who are not entering the Canadian labour market" (see the link under News Reporters, film and media crews), then you do not need a work permit. Just be prepared to demonstrate that you work for a foreign news company. On the other hand you could just be a Business Visitor. (Plan B: Member of the Clergy? )
I'm not 100% sure, The regulations are continually evolving. We have had an American UAV film team fly commercially in Canada but we listed them in our SFOC. TC said to us that we must have a company in existence for at least 5 years to be issued an SFOC.
SFOCs are issued to our company. You submit the 5Ws, they're called "condition" in the SFOC. With the first few applications the SFOC is issued for a specific time and place. If its raining and you can't fly you have to start the process over again which can take months. SkyReel has an SFOC that allows us to fly any where any time as long as we abide by the conditions in our SFOC. One of the conditions is that SkyReel carry 5 million public liability for a UAV. That was the most difficult condition to get in place. Insurance companies are afraid of UAVs
You can't go into Canada if you say you are going to do a paid job. They also don't want anyone bringing professional gear into Canada, only consumer type of electronics. They will turn you right around so fast your head will spin. Last fall I called the border patrol and told them I was taking a bunch of AV equipment to shoot a golf instructional video that I was producing and inquired what I needed to do in advance. They told me on the phone to write down all the model and serial numbers, have receipts of purchase, and a value of the equipment. Then I had to find receipts for everything. I had a van full of equipment and this took me about 10 hours to do all this work. They said worst case scenario was that I might have to apply for a work permit which I could get right on the spot for a small fee. AT first I had to go to Buffalo on the US side to declare everything which took about 3 hours. When I got to Canada they told me that there was no way they were letting me into Canada and that for me to enter Canada I would need a work survey completed by immigration and it would need to be completed in advance (process takes a month) to see if anyone in a 60 mile radius was capable of doing the work and only if there was none that they would let me go in. I told them I had all the documentation that I was instructed to bring with me and they laughed at meand said that nobody would give me such information. (hard lesson learned, always get names of people on the phone). They told me that even if I was bringing video equipment into Canada to do a demo reel and made no money off of it they wouldn't let me into Canada because they would prefer you to pay someone to do it for you which completely goes against why you want to do a demo reel. They said that they even turn students away that want to use if for academic projects because they encourage US citizens to hire Canadians for such things (again goes against the spirit of the purpose). They are very protective of potential jobs for Canadians.
So for anyone wanting to bring a copter into Canada be advised!!! If they ask you what it is you need to tell them that its a model aircraft (which by FAA and Transport Canada definition it is)
Dave when you say you called border patrol was that the US or Canadian border folks?
I called both actually. The Canadian border people told me that all I would need is a letter from who was hiring me, receipts, and serial numbers with values.
And such is the life of a traveler. The final decision is up to the individual customs inspector whereever you go. I've had colleagues that came to the US, got locked up at the border and put back on the next flight home because the inspector they got was having a bad day. I've been challenged flying freight into Quebec and having the inspector insist I fill in the French side of the form rather than the opposite side which was in English. Or the former US marine that was locked in a Mexican jail for more than 4 months for listening to the agents on the US side of the border as he went to drive through Mexico with his grandfathers shotgun.
So part of it is luck, part of it is being polite and accepting the decision. Push too hard and you will find your van emptied on the ground while they search for contraband. And it won't matter whether it is raining, snowing whatever.
And with today's focus on terrorism lying to them about the purpose might prove to be a really bad idea. Ask the questions, get the answers in writing, perhaps use a customs broker or an immigration lawyer that can help you with the proper work permits like Fragomen.
Yeap, I was completely honest about what I was doing and tried to do what I believed was correct. Your right you need answers in writing. I also recommend that anyone doing work in Canada get the permit through Transport Canada. Big fines if you don't and get caught.
I only addressed your original question: "Has anyone had any problems taking their cinestar into Canada at the border? Just curious"
We travel the world with our UAVs and other filming equipment regularly. We travel with a Carnet. A carnet is like a passport for equipment. Media, entertainers and sports teams use carnets to travel with their professional equipment. Carnets are accepted in over 71 countries and permit the duty-free and tax-free temporary importation of goods into foreign countries. Carnets are valid for only one year. We had an import-export brokerage handle the application for our last one. We have used a Carnet to import and export our equipment in and out of Europe, Africa, the U.S. and Canada. You should not have a problem bringing your Cinestar into Canada when traveling with a Carnet.
The Carnet is only the first step. You will still need an SFOC to legally fly your UAVs commercially in Canada. I hope that helps.
Dave: To get a carnet: http://www.uscib.org/index.asp?documentID=859
We use a ATA Carnet as well when going just about anywhere with our land based production teams as well as now aerial packages.
Good info, thanks.
Understanding the nature of certain border agents (not all).....