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Commercial flights arriving in the US from outside its customs territory are subject to Commercial Aircraft User Fee (CAUF) and International Air Passenger User Fee (IAPUF). These fees were established by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) under the Agricultural Quarantine and Inspection (AQI) program to cover inspection costs. This program aims to prevent entry of pests and adverse diseases and to enable the safe trade of agricultural commodities in the United States.


Who Must Pay APHIS AQI User Fees?

APHIS AQI User Fees apply to commercial flights to the US from outside its customs territory.

Exempt from these fees are flights under emergency or forced landings where foreign ports are the original destinations, transit stops that are not subject to inspection or clearance, and flights coming from the U.S. Virgin Islands to Puerto Rico.

Several other exemptions apply. For example, IAPUF exempts diplomats outside the US and airline employees, including “deadheading” crew members traveling on official airline business. Moreover, any passenger aircraft with only up to 64 seats are exempt from CAUF, provided they are neither carrying any plants, fresh produce, unprocessed plant products, or meats; nor offering meal services other than beverages and repacked snacks that don’t contain meat or fresh fruits and vegetables.


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How Much are APHIS AQI User Fees?

Currently, CAUF is $225.00 per arrival and IAPUF is $3.83 per passenger.

Delinquent debts shall be evaluated for interests and penalties. Payments that are more than 90 days past due may be charged with 6% annual interest plus administrative charges to cover the cost of collection.


What Are the Obligations?

Aircraft operators with commercial arrivals to the US from abroad must:

  • Apply for an account number.
  • Submit quarterly activity reports to APHIS through and pay within 31 days following the end of each calendar quarter. A nil activity report is required if no activity has occurred during the period.
  • Remit payment to APHIS through check, money order, credit card, bank ACH or wire transfer.
  • Maintain records for a period of 5 to 8 years.


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