The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has announced changes to its cruise ship operations clearance procedures through the launch of the Cruise Ship Gateway Strategy.   

Starting this year, the CBSA will pilot the Cruise Ship Gateway Strategy to simplify cruise ship reporting requirements and save time and money for cruise ship operators and the CBSA. Beginning August 2012, the CBSA will fully clear all vessels whose first point of arrival (FPOA) is St. John’s, Newfoundland or Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Full clearance includes both admissibility (immigration) and goods (customs).

Under this pilot, cruise ships entering Canada will now be able to explore Canadian communities with greater flexibility.  Once cleared at an FPOA site, the ship can visit any port of call within Canada with greater ease.  Passengers can disembark and embark without further CBSA clearance provided that the ship does not subsequently dock at a foreign port. This process will apply even if the ship enters international waters and then re-enters Canada. 

However, should a cruise ship dock at a foreign port, upon return to Canada, re-clearing through CBSA will be required.  This change to operations will maximize efficiencies for the CBSA while stimulating local economies by promoting travel and tourism along our coasts and inland waterways.