How to Order Your U.S. Border Crossing Fee Online

April 3, 2011

One would think the combined might of the federal government could find a way to sell a $27.50 decal online, but such is not the case. Reader Jim Rogers, from San Francisco, managed to do it, and sent the following note. Until the Feds make it easier, we plan to have the necessary form faxed to us. We’ll fill it in and mail our check. They don’t release the decal for a few weeks to be sure the check clears, so we’ll order early, as always.
—Bob Hale

Bob,
I followed the description of paying the processing fee on page 11 of the 2011 Waggoner Cruising Guide but got stuck on the website. I was ultimately successful and have put together a word document describing the process to aid others. Feel free to use this document in any way you see fit.
—Jim Rogers, M/Y Alice J, San Francisco, Calif.

Processing fee to enter or reenter the US (Boats over 30 ft.) and decal (issued by DTOPS).

Decal and Transponder Online Procurements System—DTOPS

The website is dtops.cbp.dhs.gov

Page 11 of the 2011 Waggoner Cruising Guide discusses the difficulty using the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website. I too found the website confusing but after a telephone call to their help desk I was successful in the following steps (Step 2 was the major obstacle).

(1) Registering online. It is fairly simple to establish a password and provide the requested data to get an assigned login ID. You will receive an email stating you are registered. Save your password somewhere!

(2) Establishing an account. This was the most confusing, and required a telephone call to the help desk. Private parties should ignore the first screen. It is for Business Accounts and certification by the Business Account Administrator. Private parties should simply use the first screen to enter the account name they wish (I used my name - the boat name). Then check the box “certifying” you are an administrator. The following screens are less confusing and soon an account is displayed.

(3) Ordering and paying the reentry processing fee ($27.50). This required more work than buying at AMAZON. Login to the site and see your account listed, click on sidebar, create an order, and select New User Fee. Establishing the order is relatively easy but paying is confusing. Carefully check the boxes required and a “make payment” tab will highlight. Enter credit card data and you are finished. Your final screen will have all the data you need, order number, payment amount, shipping address, billing address, etc. Sit back and wait for the decal to arrive in the mail. An email message will confirm success.

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