UPDATE: Procedural Changes for Customs at Sao Paulo (SBGR) – Part 1: New Requirements

PT 4 M minute read
UPDATE: Procedural Changes for Customs at Sao Paulo (SBGR) – Part 1: New Requirements

This is a post by authors Marcia Taue. Marcia is based at Universal Aviation Brazil, which has aircraft ground handling facilities in Sao Paulo, Brasilia, Manaus, Recife, and Rio de Janeiro. Marcia is an expert on business aircraft operations in Brazil and can be contacted at marciataue@universalaviation.aero

This is part one of a three-part series on business aircraft operations and customs clearance procedures for operations to SBGR.

There have been recent customs clearance procedural changes implemented at Sao Paulo Guarulhos (SBGR). These changes impact General Aviation (GA) operations, and it’s important to understand the finer points, in terms of the new requirements. These new policies at SBGR mirror, in part, existing customs requirements/procedures that have already been in place for scheduled commercial operators.

The following is an overview of what you need to know:

1. Changes and implementation

New customs changes/procedures for SBGR were put in place and became effective earlier this year. A grace period was permitted until April 28, 2015, with no fines imposed. However, from this point on, no exemptions will be considered for operators out of compliance with the new customs requirements. Recent changes include both new gen dec requirements and customs clearance procedures, but they do not impact the existing immigration clearance in any way.

2. Different customs offices at SBGR

There are two different customs offices – at separate locations on the field – for customs clearance at SBGR. Ramp customs is responsible for clearing the aircraft, and it’s based on the ramp level of the main terminal. The other customs function – for clearing passengers, crew, and luggage – is located within the main terminal. It’s important to note that no services for the interior of the aircraft, such as cleaning or de-catering, may be provided until approval is obtained from ramp customs. External aircraft services – such as lav, water, and fuel uplift – may, however, be accomplished at any time and without clearance from ramp customs.

3. Arrival process

Upon international arrival passengers and luggage are deplaned and transported to the main terminal for customs clearance. Transport from the GA parking area – usually apron 12 – to the terminal takes approximately 15-20 minutes. If you’re operating anything larger than an ACJ or BBJ, you may, however, be parked in a commercial area rather than apron 12. Once you are in the terminal, there are no separate lines for GA passengers/crew, but your handler will oversee the clearance process. Be aware that as passengers and luggage clear customs in the main terminal, one of the pilots must proceed to the ramp customs office with required documentation (due to the 40-minute deadline after arrival to complete this process). Crew members must also present themselves to customs, in the main terminal, along with copies of the stamped gen dec. Note that SBGR now mandates use of a new and specifically formatted gen dec. While this particular gen dec currently applies only to SBGR, customs authorities have advised that the new and more rigorous gen dec requirements will become mandatory for all Brazilian airports of entry in the future.

4. Ramp customs procedure

Upon international arrival at SBGR, one member of the crew must present him/herself at the ramp customs office, and this must be done within 40 minutes of landing. For domestic operations ramp customs agents will validate documentation/permits provided by the Agencia Nacional de Aviacao Civil (ANAC) for a domestic overflight permit (a.k.a., temporary aircraft admission). This validation will be done with a time/date stamp, and the stamped documentation must remain onboard as customs agents may request to see it at any given time. If ramp customs agents do not validate your documentation, the aircraft may not proceed. Once the ramp customs process is cleared, crew may return to the aircraft, services may proceed within the interior of the aircraft, and the crew members will then be transported to the main terminal to clear customs and immigration.

5. Ramp customs shift change considerations

Be aware that ramp customs shift changes take place daily at 1500 local. This is important as it can create complications for departing flights, depending on planned time of departure. Customs rules state that the crew may not access the aircraft, to prepare for departure, until permission is given by the same ramp customs agent who approved and stamped your outbound SBGR gen dec. Be mindful that your ground handler must obtain permission from ramp customs before crew members are permitted to access their aircraft. Due to the ramp customs shift change, and the requirement that the same agent that processed your documentation gives you clearance to depart, operators who plan to leave, for example, at 1530 local will only be able to obtain ramp customs permission for ramp access at 1500. Due to this unique rule/requirement, it’s generally impractical to depart SBGR soon after 1500 local. If you wish to depart after 1500 local, it’s best to plan a departure no earlier than 1630 local in order to have time to receive ramp customs clearance and to prepare for flight. Crew members may have to wait at the checkpoint (area prior to entering the ramp) until approval from ramp customs is given, permitting the crew to go to the aircraft.

6. Additional reading: SBGR Customs Procedure Changes – Series Index


Having two different customs offices/locations to clear at SBGR can create confusion, particularly for first-time operators. It’s important to understand new gen dec requirements and customs clearance procedures at SBGR as fines are levied for non-compliance as of April 28, 2015.

Later, we’ll discuss documentation requirements for customs clearance at SBGR.


If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to Brazil, contact me at marciataue@universalaviation.aero.

Got a question for Marcia about this article?