U.S. Customs and Border Protection began a pilot program this month allowing commercial trucks that do not use transponders to prepay the single-crossing user fee online prior to arrival at a port of entry. The pilot will begin at the Buffalo, Detroit and El Paso ports of entry and last for approximately one year.
CBP requires all trucks crossing into the U.S. from Canada or Mexico to pay the user fee to offset border inspections costs.
The program, urged on by the Canadian Trucking Alliance, means carriers or their agents without transponders will be able to make single-crossing user fee online payments through the Decal/Transponder Online Procurement System (DTOPS) website. The mobile-friendly DTOPS website design allows users to pay online using their smartphones. CBP is also developing a DTOPS app for smartphones.
Paying the single-crossing user fee online prior to arriving at the border reduces fuel consumption and wait times, says the agency. Removing the cash/credit card payment process from primary inspection enables CBP officers to process vehicles faster and more efficiently. It also eliminates the need for drivers to carry cash. (Electronic receipts will be emailed).
To make a payment, users will set up an account in DTOPS, register their vehicle(s), select the single-crossing payment option and checkout with the secure online payment system. DTOPS will confirm payment by providing an electronic receipt. Single-crossing online payments are good until December 31 of the year purchased.
Cash and credit card payments will continue to be accepted at the border, but carriers who pay upon arrival may experience additional delays, says CBP.
Once completed, the pilot will be evaluated for a 90-day period after which time CBP will determine whether to expand the program to all U.S. land border ports of entry that process commercial trucks.
The DTOPS mobile app does not collect any information regarding the identity of an individual or an individual’s device.
More information about commercial truck user fee online payments for single crossings and for annual transponder purchases is available at https://dtops.cbp.dhs.gov.