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Outlying Area Reporting Station (OARS)

Frequently Asked Questions

The Outlying Area Reporting Station (OARS) has been developed as an innovative alternative to the Canadian Border Boat Landing Program or, as it is commonly known, the I-68 program (seasonal permit). The I-68 program allows certain persons who enter the United States by small boat to be inspected once per year, and thereafter enter from time to time for recreational purposes without further inspection. Boaters who choose not to obtain Form I-68 must report in person for inspection at a Port-of-Entry (POE) upon each entry to the United States.

The purpose of OARS is to provide a user-friendly, automated inspection service to enhance service to the boating community. The system is free, convenient, and easy to use.

The OARS program uses videophones, typically located at public marinas, which boaters may use to report to INS. Not only do boaters benefit from ease of use and convenience; the INS also realizes several benefits. Immigration inspectors can now perform inspections at locations other than their stationed port. An inspector may monitor several points of arrival at one time thus making more effective use of the inspector’s time and skills by allowing more inspection locations to be open.

OARS is not a replacement for traditional physical inspections. Coupled with random compliance checks and use in appropriate low-risk locations, it is an effective means of enforcing immigration laws while providing convenience to the traveler.

The system is comprised of an AutoDial telephone, a video transceiver, a monitor, a facial camera and a document camera. To operate the system, the traveler either picks up the handset or pushes the inspector call button. This system allows both the traveler and the inspector to view one another as the inspection is taking place.

By the end of the 1999 boating season, INS had 37 OARS units deployed. For more information about participating in OARS please contact the following Districts: Buffalo, NY, Cleveland, OH, Detroit, MI, Portland, ME, Philadelphia, PA and St. Paul, MN.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Who is eligible to participate in this program?

United States citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents of the United States, Canadian citizens, Landed Commonwealth Residents of Canada, and nationals of designated Visa Waiver Pilot Program countries with a valid, stamped I-94 or I-94W, Arrival Departure Record.

What is the length of the inspection?

The inspection time is comparable to a land border inspection. If the boater is not readily admissible, the boater will be referred to an open Port-of-Entry.

How are the site selections made?

The OARS units have been deployed to areas where the public has easy access to them such as public gas docks, boating marinas, and state parks.

How Do I Enroll in OARS?

United States citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents of the United Sates, Canadian citizens, Landed Commonwealth Residents of Canada, and nationals of designated Visa Waiver Pilot Program countries with a valid, stamped I-94 or I-94W, Arrival/Departure Record are eligible to participate in this program. For more information about participating in OARS please contact the following Districts: Buffalo, NY, Cleveland, OH, Detroit, MI, Portland, ME, Philadelphia, PA and St. Paul, MN. Please see our field offices home page for more information on contacting INS offices.

Last Modified 07/08/2002