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New US Customs & Border Patrol Reporting System App - ROAM

Authored by Joann Mead
May 20, 2018

9/29/19 Corrected link in this article. JM

The US Customs and Border Patrol have announced a new cell phone or tablet app for pleasure boater for reporting their arrival into US.  This app, CBP ROAM (Reporting Offsite Arrival - Remote), can be downloaded from Google Play Store or Apple App Store at no cost.  One will need to set up an account at to create profiles about the travelers and conveyances. It can be used by all travelers coming into the US via private vessel no matter the nationality of the traveler or the vessel.  Please see  Also, an article on theboatgalley website has additional information:


For a complete review of check in requirements for both US and Canada, please see the revised article by Brad Somers, Rear Commodore (Ret), US and Canadian Border Reporting Requirements.


We used the Roam App successfully coming back from the North Channel (Canada) to the US. We thought that it was not available for us, but a call to the Drummond Marina clued us in otherwise. We filled out the application online including photos of our passports and had our clearance to return to the USA within one hour. No need to stop in Drummond. We did not previously have Nexus or other means of expediting returns. Just passports. We have received numerous TSA pre-checks without asking for them; so, I'm guessing that we have been pretty well vetted.


1) The CBP website reports "the CBP ROAM app can also be accessed on tablets at partner locations." Tablets may be coming, but I would suggest if you want to use ROAM get the app on your smart phone. On a recent stop at Put-In-Bay (western Lake Erie) I saw that notice about tablets on a sign posted by the CBP. I asked the dock master if tablet were available. He shook his head "no."

2) The Small Vessel Reporting System (SVRS) is being dropped by the CBP. This notice recently appeared on their website: "Beginning September 5, 2018, SVRS will no longer be in service and float plans will no longer be accepted."

The website reports three available options: ROAM, NEXUS and an I-68. If you like scuttlebutt, rumors have it the I-68 option will be gone by next summer.


Tried to use the ROAM app to check in but could not get past the error message that the App was denied location permissions. It then took me to the APP Permissions settings where Location was given. I also confirmed that Location was turned on on the Phone. I had also downloaded the latest version of the app. Have sent an email to the address given as the developer on Android Play Store. We had to call into Nexus to check in.


I just checked in the “old-fashioned” way (telephone / NEXUS), and the very strong message from the officer on the other end was that we should use the ROAM app. As he put it, “I can check in five boats with the app in the time it takes me to talk to you on the phone.” Fair enough - easier for us, easier for him. Will try it next time.


We have a NEXUS Card with an associated Boat Registration Number. Just "for fun" we decided to try the new ROAM process. Downloading the app and entering the information took a little time but was actually pretty easy. When we returned from a recent trip to Canada we used our app to report our arrival and then waited, and waited, and waited as our cell phone screen kept reporting “Status Pending.” After 45 minutes we called CBP and reported our arrival using our NEXUS/BR Number. An Officer answered the phone right away and we were cleared in just a few minutes. We asked the officer about our ROAM experience. He explained something to the effect that sometimes the system gets a little busy.

We think ROAM has great potential. For us it could be very handy if we take guests back and forth to Canada and they only have passports. But for now I guess if you use ROAM be ready to be patient and give CBP time to grease the gears and work out the bugs.

PS Just to be clear, the ROAM system did work. We eventually were cleared through ROAM and recieved a confirmation number via email.


I checked in with the app at Soo, MI after ten days in the North Channel. I expected things to be complicated by having a German onboard. I was pleasantly surprised that when the app declared us “cleared” after ~15 minutes. This program is terrific. I hope it extends beyond this pilot phase.


We successfully used the ROAM app returning to Michigan from Canada. As noted, it does require some advance setup, but was otherwise easy to use. It took about 10-15 minutes for our check-in to be processed and ultimately approved from the time I submitted the "Trip".

Fri, 05/25/2018 - 08:31


We used this app successfully when returning from the Bahamas in April. There is a little set up required so have your passport and or Nexus information on hand.