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This question has me wondering: do passengers/crew have to to through customs at refueling stops?

Does it matter if they stay in/with the aircraft vs. going into the FBO, e.g. to use restrooms?

If it is different for different types of flights (e.g. airline vs private), please answer for each.

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  • $\begingroup$ One data point: flying with Qantas from Sydney to London and back, the aircraft stops at Dubai. Passengers had to disembark and then pass through security to return to the gate to re-board the aircraft. We didn't pass through immigration or customs. The situation would certainly be different in the US, and perhaps at other airports around the world. $\endgroup$ Jan 10, 2020 at 21:24

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It depends on the country and may depend on the airport - you have to check the AIP. The term "technical stop" or "tech stop" is often used instead of "refuelling stop", since I guess there could be other reasons than refuelling why you'd need to land and takeoff without exchanging passengers or cargo.

As an example from personal experience flying my 2-seat experimental across the pond, Kangerlussuaq and Narsarsuaq in Greenland do not require crew to go through any customs or immigration checks for a technical stop, while Reykjavik in Iceland does. They let me get out of my drysuit and take a pee break first though, unlike the US CBP!

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