Advance Passenger Information System (APIS)

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CBP eAPIS Private Aircraft Newsletter: April 2011

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has launched a newsletter to provide private aircraft operators with updates and best practices for complying with Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) requirements. The newsletter, created with input from NBAA and other stakeholders, is intended to be a monthly publication.

Dear eAPIS User:

For the past several months, we at The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Private Aircraft APIS Office have been working to address current issues and frequently asked questions through a newsletter format.  The information is intended to assist private aircraft pilots in preparing and submitting Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) manifests by addressing common mistakes, suggesting best practices, and explaining regulatory requirements. 

The Private Aircraft eAPIS Newsletter is published through the collaborative efforts of partnering aviation trade organizations.  The contributors for this newsletter are:

AOPA – Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
COPA – Canadian Owners and Pilots Association
NBAA – National Business Aviation Association
EAA – Experimental Aircraft Association

Thanks to all these organizations for their continued partnership and assistance.

These newsletters are sent in an effort to help; to help make filing an APIS manifest easier, to help reduce confusion, and to help assure pilots that our goal is to protect and not penalize.  In almost two years, the number of registered eAPIS users has grown to over 40,000 and less than 5 penalty cases have been initiated against private aircraft pilots.

An important message we want to discuss is APIS data sufficiency.  While more and more pilots are being questioned about data sufficiency by the ports of entry and by our office, for the benefit of all, we would like to take this opportunity to explain CBP’s requirements and expectations. 

APIS Requirements

APIS regulations require private aircraft pilots to transmit APIS data through a CBP-approved electronic data interchange system or syntax format for all travelers onboard private aircraft flights arriving in to or departing from the United States.

Pilots of private aircraft may choose to comply with the regulations by either submitting directly using eAPIS, the CBP web portal, or by utilizing a third-party to transmit an APIS manifest to CBP on their behalf.  Whether using eAPIS or utilizing a third-party provider, the pilot is always responsible for the manifests completeness, correctness, accuracy and timeliness. 

APIS requirements are explicitly defined in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR); ensuring that all parties – internal and external – reference the same set of rules and expectations.

In general, APIS data is required for all travelers onboard all private aircraft arriving from or departing for a foreign port or place.  The APIS data that private aircraft pilots submit to CBP must be transmitted completely, correctly, and accurately within specified timelines.

Completely

Complete APIS data is required for every traveler (passenger and crew) onboard.  Partial data, abbreviations, or any other form of incomplete data transmissions are not permitted.  Complete APIS data transmissions ensure that CBP has reliable advance data to accurately screen, target, and process all travelers onboard the aircraft.  For example, if the traveler’s first name is “Robert”, first name data should not be transmitted as “Robe” or “Rob” or “R”.

Correctly

APIS data must correctly identify all travelers onboard flights arriving in to or departing from the United States. For example, if the first name of a traveler is “Robert”, the pilot should not transmit the first name of the traveler as, “Bobby” or “Robby”.

Accurately

APIS data must accurately represent the travel document data as it appears on the biographical page of a valid travel document. Private aircraft pilots are responsible for collecting APIS data and comparing the travel document presented by the traveler with the APIS data being transmitted to CBP. Pilots must ensure the APIS data is correct, the document appears to be valid for travel to the United States, and the traveler is the person to whom the travel document was issued. For example, if a travel document lists the first name of a traveler as “Robert,” the pilot should not transmit the last name of the traveler as, “Robbert.”

Timely

Whether a private aircraft pilot submits APIS data through eAPIS or an approved third-party provider, APIS data must be transmitted within specified timelines.

For private aircraft flights arriving from or departing to a foreign port or place, the APIS submission may occur anytime prior, but no later than 60 minutes prior to the aircraft departure. For flights not originally destined to the United States, but diverted to a U.S. port due to an emergency, no later than 30 minutes prior to arrival; in cases of non compliance, CBP will take into consideration that the pilot may not have been equipped to transmit the manifest and the circumstance of the emergency situation.

We hope this information is helpful. If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions for newsletter content, please contact [email protected].

Thank you for your continued compliance.