Advance Passenger Information System (APIS)

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CBP eAPIS Private Aircraft Newsletter: May 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:

The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Private Aircraft APIS Office would like to thank you for your continued support as today marks the two-year anniversary of the requirement for private aircraft pilots to submit an Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) manifest for flights arriving in to and departing from the United States.

In the past two years over 40,000 users have registered with eAPIS and compliance has consistently been over 99%. While some pilots have been contacted regarding “missing” manifests, “forgotten” submissions, and inaccurate, incomplete, invalid, or incorrect data submissions, as of today less than five (5) private aircraft pilots have been the subject of APIS penalty case initiation since the May 18, 2009 Private Aircraft APIS implementation. Thank you for your continued compliance!

Because we have received many common questions, we are 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 APIS manifests by addressing common mistakes, best practices, and regulatory requirements.

The Private Aircraft eAPIS Newsletter is being 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.

In this newsletter, CBP is addressing the following topics:

  1. After I’ve submitted an APIS Manifest, how do I know I’ve received authorization to fly?
  2. Submitting of Deficient APIS Information – Is it happening?
  3. I have received an email from CBP requesting information about a possible APIS violation. What does it mean and what should I do?
  4. eAPIS Online Help – Where is it?

After I’ve submitted an APIS Manifest, how do I know I’ve received authorization to fly?

After you’ve submitted an APIS manifest, you will receive a confirmation receipt email from [email protected] When you receive your confirmation receipt email, you must follow any and all instructions therein. The receipts will either grant you authorization to proceed with your flight plans or instruct you on how to proceed with a flight that was unable to be cleared. The email messages are sent automatically from CBP and are usually received by the eAPIS user within minutes. Because it is sent from a “noreply” address, the email message is sometimes blocked by email spam filters. If you do not find this email in your inbox, please check your spam folder, junk folder, etc. While thousands of these confirmation receipts are received with no problems, some users need to make adjustments to their email settings to ensure they can receive email from [email protected] Typically, if you add this email address to your email contact list, you will be able to receive communications from CBP. As a reminder, if you ever need to verify that your information has been received and/or if you are cleared for your flight, please contact the affected CBP port.

The clearance within the confirmation receipt emails is based on the information submitted and does not confirm that the submitted manifest information is valid, accurate and/or complete, or that the manifest was submitted within specified timeline requirements. It is only a receipt to confirm that the submitted manifest information has been received and successfully processed. Submission of manifests less than 60 minutes prior to departure or submission of invalid, inaccurate and/or incomplete manifest data may be subject to penalty case initiation.

The confirmation receipt email also instructs pilots that permission to land and/or landing rights and other notifications that may be required by the CBP destination port must be coordinated directly with the port as required by the Port Director.

Submitting of Deficient APIS Information – Is it happening?

The short answer is, “Yes.” Some pilots are submitting information that is inaccurate, incomplete, invalid, and/or incorrect. And, yes, these types of submissions are subject to penalty case initiation.

For example, the “Address While in the United States” field should reflect where the traveler will stay, or did stay while in the United States. A submission of “XX”, “NA”, or “don’t know” is an invalid and inaccurate submission.

It should also be noted that traveler biographic information should be submitted exactly as it appears on/in the DHS-approved travel document (passport, Alien Registration Card, etc.). A common example of biographic information errors is found in first name field submissions; if the traveler’s name is listed in a passport as “Edward”, don’t submit “Ed”.

The private aircraft pilot is the responsible party for ensuring that accurate, complete, valid, and correct data is transmitted in the APIS manifest. As the responsible party, the pilot of the aircraft may be subject to penalty for the submission of inaccurate, incomplete, invalid, and incorrect data within an APIS manifest.

I have received an email from CBP requesting information about a possible APIS violation. What does it mean and what should I do?

The email message is simply a request for more information regarding a specific flight or APIS submission. The email is not, in and of itself, a notice of penalty case initiation.

For example, CBP requires an APIS manifest for each private aircraft flight arriving in to or departing from the United States. In cases where CBP is unable to readily locate a manifest submitted for either an arriving or departing flight, you may receive an email from CBP asking about the APIS manifest submission. The email will state the applicable regulations, dates of flight(s), and furthermore ask for more information regarding the manifest submission for the flight that CBP was preliminarily unable to locate.

In every case of non-compliance – before any penalty case initiation occurs – the pilot will be contacted directly by this office to ensure that both sides of the story are considered before any penalty case initiation occurs. If you receive one of these letters, please respond with information that will work to prevent possible penalty case initiation (such as the eAPIS confirmation number, a copy of the confirmation receipt email, etc.) by the date requested. Cooperative conversation and immediate, corrective measures go a long way in preventing penalty case initiation.

Again, in two years, less than five (5) private aircraft pilots have been the subject of APIS penalty case initiation since the May 18, 2009 Private Aircraft APIS implementation.

eAPIS Online Help – Where is it?

While we receive many comments saying that no help is available within eAPIS, we want to remind you that if you need immediate assistance when submitting an APIS manifest through eAPIS, there are always two online resources available to you:

eAPIS Field Help - when you have questions about a specific field, field help is available by clicking on the underlined word(s) above the field; and

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – FAQs are available by clicking on the red “Help” button in the upper right corner of eAPIS.

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

Thank you for your continued compliance.