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DHS Publishes Final APIS Rule for International GA Flights
Beginning on May 18, 2009, all general aviation pilots conducting international flights departing from or arriving to the United States will be required to provide passenger manifest and aircraft information to the government. This information must be transmitted no later than 60 minutes prior to departure from the United States, or from a foreign location to the United States. NBAA has partnered with ARINC Direct to offer Members an electronic APIS Transmission Service. Learn More.
How to Comply with the Rule
- Create an electronic APIS account by visiting the NBAA/ARINC Direct APIS Transmission System. This system can be used by both Part 91 and Part 135 operators.
- Once ARINC Direct confirms the APIS account via email, complete the activation instructions contained in the email and login to the ARINC Direct/NBAA APIS website.
- View the ARINC Direct APIS Users Guide under the "How To" tab to become familiar with the system.
- For more information on APIS, purchase a copy of "Understanding APIS". This session presented at the NBAA Schedulers and Dispatchers conference includes video with synched slides.
Applicability of the Final Rule
- This rule applies to any private aircraft (regardless of weight), engaged in a personal or business flight to or from the United States which is not carrying passengers/cargo for commercial purposes.
- Only inbound and outbound international flights are subject to this rule. At this time, domestic operations are not effected.
- Flights between the continental United States and Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands are not subject to this rule.
Operators are required to provide advance notice of arrival/departure, complete passenger and crew manifest data, and aircraft identification information no less than 60 minutes prior to departure from or to a foreign destination. This information must be filed using eAPIS or through a third party vendor with the capability to transmit APIS information. eAPIS has been modified to allow private aircraft operators to create user accounts and enter the required information.
While the information must be filed at least 60 minutes prior to departure, operators can file it as far in advance as they would like. For example, information on the departure from the United States and return back into the country can be filed at one time in advance of the flight.
If an individual on the No-Fly watch list is identified on the manifest, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will conduct a risk based analysis and make a determination whether to grant, restrict, or deny landing rights. If landing rights are restricted, the pilot will be provided with appropriate instructions and contact information.
Making Modifications to an APIS Transmission
If changes to the passenger manifest occur less than 60 minutes prior to departure, the pilot is only required to receive a new clearance from CBP prior to departing. In most cases, an automated analysis of passenger information will allow CBP to quickly respond to these changes. It should not be necessary for the pilot to wait an additional 60 minutes if manifest changes are made.
CBP will allow operators to make changes to certain data elements such as the expected time of arrival, notice of flight cancellation, or change in arrival location via telephone, radio, or by existing processes and procedures if access to the Internet is unavailable.
On a limited case-by-case basis, CBP may permit a pilot to submit or update notice of arrival and arrival/departure manifest information telephonically when unforeseen circumstances preclude submission of the information via eAPIS. However, processing this information may significantly delay clearance.
Additional Responsibilities for Pilots Under the Rule
The final rule also requires pilots to review passenger identification documents and verify that passengers on the aircraft appear to match these documents. CBP feels that the pilot is best situated to review passenger documents prior to departure. Provided that the pilot correctly transmits manifest information and follows DHS instructions regarding boarding/non-boarding of the aircraft he/she should not have specific liability. DHS is responsible for any enforcement that flows from provision of the APIS data.
CBP Form 178
Because the information on CBP Form 178 (Private Aircraft Enforcement System Arrival Report) is now included in the APIS transmission, operators will no longer be required to submit this form once the final rule goes into effect.
For additional information contact the NBAA Operations Service Group at (202) 783-9250 or firstname.lastname@example.org.