e-APIS Rules in Effect, Compliance Not Yet Mandatory

 - December 18, 2008, 11:12 AM

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) new rule that requires general aviation pilots to file passenger names and other information to government officials before crossing a U.S. border became effective today, though compliance isn’t required until six months from now. Under the rule, all Part 91 operators must electronically submit–via the Electronic Advance Passenger Information System (e-APIS)–to U.S. Customs passenger manifest information for each individual traveling on board an aircraft arriving in the U.S. from another country or vice versa. Customs must receive the data no later than 60 minutes before the aircraft departs. Private pilots or their designees need to enroll in e-APIS before being able to use the system, and those “seeking accounts should expect responses within five business days after submission of the enrollment request,” Customs said. User IDs for e-APIS are expected to be sent out by the agency starting early next month. While Customs is encouraging operators to use e-APIS, NBAA vice president of safety, security and regulations Doug Carr told AIN that until May 18 compliance is voluntary. “Some Customs officers are under the incorrect assumption that the effective date is the compliance date. That is clearly not the case,” he said. “If you’re told you must comply anytime before May 18, contact the officer’s supervisor to correct the situation.”