Flying internationally: eAPIS demystified

July 9, 2009

AOPA Alaska Regional Representative Tom George recently planned a trip across the Canadian border to Dawson City, Yukon. When he filed his Electronic Advance Passenger Information System (eAPIS) reports for departure and return, he ran into a snag: The airport where he planned to return was not listed as a port of entry. And when bad weather kept him from leaving on the scheduled day, he could not modify the departure report and had to re-file—twice.

Any general aviation aircraft arriving in the United States from a foreign location or departing the United States for a foreign location must submit passenger, crew, and flight information to Customs and Border Protection through eAPIS. But what do you do when you’re not sure about the requirements? Noncompliance can cost you thousands of dollars. Find answers to the most frequently asked questions, and take the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s online course, “Understanding eAPIS”.

These resources provide tips on how to handle the kind of difficulties George encountered on his trip. “If your departure airport is not an official U.S. port of entry, then enter the nearest port of entry and note the actual airport of departure in the Departure Location Description box,” the online course advises. Check out the FAQs to find out whether you need to contact customs if your plans change and you are departing at a time different than first reported. Still have questions about eAPIS? Call AOPA for answers and guidance at 800/USA-AOPA (872-2672).