eAPIS enhancements let users save, reuse manifests

August 10, 2010

Customs and Border Protection announced enhancements to its Electronic Advance Passenger Information System (eAPIS) on Aug. 10. Pilots can now save up to 10 manifests indefinitely, and eAPIS will automatically save the latest five manifests for 30 days.

“United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has listened to your feedback. Enhancements have been implemented in eAPIS based on your suggestions,” the agency said in a notice released to all eAPIS users.

The functionality is designed to allow pilots to modify their manifests to submit the return leg of a trip, submit future trips to the same destination or with the same people on board, and update previously submitted manifests. Each manifest will allow pilots to submit their notice of departure or arrival, view details, and save it as a template.

Pilots must file manifests through eAPIS (or another approved method) at least 60 minutes prior to departure when arriving in or departing from the United States. Those who fail to do so could be hit with a $5,000 fine for the first violation and a $10,000 fine for subsequent violations. So far, no pilots have been issued a fine since the May 18, 2009, implementation of eAPIS.

AOPA and pilots had commented on the eAPIS proposal in 2007, notifying CBP that the rule was unworkable. While some changes were made to the final rule to accommodate operations from remote areas that did not have Internet access and unexpected in-flight routing changes due to deteriorating weather or other safety issues, the system still proved cumbersome to use. AOPA continued to work with the CBP to communicate members’ concerns, and the CBP heard directly from pilots who use the online system.

“This is a step in the right direction,” said AOPA Vice President of Operations and International Affairs Craig Spence. “Customs officials are listening to pilots and observing the tremendous compliance record of the general aviation community. These enhancements are a sign of pilots’ hard work and dedication to following all regulations.”