eAPIS A Follow Up
Not surprisingly the new CBP system known as eAPIS has raised a lot of questions about what it does and does not do. Basically it provides CBP with the means to vet you and your passengers before you leave and again before you return from an international flight.
eAPIS is not a flight plan. You still have to file an ADCUS type flight plan with a FSS or one of the online services. And it is advisable to contact Canpass by telephone, if that’s the direction you are heading, to alert them about your point of entry and your ETA.
The minimum lead time for a CBP flight plan is one hour. Canpass wants two hours. And, if you are returning to the US via an approved seaplane landing area it’s best to give them as much notice as possible, if the officers have to travel to your rendezvous point.
Supposedly your eAPIS clearance, which must be submitted electronically, will come to your e-mail address within an hour but it’s advisable to file your request as early as possible in case there are problems.
Similarly, filing an eAPIS for a return flight does not take the place of a flight plan, nor the need to call CBP by telephone. The other surprise is that CBP may ask you to use Form 178. And for the next year or two, you may find that each Customs facility has their own priorities.
AOPA has put together an on-line course for dealing with the eAPIS registration process, that walks you through a typical cross border flight. http://flash.aopa.org/asf/eAPIS/
What we were hoping to hear from the various aviation associations is that they persuaded Homeland Security / CBP not to impose this program on general aviation. But DHS seems determined to expand their control over all aspects of aviation and by trying to explain the new regulations don’t assume that we agree with what is taking place. We all need to keep the pressure on our elected officials to restore common sense and balance to security screening in this country.