CBP Revises Requirements For International Flight Clearances


The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) reported today (Nov. 1) that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has revised its Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) guidance “to standardize and clarify departure clearance processes for outbound international travel, particularly for general aviation operations.”

The primary role of APIS is to assist the CBP in identifying possible security threats and keep a “person of interest” from boarding a general aviation flight. Discrepancies in the information operators submit can lead to fines, “so they are strongly encouraged to ensure all information is accurate,” NBAA wrote.

According to NBAA, the new guidance adds clarification on the need to retransmit an APIS manifest at least 60 minutes before departure based on changes in manifested details (i.e., added or subtracted travelers), changed tail numbers or time adjustments (exceeding a one-hour window). “If the manifest changes occur outside of business hours,” NBAA wrote, “operators should still re-transmit and call the port when it reopens to explain the manifest changes.”

NBAA also advises operators to telephone their local CBP port to cancel the original clearance and confirm the updated information. “In some cases,” NBAA said, “the port might be able to approve an expedited departure if the flight is already vetted.”

Brian Koester, NBAA director of flight operations and regulations, said, “The industry has long asked for greater standardization among ports. The update will ensure that both sides of the coin—flight crews and customs officers—understand expectations.”

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Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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  1. I’ve flown GA airplanes to 83 countries around the world. The U.S. USED to be relatively easy to make outbound and inbound legs to/from other countries–but more and more, I find that “The U.S. has become Europe”–due to differing and byzantine (“highly complex and occasionally devious–excessively complicated, and typically involving a great deal of administrative detail”) requirements.

  2. One of several reasons I avoid international trips as much as possible. Just think, we in GA have to abide by these rules under threat of heavy fines or airplane confiscation, all the while putting up with the nonsense that is currently going on on the southern border!