May 14, 2009 — Beginning Monday, May 18, general aviation pilots entering or departing the U.S. must comply with the new border crossing requirements of the “Advance Information on Private Aircraft Arriving and Departing the United States” rule issued late last year by the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP). At least 60 minutes prior to departure, pilots must transmit advance notice of arrival and/or departure, as well as traveler manifest information, to CBP via the Electronic Advance Passenger Information System (eAPIS) website or a through an authorized third-party vendor. Failure to comply will result in a $5,000 fine for the first violation and $10,000 and/or jail time for subsequent violations.
The rule has been in effect since December 18 but becomes mandatory on May 18. EAA and other associations voiced opposition to rule because many remote takeoff and landing sites lack Internet-capable facilities, and current CBP rules already require small GA aircraft to stop at designated CBP airport ports of entry for passenger and cargo customs clearance.
EAA has developed a “kneeboard fact sheet“ you can download for preflight planning. In the mean time, pilots can register at any time and set up an account at the eAPIS website. The system will allow you to enter your outbound and inbound flight and passenger information prior to your initial departure point. EAA members are encouraged to contact EAA Aviation Services with questions and/or problems they may have with this new CBP process at 888-322-4636 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.