If you fly either into or out of the United States, you need to remember that the deadline for compliance with a new rule from the Department of Homeland Security, requiring pilots of private aircraft on international flights to submit reports to Customs and Border Protection, is May 18.
The rule requires GA pilots to submit crew and passenger manifests at least 60 minutes before departure. It must be submitted via the Electronic Advance Passenger Information System (eAPIS) Web site, or through an authorized third-party vendor. Pilots who fail to meet the requirements can be fined $5,000 for the first violation and $10,000 for each subsequent violation.
The rules originally proposed by the Department of Homeland Security were modified and somewhat eased following strong objections from the AOPA, NBAA and other general aviation groups. The new rules are “much more workable and realistic than what was originally proposed,” according to online AOPA information, which advises that any questions regarding the rule can be directed to AOPA at 800/USA-AOPA.
The new rules allow pilots of private flights to file the outbound and inbound notifications and manifests at any time provided it is at least 60 minutes prior to departure. In addition, changes in departure time and point from the United States when outbound, as well as arrival location and time in the United States when inbound, can be changed via telephone, radio, or through existing processes and procedures. The new rules state: “On a limited case-by-case basis, CBP may permit a pilot to submit or update a notice of arrival and arrival/departure manifest information telephonically when unforeseen circumstances preclude submission of the information via eAPIS.”
To read the full AOPA advisory: http://www.aopa.org/advocacy/articles/2008/081201internationalbrief.html