Posts Tagged ‘international flights’

eAPIS is confusing

Monday, August 17th, 2009

I spent three frustrating hours trying to fill out an online eAPIS passenger manifest report to Customs and Border Patrol before flying to London, Ontario. Here’s why.

It seemed logical to list fellow writer Tom Horne as the pilot, and me as crew, since we would share pilot duties. The form blocked that entry, saying general aviation can have only one pilot. And there I sat, trying one fix after another for three hours.

By the way, I was frustrated by the question, “Address While in the United States.” I was going to Canada so why would I stay in the United States? Finally I entered my home address in Maryland. That made the form happy. Below is the actual form and the response I WISH I had filed. Click to enlarge it:

Once I arrived in Canada I phoned Canadian customs authorities, and at first they were concerned that they weren’t hearing from the pilot. I explained that I was sitting beside the pilot. (Next time I’ll make sure it is the pilot who calls.) They approved our arrival over the phone and we got out of the aircraft. Simple! Coming back, Horne was coached through the eAPIS filing by an official of Diamond Aircraft. Horne said something about “…reaming them [Customs] a new one.” Watch for his article. By the way, Diamond company pilots don’t like eAPIS either, and they frequently fly to the United States.  Here is an AOPA Air Safety course you can take to help understand the system.