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Pilots Comment on New Border Crossing Regs

Tips for the Oshkosh-bound

The numbers of Canadians who flew to the Arlington Fly-In last week was down significantly - by about 50 percent, according to statistics from Arlington’s temporary U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facility on the field. Barb Tolbert, fly-in executive director, said that decrease was largely attributed to the new U.S. border crossing regulations and the eAPIS system. There were plenty of Canadian attendees as usual, but many chose to drive, not fly, across the border.

“Customs officials were very helpful and cooperative, but it certainly appears that the new border crossing regulations in the United States and the eAPIS system had a detrimental effect on aircraft arrivals from north of the border,” she said. “The people I spoke with who did fly down said that it was not as difficult as some were making it out to be, but pilots seemed to deal with the large changes in the procedures by not dealing with them.”

One Canadian who flew in described it as “One more thing to do on top of everything else," rating about a “3” on the “hassle scale” of 1-10. Another said that the people the new regulations are trying to keep out would never comply with the new regulations. “So what good is it?”

Another comment: “I’m only one of a handful of people who bothered to go through with it to come here (Arlington). Many of the people I know who regularly come to Arlington didn’t come this year because they didn’t want to bother with the new requirements.”

One suggestion: Be very deliberate and have all the information you will need to complete the online manifest information via e-APIS because if it "times out" you have to start over.

Another suggestion: If you list your spouse or other frequent right-seat passenger as a crewmember, the system will save the information for future flights. If a person is listed as a passenger, information has to be re-entered for each crossing.

If you’re flying into Oshkosh next week:

  1. Obtain a username and password, from the TSA International Waiver system. (If you have yet to do so, your chances of being able to comply with the regulations in time for Oshkosh are not 100 percent.) As soon as possible, obtain a sender ID and password here.)
  2. Select your CBP airport port of entry. (Wittman Regional Airport is NOT a CBP airport port of entry.)
  3. Obtain or at least order a CBP 2009 user fee decal.  You must have either a decal - or proof of ordering a decal - at your port of entry.  Order decal here.
    1. The CBP "Private Aircraft APIS,” also known as eAPIS, border crossing information is required to be submitted a minimum of 60 minutes before the planned departure.  Your return flight APIS information can be filed simultaneously with your departing flight.  (If flight times/routes change or a plans needs to be filed while visiting AirVenture, CBP experts in the Federal Pavilion can update or file your plans.) The eAPIS web portal can be accessed using any portable device with web access, including Blackberry, iPhone, Palm Treo, etc.  You can also use, for a fee, one of the CBP-approved APIS service providers.
  1. Prior to departure, verify your arrival into the United States by phoning your CBP airport port of entry and confirm the entry requirements have been met. 

Upon arrival at AirVenture, please visit the Federal Pavilion and the CBP eAPIS booth to share your experiences and offer suggestions to foster improvement with the system. 

Although it may appear the CBP and TSA systems are redundant, it is necessary to comply with both. EAA has requested that the Department of Homeland Security investigate the possibility that these two systems be streamlined into one. They have agreed to investigate.

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