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eAPIS and Customs Decals

Mike Davenport, EAA 89102, Langley, British Columbia

eAPIS and Customs Decals   | EAA

March 2023 – Planning trips down south this summer? If you haven’t yet started the documents process, you really should get on it ASAP. Due to the pandemic, I hadn’t been south of the 49th since Oshkosh 2019 and that experience went well, including dealing with all of the necessary paperwork.

Some things must be current. You must have a current passport of course, a decal for the aircraft, and a current eAPIS account. All of these things take time: for example, it took 4.5 months to get a new passport as mine had expired. The decal from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection folks took 6 weeks (23 days in the mail) and only arrived the day after the planned trip.

I was planning a flight south in mid-February and on the morning of, arose early around 05:30 planning a departure at 08:30. More than enough time as the aircraft had been preflighted and fueled the day before. All I needed to do was file the eAPIS and a flight plan and “Bob’s Your Uncle,” I’d be on my way.

I got on the computer at 06:15 having imbibed the appropriate amount of caffeine thinking there should be no problem. I’m not usually that delusional. I mean after all, I had an account so it should just require filling in a few blanks, right? It was not to be. It seems that as my account had been dormant since 2019, it had expired. The process to open a new account and file for the trip took more than two hours including being on hold for 40 minutes waiting for help and then being cut off. Later, after talking with a kind gentleman somewhere in Texas for another 20 minutes, voila, I had that part done.!

Next came the flight plan. It was not without its own hazards but eventually it too got filed. Total time = 3 hours.!

All of this in order to fly 35 minutes south, load an airplane full of free face masks, fly back to Canada via customs in Abbotsford then to Langley to unload and then repeat the exercise two or three more times. Each trip requiring a new eAPIS and flight plan for each leg. By this time, I was physically and mentally exhausted and allowing discretion to be the better part of valour, I canceled my portion of the program for the day and stayed on the ground.

Wise or wimp? !

Most of us would have called it a day too, Mike. – Ed.!

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