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Flying to Oshkosh From Canada? You Need eAPIS

Ian Brown, EAA 657159, Editor - Bits and Pieces

Your editor and his RV-9A

June 2023 – Last month we covered the CANPASS process. If you're flying from Canada to Oshkosh and back you'll also need to clear U.S. customs on the way in . A simple way to do this is with an eAPIS manifest for your trip. It's not that long ago that you had to land at a U.S. airport of entry both on arrival and departure and have them check out your current sticker attached to wherever you enter your aircraft. You still need the sticker but since it's recorded that you purchased it, you don't have to have it visually inspected these days. It seems that filing an eAPIS manifest will get you through U.S. customs when leaving just like CANPASS does on arrival in Canada.

If you're planning to fly to Oshkosh and you haven't already obtained the necessary eAPIS account, you should start now. In my own case my email address had changed and much more and my account had expired. It was worth starting this article to refresh my account. Interestingly you need an account password that is 16 to 32 characters in length. Good luck remembering it! Hint: The longer it is the more likely that you'll mistype it.

When you get to the section where you update crew and pilot information you might look for which you're inputting. Go to CREW and there's a drop-down on the crew form where you can select “pilot.”

It's worthwhile getting as much as possible done well ahead of time. You'll have to create a flight plan so you know where approximately you'll be crossing the border and at what time. You will need to select which documents you will use — passport, pilot license, etc. — for any passengers or copilot you may have on board and have everything ready before you file your eAPIS. Ideally you'd file your inbound and outbound flights ahead of time. They would be a lot simpler to make changes to if you've already done the lion's share of the work. In my recent experience, it's a mistake to assume that filing through an app like ForeFlight will make it go smoothly, and you may not realize in the hustle to get there that something went wrong with your filing. You must file at least an hour before departure but you may file any time before that. There is no too-early-filing limit.

It can be very expensive to get this wrong. There's a $5,000 fine liability for the first offence and $10,000 for the second one (on the way home?).

You will also need to get a DTOPS CBP sticker for your aircraft. Although they say 4-6 weeks, my experience has been that it will arrive in just a few days. You can procure your sticker here. If you haven't already, do it now! They expire at the end of the calendar year for which they were purchased.

Overall, eAPIS does seem to have improved somewhat. The responses are certainly faster. If you have all of the paperwork at hand you should be able to get through this in a couple of hours to maybe a day. At least it's a fairly responsive system these days and at the end of it you should feel that you've done everything you needed to do. So, eAPIS, CANPASS, flight plans, docs in order, iPad or whatever software updated (or maps purchased), flight rules in the U.S. reviewed, AirVenture Notice read and understood, and we'll be watching you landing on the Green Dot.

“Welcome to Oshkosh” and we'll see you at the brand new Canada tent just near the tower where it has always been. If you see me, come and say “Hi” and let me know if this was helpful.

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