What is the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS)?


Published on 2019-11-12

 

 
airplane cabin

If you’re planning your travels to the United States, you might have come across the acronym APIS or Advance Passenger Information System. If so, you may be wondering what this means regarding your travel plans and whether it applies to you. Read on to find out what the Advance Passenger Information System is so you can be in the know next time you book a flight or plan your travels.

The Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) is a system created by the United States Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) to gain more information about passengers travelling to America. Having this additional information allows both airlines and customs agents to improve the safety and security of staff and passengers, which in turn ensures smooth passage of travel for all involved.

APIS works by transferring data electronically from the passenger to the airline and then on to the chosen destination so that all parties share the same information. This is generally just things like your identity and flight details.

More information about the Advance Passenger Information System can be found on the CBP website here.

What information is needed by the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS)?

The questions asked as part of the APIS include:

  • Full name (last name, first name, middle name if applicable) 
  • Gender
  • Date of birth
  • Nationality
  • Country of residence
  • City of residence (sometimes requested)
  • Travel document type (e.g., passport)
  • Travel document number 
  • Travel document expiry date
  • Travel document country of issue

Any item of data provided must be the same as per passport, so it is vital you check the spelling of your name, nationality, and country of residence and check all the numbers in the dates and document details to ensure they are correct.

Most countries, and in particular the United States, also ask for the address of the first night spent in-country. This is only required for visitors and is not requested for nationals or citizens.

Which Countries Use The Advance Passenger Information System (APIS)?

The API system is now used by several countries worldwide, who request the same information from travellers before they board the aircraft. Please see the list of countries below who use the APIS but be aware that this is subject to change. If you are in doubt, it is best to check with your travel agent or airline before travel so that you know 100% whether the APIS applies to your travel plans.

Antigua 
AustraliaBarbados 
Belgium 
Brazil
Canada 
China
Costa Rica 
Cuba 
Dominican Republic 
France 
Grenada 
India 
Ireland

Jamaica 
Japan 
Maldives 
Mexico
Panama
Republic of Korea 
Russian Federation
Saint Lucia
Spain (except for Schengen Area passengers) 
Taiwan
Trinidad & Tobago 
United Kingdom
United States

When do I have to put in my data?

All passengers flying to one of the above countries must put in their details online before flying. All airlines, even private aircrafts, should request your data from you in advance of travel. If you have not given your API data before you check-in, you may be refused entry onto the aircraft and will not be able to fly. If you have your passport details available, it is best to put them into the system online as soon as possible after booking so that you don’t run the risk of forgetting to complete it in time.

Hopefully, that now clarifies what the Advance Passenger Information System is and how it works. It is nothing to worry about. You need to remember to follow the prompts on your airline booking to ensure they have all the data they need. If you have any other queries, an APIS Factsheet can be downloaded here.

 

Sources:
1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advance_Passenger_Information_System
2. https://www.cbp.gov/travel/travel-industry-personnel/apis2

 


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