The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced this week a rule that proposes a pre-departure Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) requirement. The APIS requirement would enable DHS to collect passenger information for flights and cruises coming to the U.S. before these vessels leave their foreign ports. This would let DHS identify potential threats and work with the airlines and international law enforcement officials to block such people from boarding planes or remove them before the planes leave the ground. Information collected as part of the APIS requirement include: full name, gender, and the country where the passport was issued.
“Our priority is to keep terrorists out of the United States by preventing them from boarding international flights,” said Michael Chertoff, Secretary of DHS. “Receiving APIS data before a plane takes off is another layer of security that allows us to identify terrorists before they are en route to the United States. This rule will also help eliminate the inconvenience of flight diversions due to security concerns.
Two options have been posted for sea and air carriers to fulfill the APIS requirement. The APIS Quick Query, which is currently being developed for air travel, would allow international air carriers to submit their manifest information online up to 15 minutes before leaving their port. The second available option, APIS-60, would require that carriers submit their complete manifest information one hour before leaving their port. This option will be available for air and sea carriers.
A Final Rule regarding the APIS requirement will be issued after a 30-day public comment period.