CARICOM APIS – Rules for Business Aviation Operators to Know
The Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IACS) requires that all private non-revenue and commercial flights 10 of the 15 CARICOM member states submit passenger information prior to arrival/departure. Although CARICOM Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS) went into effect February 1, 2007, there are still operators to the region who are not aware of or fully understand CARICOM APIS requirements.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. CARICOM member states
CARICOM APIS requirements apply to operations to/from
- St. Lucia
- St. Kitts and Nevis
- St. Vincent/Grenadines
Therefore, if you fly from the U.S. to Antigua – and do flight legs from there to Barbados and Jamaica prior to returning the U.S. – you’ll Be aware that, for tech stops at CARICOM countries, operators must file both arrival and departure CARICOM APIS.
CARICOM APIS requirements are not a factor in operations to the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Aruba, Curacao, or Grand Cayman. If you’re operating to the island of Martinique, CARICOM APIS is also not needed, but you or your ground handler will still need to report passenger information – in a similar format – to local authorities.
2. When APIS information must be submitted
Private non-revenue aircraft must submit CARICOM APIS data no later than 30 minutes before departure for a CARICOM destination and no later than 30 minutes before departure from a destination within CARICOM. Commercial aircraft must submit no later than 15 minutes before departure to/from a CARICOM location. However, best practice is to submit this information at least one hour prior to operation. Note that operators may submit CARICOM APIS information up to 48 hours in advance.
3. Required information
Information required for CARICOM APIS is along the lines of U.S. electronic APIS (eAPIS). This includes: aircraft registry, operator name, number of passengers and crew members, departure date/time and departure point (when flying to the region), and/or destination (when departing the CARICOM region). For each person onboard, you’ll need to submit full name, nationality, gender, date of birth, and passport number with country of issue and expiration date.
4. Methods of transmission
CARICOM has developed an eAPIS that operators may use to submit required data. More information can be found by visiting the CARICOM website. All CARICOM APIS transmissions must be done online. Operators may use 3rd-party providers or their ground handlers to file and manage CARICOM APIS transmissions, and this is the recommended practice.
5. Revision requirements
No revision to CARICOM APIS is needed for time changes (within the specified day of operation), destination changes within the CARICOM community, or for crew/passenger removals. You’ll need to revise your transmission, however, if there’s a date change, crew or passenger additions, an aircraft change, or if you change departure location outside of the CARICOM community. All revisions need to be done online via the CARICOM site, and you must have an account set up in order to file CARICOM APIS or make revisions. Note that the CARICOM site does not keep any information on file. Each time you submit a CARICOM APIS, you’ll need to re-submit all the information. If revisions are necessary, you’ll need to file a new CARICOM APIS request. If the CARICOM site is down, updated information should be sent to your ground handler to be updated verbally.
6. Finer points of CARICOM APIS
The CARICOM APIS system is user-friendly, and it’s easy to set up an account. The site has been updated so that Excel documents (they provide the format) can be filled out to upload required information. Be mindful, however, that all the blanks must be filled in, and any incomplete or incorrectly formatted APIS filing will not be accepted. You must file CARCOM APIS with particular code formats. Departure/destination airports must be referred to with International Air Transport Association and not International Civil Aviation Organization airport codes. Unique three-letter country designators must be used when indicating international locations you’re operating from/to. For example, the UK must be designated as "GBR," while Germany is "DEU," China is "CHN," and the UAE is "ARE." If you don’t have these designators in hand, it will not be possible to file a CARICOM APIS notification that will be accepted.
7. Repercussions for non-compliance
To date, we’ve not heard of any fines or penalties issued to non-compliant operators. A CARICOM APIS confirmation is not something that must be included in your flight plan, and you will not be barred from landing if you’ve not submitted this APIS. There have been cases where operators have landed without CARICOM APIS notification, and ground handlers have filed information after the fact. To avoid issues or delays, however, operators should always complete CARICOM APIS requirements in a timely and compliant manner. Note that CARICOM APIS does preclude arrival/departure card requirements at CARICOM destinations.
Before heading off to the Caribbean, be aware if your destination is a CARICOM member state. Be careful to submit CARICOM APIS notification with all required information and all the blanks filled in. It’s important to be aware of when you do and do not need to revise earlier APIS transmissions. Always keep your ground handler informed of any changes to schedule so that he or she may assist in updating your schedule and records with authorities.
If you have any questions about this article or any other aviation regulatory questions, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.