Colombia APIS: New Requirements for Business Aircraft Ops
As of August 2015 a new regulatory requirement mandates Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS) reporting for all business aircraft operations to/from Colombia. As these requirements differ, in terms of information needed and reporting procedures, from U.S. APIS and eAPIS, it’s important to understand all of the particular requirements.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. New requirements
APIS reporting has been in place for scheduled commercial operations to Colombia for some time, but it was only on July 2, 2015 that the mandate became a requirement for general aviation (GA). This regulatory change is aligned with the Global APIS Initiative led by ICAO and the World Customs Organization (WCO). Migracion Colombia is responsible for overseeing this regulation. Operators are being asked to file APIS, but as of yet there are no penalties for non-compliance. We anticipate this grace period to end in the near future.
2. APIS mandate
Both private non-revenue and charter (non-schedule commercial) flights are being asked to file APIS for all international arrivals/departures into/out of Colombia. However, there are some differences in information required depending on the type of operation. Diplomatic and qualifying government flights do not fall under this reporting mandate. Additionally, APIS filings are not required for domestic operations within Colombia.
3. Filing APIS
APIS should be filed prior to any international departure from/to Colombia, but there’s no defined minimum notification lead time. Operators may submit APIS up until the aircraft is scheduled to depart, but it’s not recommended to file APIS too early due to the possibility of changes for the flight. We recommend submitting Colombian APIS no earlier than 24 – 48 hours prior to flight, to avoid unnecessary revisions due to changes in information. It’s unknown at this time how APIS transmissions are handled on the Colombian side, but it’s possible that submissions could be misplaced if filed too early.
4. APIS procedure
APIS reporting is transmitted via email directly to Colombia immigration, and you must include a specifically formatted Excel spreadsheet. In order for you or your 3rd-party provider to submit APIS you must first register with Colombian Immigration. During this registration process you’ll submit an email address, and once approved, Immigration’s APIS system will accept emails from the registered account. Note that the registration process in done online where you’ll fill out a form and submit it. Within 24 business hours you’ll receive either an approval or a request for additional information or clarification. This approval confirms that you’re registered in the system and that APIS submissions will be accepted from your email address. Note that Colombian authorities can only receive APIS submissions from email addresses submitted on the registration form.
5. Information required
For APIS submissions for private non-revenue operators you’ll need to provide the following:
- name of the registered aircraft owner
- flight type – private non-revenue or charter
- tail number
- departure and arrival airports (IATA and not ICAO)
- Colombia departure date/time or arrival date/time
- contact name/details for whomever is submitting the APIS
- crew and passenger first and last names, gender, traveler type (passenger or crew), date of birth, country of birth, nationality, document type (i.e. passport) with document number, expiry date, country of issue, and country of residence
For charter operations the above is required along with the following additional information:
- airline code (If you have no airline code you may file “ZZ” which is the general airline code for business aviation.)
- flight number
Note that the Excel document has locked/required fields in it. There are optional fields available for middle names, baggage count, and second travel document type/number/expiration/issuing country. We do not foresee these optional fields becoming standard reporting requirements.
6. Confirmation of APIS
Once you’ve submitted your APIS email with attached spreadsheet you’ll receive a response within about 15 minutes to advise if it was successful or if there was an error in your submission. Note that an error message means that the email did not go through successfully, and it does not point out any particular error with information submitted.
7. Revisions and incorrect data
Any changes to previously submitted APIS information is considered a revision, and you’ll need to resubmit APIS. For this reason we recommend waiting until 24-48 hours prior to the flight before filing so that any revisions are minimized. At this time we’re not aware of penalties imposed for typos or filing incorrect information. However, once the APIS grace period expires there will likely be penalty guidelines published for any errors in submissions.
Although we’re currently in a grace period from Colombian Immigration, this will end in the near future. So, it’s important to ensure APIS information is correct and submitted as required. This new reporting requirement is straight-forward but must be completed in its entirety, with the exception of optional fields. We foresee APIS reporting expanding worldwide, based on the Global APIS initiative, and anticipate these mandates to be somewhat similar from country to country.
If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance filing your next Colombia APIS, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.