Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) - Revised Final Rule


Published: 30 January 2018

As part of the US program for ensuring vessel and aviation safety and protecting national security, on 7 April 2005, the US Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) published a final rule setting forth the requirements for the electronic submission of manifest information for passengers and crew members on board commercial vessels and aircraft in advance of arrival in and departure from the US, known as the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS). CBP merged the APIS data reporting system into the US Coast Guard's Notice of Arrival (NOA) transmission process. The new system is called the Electronic Notice of Arrival and Departure (eNOA/D). APIS information must be submitted exclusively via the eNOA/D system.

The eNOA/D regulations were amended in 2015 to include more commercial vessels and to set forth a mandatory method for electronic submission of NOAs and modify reporting content, timeframes and procedures. The major changes were as follows:

The rule now includes all foreign vessels and US vessels in commercial service that are bound for or departing from ports or places within the navigable waters of the United States, including internal waters and the territorial sea and any deepwater port; however, there are a number of exemptions and exceptions. Except for reporting notice of hazardous conditions, the following vessels are exempt from the eNOA/D requirements:

  • (1) a passenger or offshore supply vessel employed in the exploration for or in the removal of oil, gas, or mineral resources on the continental shelf;
  • (2) an oil spill response vessel engaged in actual spill response operations or exercises;
  • (3) a towing vessel that is required to report its movements, its cargo, or cargo in barges it is towing;
  • (4) a US or Canadian vessel engaged in certain salvage operations.

The following vessels are also exempt if they are not carrying hazardous cargo or controlling another vessel with hazardous cargo:

  • (1) a foreign vessel 300 gross tons or less not engaged in commercial service;
  • (2) a vessel operating exclusively within a single Captain of the Port zone;
  • (3) a US towing vessel and a US barge operating solely between ports or places of the contiguous 48 states, Alaska and the District of Columbia;
  • (4) a public vessel;
  • (5) except for a tank vessel, a US vessel operating solely between ports or places of the US on the Great Lakes;
  • (6) a US vessel 300 gross tons or less, engaged in commercial service not coming from a foreign port or place;
  • (7) ferries on a fixed route described in an accurate schedule, along with certain other information.

The owner, agent, Master, operator or person in charge of a vessel must submit notices of arrival consistent with the requirements of the regulations, including vessel, voyage, cargo, crew and passenger information, information regarding operational condition of equipment, ISM and ISPS Code compliance.

Times for submitting NOAs are as follows:

  • (1) voyages 96 hours or more, at least 96 hours before arriving at the port or place of destination;
  • (2) voyages less than 96 hours, before departure but at least 24 hours before arriving at the port or place of destination;
  • (3) US vessels 300 gross tons or less arriving from a foreign port or place and whose voyage time is less than 24 hours must submit an NOA at least 60 minutes before departure.

The revised rule requires NOA information to be submitted through the National Vessel Movement Center (NVMC) electronic Notice of Arrival and Departure website, and also provides timeframes for submitting updates whenever the submitted NOA information becomes inaccurate.

Vessels bound for the US under force majeure must report the following information to the nearest Captain of the Port as soon as practicable, but are not required to require to comply with other NOA requirements:

  • (1) the vessel Master's intentions;
  • (2) any hazardous conditions;
  • (3) if the vessel is carrying certain dangerous cargo, the amount and name of the cargo, including the cargo UN number.

CBP has a strict enforcement process to insure that APIS submittals are both timely and accurate.

Guidance regarding eNOA/D and the information that must be supplied in the electronic manifest, as well as forms and guidelines to comply with APIS requirements, is available on the CBP website at:

Further information on the 2015 revised rule is available via the following link: .

In addition, the CBP requires all international carriers transporting passengers and crew to obtain an International Carrier Bond (ICB) which must be placed on file with CBP prior to entry or departure from the United States. CBP considers the "carrier" to be the entity responsible for providing the crew. In most cases this will be the owner or bareboat charterer of the vessel.

If the carrier already has a valid ICB for purposes of compliance with the Automated Manifest System (AMS) requirements, this will generally satisfy the APIS requirements as well. However, the minimum amount of the bond is set by the local CBP Area Port Director (generally USD 50,000). Members who already have a valid AMS bond are therefore advised to contact the CBP Port Director in the U.S. ports where their vessels are expected to call to verify the required amount of the bond.

The ICB must be issued by a surety approved by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. A list of approved sureties is available here.

Skuld will be happy to assist members in obtaining an ICB. Members should be aware that the CBP may assess substantial penalties for non-compliance with the APIS regulations, which may include monetary fines, denial of port entry, or suspension of cargo operations.