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08 April 2005

Advance Data To Be Required on Passengers, Crews Departing U.S.

Transmission of manifests now required for both arrivals and departures

New requirements for advance, electronic transmission of data on crewmembers and passengers departing the United States were adopted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security April 7.

As of June 6, airlines and seagoing carriers must supply to the U.S. government the same information on passengers and crews leaving the United States as they already are required to provide for arriving flights and voyages, the department said.

Under the new rule, carriers will have to electronically transmit relevant information on passengers and crewmembers both arriving and leaving the United States, the department’s Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said in a news release issued on the same day.

The requirements also apply to foreign carriers whose routes involve flight over the United States.

Advance notification of passenger and crews information has been required since December 31, 2001, for inbound flights and sea voyages under an interim final rule issued by the Customs Service, an agency since combined with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to create CBP under the Homeland Security Act.

The April 7 rule-making finalizes both that interim rule and a proposed rule issued January 3, 2003, by INS.

The new requirements apply only to commercial carriers; private vessels and aircraft are exempt. Personal information that must be reported as of June 6 includes name, date of birth, gender, and passport and U.S. visa information. By October 4, carriers must also provide citizenship, address of permanent residence and passport expiration date if a passport is required, according to the rule.

Advance notification of passenger and crew information helps CBP identify known or suspected terrorists prior to their arrival to or departure from the United States, CBP Commissioner Robert Bonner said in the release.

In addition, CBP has placed its inspectors at airports in Warsaw, Poland, and Amsterdam, the Netherlands, to identify high-risk passengers and suspected terrorists before they can board U.S.-bound planes. Those inspectors can question passengers with help of local authorities and make preliminary decisions on passengers’ admissibility to the United States. For the fiscal year that begins October 1, the administration has requested funds for the expansion of the program to two more airports.

The final rule, as published in the Federal Register, is available online in both plain text and PDF formats.

Following is the text of the news release:

(begin text)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection
U.S. Department of Homeland Security

New Rule Helps Identify Known or Suspected Terrorists Prior to Arrival in The U.S.

April 07, 2005

Washington, D.C. -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) today announced the publication of the CBP Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS) Final Rule in the Federal Register. The rule finalizes the requirement for all commercial air and sea carriers to submit advanced information on all passengers and crewmembers prior to entry to or departure from the United States.

“This rule is an important tool for U.S. Customs and Border Protection,” stated Commissioner Robert C. Bonner. “CBP’s priority anti-terrorism mission mandates that we leverage information and technology in our layered strategy. This rule allows our targeting systems to identify known or suspected terrorists prior to their arrival in or departure from the United States.”

An Interim Rule, in place since December 31, 2001, mandated that inbound commercial air carriers electronically submit passenger data prior to arrival in the U.S. Today’s rule is the first consolidation of regulations from the former Immigration and Naturalization Service and Customs Service. This rule is a culmination of efforts begun in December 2001 to ensure that airlines and vessels submit complete, accurate information on passengers and crew. The rule also consolidates and harmonizes the reporting requirements for all DHS agencies, including the U.S. Coast Guard and the Transportation Security Agency. The publication of this regulation expands the reporting mandate to include inbound and outbound APIS data from commercial air and sea carriers, however, it will waive certain data elements that are currently mandated but that are duplicative of information held by other U.S. Government entities, such as the State Department.

CBP has worked closely with carriers and other DHS agencies in the development to avoid duplication and ensure efficiency in the data transmission. The Final Rule requires the carrier industry to submit APIS data in an electronic interchange approved by CBP, which will act as the single-portal for U.S. Government reporting purposes. Carriers will have 180 days to finalize programming of their systems to allow for the transmission of the required passenger data. Carrier compliance for the transmission of outbound data is required within 60 days of the final rule. In addition to existing methods, CBP has developed two web-based portals where carriers can submit the required data elements.

APIS data continues to serve as an enforcement tool to identify suspect or high-risk passengers, while facilitating the travel of law-abiding passengers—a majority of the passengers—through the entry and clearance process.

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