All pilots flying across the U.S. border in either direction are required to file a report using eAPIS, which stands for Electronic Advance Passenger Information System, to notify U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) of the name and details of each person entering or leaving the country. eApis requires the pilot to send a manifest to CBP at least 60 minutes prior to departure.
The conventional way to file this report is through the CBP eAPIS website. While there have been advances over the years on the site that allow you to save some time by creating new manifests based on previous submissions, the site is not the most user-friendly.
An alternative to consider is the FlashPass app for iPhone and iPad, which allows you to file passenger manifests right from your mobile device. FlashPass is a certified service provider by CBP and their mission is to make compliance as easy as possible while minimizing distractions. The service will save you time if you frequently fly out of the U.S. since you only have to enter airplane/crew/passenger data once in your account, and you can quickly generate new manifests with just a few taps.
The most recent update aims to improve the accuracy of your crew and passenger data entry by allowing you to use your device’s camera to take a picture of a passport to scan and import the data. This may sound like a small thing, but it really helps ensure accuracy and eliminate errors when entering lots of crew or passenger data. The app also now supports iPhone X and FaceID.
FlashPass has filed over 103,000 manifests since 2009 and offers excellent customer support. They encourage new customers to call and discuss how the program works with one their team members before filing a manifest for the first time. They also offer an online web interface that syncs with the app when that method is more convenient.
You can try out the service free for 30 days, and then either pay an annual membership of $50 for unlimited filings or pay as you go for $9.99 per manifest.