Advance Passenger Information (API) data is provided to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for flights bound for the U.S. (Mainland, Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands). In most cases, this data has been collected via a digital reading of a passport or travel document.
Recent U.S. legislation changes require all airlines to gather more personal information about their customers. Since October 4, 2005, customers are required to provide their country of residence and the address in the U.S. they intend to visit in addition to other information that is digitally available from a passport or travel documents. In order to comply with U.S. regulations and to minimize customer delays, travel agents are asked to input the country of residence and a U.S. address for customers when booking the reservation.
1. What is Advanced Passenger Information Plus (API+)?
Due to increased security procedures, some new measures are being introduced that will enhance advanced passenger information that is already collected. This is a modification to the current API process.
2. Which airlines are impacted by API+?
All airlines must comply.
3. How is API+ required data different from the API data that is already being collected and transmitted to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)?
Currently, airlines transmit 5 data fields (name, gender, date of birth, passport country of issuance, and passport number). Under the new API+ requirements, 20 API+ fields will be required to be transmitted to Customs. Of these 20 fields, 18 are extractable from the PNR or via a passport/document swipe.
4. Why is API+ required?
This is a new requirement imposed by U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
5. What is the effective date?
October 4, 2005.
6. For which passengers is API+ data required to be collected?
API+ data must be collected for all passengers traveling to the U.S., Guam, Puerto Rico, or U.S. Virgin Islands. U.S. Citizens, Legal Permanent Residents with a Green Card, and transit passengers are exempt from the U.S address requirement.
7. Which data fields will be captured by the swipe of a passport and which fields will require manual entry?
Once the programming is complete, all required fields will be entered by passport/document swipe and PNR pull with the exception of 2 fields. The fields requiring manual entry are (1) address in the U.S. and (2) country of residence. If a Visa is used instead of a passport for the document swipe, then passport expiration date will also need to be manually entered.
8. What will agencies need to do?
At the time of booking, agencies will need to manually input U.S. address and country of residence fields.
9. How will the data be entered?
A mask will be developed in WSPN to facilitate the entries. Other GDS and CRS systems are also working on their solutions. Please contact your GDS or CRS provider to obtain the appropriate format. Delta.com and SSD check-in will be modified to accommodate the manual entries as well.
The manual SSR entries are as follows:
DOCS - Passenger Passport/Travel Document information
DOCO - Passenger Visa Information
DOCA - Passenger Residence and/or Destination Address Information
ADDRTYPE - D=DESTINATION R=RESIDENCE
COUNTRY OF RESIDENCE: 3SSRDOCADLHK1/R/USA-1.1
US DESTINATION ADDRESS: 3SSRDOCADLHK1/D/USA/STREET/CITY/STATE/ZIP-1.1
WITHOUT ZIP CODE: 3SSRDOCADLHK1/D/USA/STREET/CITY/STATE-1.1
IF ALL PASSENGERS IN THE PNR HAVE THE SAME ADDRESS DO NOT NAME SELECT
3SSRDOCADLHK1/R/USA - 3SSRDOCADLHK1/D/USA/STREET/CITY/STATE/ZIP
10. What is the deadline as to when data must be collected and transmitted to U.S. Customs?
All information must be transmitted in the same manner API data is transmitted today and must be collected prior to passenger check-in.
11. Which location should be entered as the U.S. address?
The first known address should be used.
12. What information will be required for an address?
Street address, city, state, zip code.
13. Since there are many chain hotels in the U.S., will city and state suffice as an address?
Yes, but a reasonable effort should be made to include a street address with a zip code. If a street address is not available, the hotel name along with the city, state and zip code should be used.
14. Is the zip code a required field?
Yes, CBP expects a reasonable effort to ensure the zip code provided is valid.
15. Must all hotel names be specified if a passenger will be staying at multiple destinations in the U.S, or does the hotel information for the first point of the stay serve the purpose?
The address of the first hotel can be used.
16. Under the Home Stay Program, passengers in the same PNR stay at different locations. Will it be permissible to provide the school name as the address in the U.S. since each passenger’s stay is different?
Yes, provided an address is given with the city, state, and zip code. Otherwise, the first address should be used.
17. We currently enter land operator or local agency branch office into the PNR as the local contact for the entire group, especially at leisure destination such as HNL. Do we need to modify this procedure?
The address of the first hotel should be used.
18. Is it required to provide information for everyone if a group in the same PNR stays at the same hotel?
Yes, an address is required for each passenger regardless of whether all passengers are staying at the same or different hotels. In WSPN there may be a way to copy the first PNR address and country of residence to other passengers. More information will be provided as it becomes available.
19. Some air-only ticketed passengers arrange their accommodation upon arrival. What address information is expected to be entered?
Passengers should provide the best information possible. Carriers are expected to make a reasonable effort to ensure the information being transmitted is valid.
20. Foreign students sometimes arrive in the U.S. in advance of the start of school. In this case, they may stay temporarily with friends, family, or in a hotel. Which address should be used?
The first known address should be used.
21. Which address is acceptable for those passengers who are joining a cruise ship, picking up a rental car, or do not know their destination address?
For a cruise, “Transit to Cruise Line, Vessel Cruise Name AND U.S. City, State (of cruise embarkation)” or “Transit to Non-U.S. City, Non-U.S. Country AND Carrier/Vessel Name and Number” can be provided as valid destination address data. For passengers picking up a rental car or those not knowing their address, reasonable effort to collect and transmit address information is required. For example: Street Address: Touring the Grand Canyon, City: Grand Canyon, State: AZ, Zip code: 86023.
22. If a passenger changes a U.S. address after the initial API+ entry, how can the data be changed?
API+ data can be updated at anytime prior to the flight check-in within a PNR.
23. Will an I-94 form still be required after API+ implementation? If yes, is there any possibility of denied entry if the API+ information is different from the I-94?
Yes, the I-94 form will still be required until further notice. I-94 data should not cause any issues provided the best available information was entered into APIS.
24. Will it be required to put local contact information into the FONE field in a PNR once API+ entry is entered?
Yes, a contact telephone number needs to be entered for each passenger.
25. Is API+ data required for transit passengers?
No, it is not required for passengers connecting within 8 hours to a non-U.S. city. Transiting passengers whose final destination is not located in the U.S. with a transfer time of 8 hours or longer within the U.S. can enter “Transit to Non-US Country” instead of a U.S. address, along with the flight number of their connecting flight.
26. Is an API+ entry still required when a passenger is connecting to Canada, Mexico, or South America, after clearing US immigration?
Transit passengers are exempt.
27. If a transiting passenger holds a separate ticket beyond the U.S., does the initial PNR have to inform of the separate ticket?
No, we are only responsible for what we can see in the passenger record. The carrier is responsible for transmitting the required information based on its knowledge, obtained through reasonable effort, of the traveler’s itinerary.
28. If API+ information is not entered, is there any possibility of a flight delay, denied boarding, or denied entry?
No, but DL may be held liable and subsequently fined.
29. Is API+ information linked to US immigration database systematically?
Yes. API+ data will be transmitted to CBP in UN/Edifact format.
30. How will DL know if API+ data has not been completed for all passengers?
An incomplete API list is already being used as part of the current API process.
31. If a passenger has dual citizenship, which document should be captured by APIS?
Passengers should provide the information from the passport they plan to use to enter the U.S.
32. How do we handle diplomats who are particularly sensitive and typically don’t disclose address information to a travel agency?
If they refuse to provide an address, write “Refused or Unknown” in the address field. CBP expects carriers to make a reasonable effort to provide accurate address information.
33. How do we handle refugees (IOM: Intl Organization for Migration) who travel with temporary documents and don’t have passports?
The temporary documents will still provide the necessary API+ data. A first known U.S. address along with country of residence should be included.