Oct. 6, 2014

Mexico recently relaxed its advanced passenger information system (APIS) manifest filing requirements offering the option to file manifests directly without using a third-party provider.

In an effort to curb ongoing cabotage violations, Mexico expanded the APIS filing requirement to general aviation operations on Jan. 1, 2014, and at that time only accepted submissions from flight planning providers. While Mexico continues to develop a public portal allowing for direct Internet submissions, the Instituto Nacional de Migración now accepts APIS manifests filed directly by aircraft operators for flights arriving in or departing from Mexico. “This is a welcome change in Mexico’s APIS filing process,” said Sarah Wolf, NBAA’s senior manager, security and facilitation. “The more flexible filing process will allow Member Companies that choose to file independently to do so, which will save expense and time.”

The new streamlined option for filing with the Mexican government requires manifests to be submitted via email to INM using an approved Excel spreadsheet. The spreadsheet must be emailed within 24 hours of the estimated time of departure and resubmitted 30 minutes before takeoff. The aircraft operator will then receive a confirmation email from the INM.

Following are directions for the APIS submission:

  • APIS submission can be done by sending the approved APIS spreadsheet (an Excel document) to apis_cna@inami.gob.mx. Review the spreadsheet.
  • Once the APIS spreadsheet is filled out, it must be emailed to apis_cna@inami.gob.mx within 24 hours of departure. You must then re-send the same form to confirm your flight to apis_cna@inami.gob.mx 30 minutes prior to takeoff. You will receive a reply from Mexican Immigration that it has been received.

“This new flexibility is certainly a positive step toward secure but reasonable border crossing between the U.S. and Mexico,” said Wolf. “However, APIS requirements are still redundant and cumbersome. A roundtrip flight from the U.S. to Mexico and back currently requires at least four APIS submissions. We look forward to working with both government agencies to streamline the process and further simplify border crossings for legitimate, secure business aircraft operators.”

Operators accustomed to delegating APIS manifest tasks to a third-party flight-planning organization should be mindful of the responsibilities inherent in submitting manifests directly, such as ensuring information transmitted is accurate and a confirmation email is received from INM. Transmitting APIS manifests can be particularly difficult in some remote locations in Mexico and operators should plan ahead to ensure adequate communications services.

Visit the Instituto Nacional de Migración website for more information.