CBP Departure Time on an APIS Departure Manifest

A question that we often get asked is: “When departing the USA, does the departure time I put in my APIS manifest really matter?” The answer is most definitely, Yes!.

When you submit APIS and DHS sends you the confirmation email clearing you to depart, that confirmation is based on the information that you submitted on the manifest, including the departure time. On occasion, CBP conducts random inspections on departure (it has happened to me) even when the departure location is not an airport where CBP is present. They will dispatch one or two officers to your departure location and typically arrive about 1 hour before your planned departure time and they may wait up to 1 hour after your planned departure time. If they arrive and you have already departed or if they arrive and you make them wait and then depart after they leave, you could be subject to enforcement action.

If you need to depart earlier or later than the time you submitted in your APIS manifest, contact the CBP port that has jurisdiction over your departure location and advise them of the new time. Once they approve it, then you are back in compliance. Don't forget to ask for the name, badge number or initials of the officer that granted you approval in the event that there is ever a question about who authorized the change in time.