Our “Bestiary”

Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS)

A United States Passport with cartoonish hands, feet and eyes.

Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS) is an electronic data system that allows commercial airlines to transmit traveler data directly to Customs and Border Patrol. Before a person can board a flight to, from, or overflying the US, their passport or ID is scanned by a CBP officer or TSA agent. The machine readable zone of their document pulls up their full name, date of birth, and citizenship, which can be used to retrieve information about their scheduled flight. This data is sent to CBP via APIS in the form of “passenger manifests” — commercial airline records that are transferred to CBP for vetting in real-time, or 30 minutes prior to boarding. 

Upon transmission, APIS data is immediately sent to other CBP databases, including TECS/ ICM for cross-referencing and storage. APIS generates an “Overstay Lead” list that is shared with CBP’s main computer system that predicts “risk,” Automated Targeting System (ATS).Footnote 1 Simultaneously, API is screened against  the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center’s Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB).Footnote 2

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