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I have traveled extensively outside of the United States while being on active duty. Before any of the travel could occur, there were certain steps that I had to take to ensure that I got the proper approvals to travel abroad. One of the most important steps was to complete the Aircraft and Personnel Automated Clearance System (APACS). APACS is a web-based tool to create, submit, coordinate and approve military aircraft and personnel travel clearances (Special Area, Theater and Country) for official and personal travel.
I have used the system in recent months for travel to Costa Rica, Panama, and Asia. The system is really straightforward, but I will provide some about what will get the APACS personnel request submitted and approved in a timely fashion (I do not know about aircraft requests):
- Members need to create an account at the APACS log in screen. Located under New Accounts & Help.
- Once logged in (from a government computer), select Personnel Requester in the middle of the screen.
- Select Create Personnel Request. Located in the left menu.
- The next screen, create/edit personnel requests, has four sections: Main, Itinerary, Traveler(s), and Home Station POC.
- Complete the personnel request.
- Review for submission and submit.
Pretty simple right? Nope. Here are some small things to avoid to ensure there is not a delay in your approval. In the Main section, ensure that all information is accurate. Something that I regularly overlook us the travel type. It defaults to Official travel so be sure to change it to Leave by using the dropdown menu.
In the Itinerary section, be sure to read the Foreign Clearance Guide (FCG) for any special instructions that you may need before traveling to an area. Annotate that you have read the FCG in the Notes section. Personnel should submit the APACS request No Later Than 30 days prior to a trip. If this Lead Time cannot be met, an explanation should be provided in the If Lead Time Requirement is not met provide reason section.
In the Traveler section, list all information related to the traveler(s). The biggest thing to remember in this section is that an Isolated Personnel Report (ISOPREP) has to be updated within six months of the travel date. For those of you who do not know, ISOPREP is a data card maintained on all personnel.
The last section is the Home Station Point of Contact. In this section, list someone (preferably your commander) to be contacted in case of an emergency. After this review for submission and submit. The theater and country approval will come back as approved in a few days. If it does not, please follow the directions of the approving official to update the request and resubmit.
I this gives you a better understanding of the system.
Have you ever used APACS?