Official websites use .mil
Secure .mil websites use HTTPS
All DoD military (including USCG), civilian, and contractor personnel traveling on OFFICIAL BUSINESS into and within the U.S. Southern Command Area of Responsibility must obtain Theater Clearance approval from the Commander, U.S. Southern Command, prior to travel. All DOD military and USCG personnel (active duty and reserve) traveling on LEAVE must obtain theater (and country, depending on where the traveler is going) clearance.
The Department of Defense Foreign Clearance Guide establishes the requirements for Theater Clearance approval. Theater Clearance requests will be completed via the Aircraft and Personnel Automated Clearance System (APACS).
1. Review the theater and country-specific information in the Department of Defense's Electronic Foreign Clearance Guide.
2. Create an Aircraft and Personnel Automated Clearance Systems (APACS) account (SOUTHCOM APACS instructions). APACS is mandatory for processing DoD-sponsored official foreign travel and personal leave travel for active duty and reserve military in all Combatant Commands. APACS is the web-based tool to create, submit, coordinate and approve aircraft and personnel travel clearances (Special Area, Theater and Country) for official and personal travel.
3. Prior to OFFICIAL travel, all travelers must read General Order Number 1 - "Prohibited Activities for US Department of Defense and Certain US Coast Guard Personnel Present Within the United States Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) Area of Responsibility (AOR)". DOD personnel will also have to comply with security guidance and restrictions as specified by the Senior Defense Official.
4. Complete online training requirements as specified in the Foreign Clearance Guide.
5. Complete medical assessment and requirements as specified in the Foreign Clearance Guide.
6. Submit a country/theater clearance request via APACS. Ensure your APACS request contains the completion dates for the training listed above. Annotate the medical assessment/travel preparation checklist completion date (if required for the destination country) in the "Notes" section.
7. Await an automated APACS message in your registered email, which will inform you if your request was approved, denied, or requires more information.
*APACS requests for leave are reviewed in order of date of travel. Because of the high volume of APACS requests received by SOUTHCOM, travelers may not see immediate action by the Theater Clearance office. Therefore, we encourage units to approve leave forms, allow the purchase of airline tickets, etc., based on the submission - NOT the approval - of the APACS request.
Country Clearance is granted by a foreign government through a U.S. Embassy for official travel to that country. The U.S. Embassy Chief of Mission (COM) may delegate country clearance-granting authority for DoD personnel to the U.S. Defense Attache Office (DAO) or another defense-related entity in country. Country clearance covers only the visit to the country specified and for the purpose requested. Country clearance requirements do not apply to: personnel in unified or overseas Service commands traveling to units of those commands, intra-theater troop movements, personnel deploying to support formally approved exercises or deployments, or aircrew members who perform aircrew duties exclusively.
Theater Clearance is granted by a geographic Combatant Command (or through a component commander or other delegated authority) for official travel to or within its geographic Combatant Command area of responsibility (AOR). Theater clearance requirements do not apply to: personnel in unified or overseas Service commands traveling to units of those commands, intra-theater troop movements, personnel deploying to support formally approved exercises or deployments, or aircrew members who perform aircrew duties exclusively.
Special Area Clearance
Special Area Clearance is granted by Department of State and OUSD(P). Special area clearance requirements do not apply to: personnel in unified or overseas Service commands traveling to units of those commands, intra-theater troop movements, personnel deploying to support formally approved exercises or deployments, or aircrew members who perform aircrew duties exclusively.
U.S. Southern Command Theater Clearance Manager
Force Management / Deployments Section
Phone: COMM: 305-437-3713
U.S. Southern Command Red Switch (non-duty hours and emergency requests)
Phone: COMM: 305-437-4900
12 AF (AFSOUTH) component clearance office
Phone: COMM: 520-228-0335