Why does ATC not have my flight plan on file?

Flight plans that are filed through ForeFlight don't always go to ATC immediately depending on your filed ETD. This article clarifies when a filed flight plan is sent to ATC.

US & Canada

ICAO Flight Plan (VFR or IFR)

When you file an ICAO flight plan with ForeFlight, if the departure date and time are within 22 hours of when you filed, the plan is immediately sent to the appropriate ATC facility.

If the flight plan you filed is scheduled for more than 22 hours from the time you file the plan, then the plan is held in our servers until 22 hours prior to the scheduled departure time. At 22 hours prior to the scheduled departure, the flight plan is sent to the appropriate ATC facility. 

FAA Domestic Flight Plan (IFR)

Non-ICAO National Airspace System (NAS) Domestic IFR flight plans will be released by Leidos 3 hours prior to departure.

Europe

ICAO Flight Plan (VFR, IFR, YFR, ZFR)

If filing into Europe from another supported region outside of Europe, if the departure date and time are within 22 hours of when you filed, the plan is immediately sent to the appropriate ATC facility. If the flight plan is scheduled for more than 22 hours from the time you file the plan, then the plan is held in our servers until 22 hours prior to the scheduled departure time. At 22 hours prior to the scheduled departure, the flight plan is sent to the appropriate ATC facility. When filing an IFR flight plan between two points inside of Europe, the flight plan will be sent to the appropriate ATC facility 120 hours prior to the scheduled departure time. 

NOTE: VFR flight plans in Austria will be held by Austrocontrol until 5 hours prior to ETD.

Here is a table that illustrates when flight plans are sent to the appropriate ATC facility.

  Hours prior to ETD that flight plan is sent to appropriate ATC facility.    
Flight Plan Type

ETD+3 Hours

ETD+5 Hours
(Austria Only)
ETD+22 Hours ETD+120 Hours
(Intra-Europe)

FAA Domestic Flight Plan (USA)

IFR

     

DVFR

     

ICAO Flight Plan

VFR

   ✓  

IFR

   

ZFR

     

YFR