In 2015, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security identified 10 overseas airports for expansion of the US Customs and Immigration Preclearance program. And now the department has named 11 more.
For travelers, this means that you’ll clear US customs and immigration at foreign airports, and your international flight back to the US will arrive like a domestic flight- you just get off and go home. These stations usually include Global Entry kiosks for faster processing. For business travelers, the primary downside is that once you pass through, it might be impossible to wait for your flight in an airport or business/first class lounge.
“Preclearance allows DHS to screen individuals prior to boarding a flight, which means we are able to identify threats long before they arrive in the United States,” said DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson. “I look forward to the opportunity to grow our Preclearance operations in the Western Hemisphere, particularly into South America where CBP does not currently operate them.”
The airports newly named as Preclearance possibilities include Bogota, Buenos Aires, Edinburgh, Iceland’s Keflavik, Mexico City, Milan Malpensa, Osaka Kansai, Rio de Janeiro, Rome Fiumicino, Sao Paulo Guarulhos and St. Maarten.
Before a new a station can be opened, the U.S. and the host country must negotiate an agreement allowing it – and that can be a slow process.
You can add this to the long list of improvements travelers have seen under the Obama administration.
Of the 10 airports selected last year for possible Preclearance locations, DHS said the U.S. has just signed an agreement with Sweden for a Preclearance facility at Stockholm Arlanda, which isn’t expected to open before 2019. DHS said it “continues to engage with many of the host governments” from the other locations, and “expects to announce additional agreements in the coming months.”
Those other airports from the 2015 selection process include Brussels, Punta Cana (Dominican Republic), Tokyo Narita, Amsterdam Schiphol, Oslo, Madrid, Istanbul Ataturk, London Heathrow, and Manchester.
Most of the existing U.S. Preclearance stations are in Canada – at Calgary, Toronto, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver and Winnipeg. Other Preclearance facilities are at airports in Dublin, Shannon, Abu Dhabi, Aruba, Freeport and Nassau (Bahamas), and Bermuda.
Have you tried using Preclearance yet? How did that go for you? Please leave your comments below.
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