The US Department of Homeland Security is considering expanding airline preclearance operations to 10 new airports in nine countries, most of them in Europe.
The department said it was entering negotiations to add preclearance in Belgium, the Dominican Republic, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
Preclearance means that each passenger undergoes immigration, customs, and agriculture inspectionin their home countries by US CBP before boarding a direct flight to the United States.
The big plus is that passengers do not have to endure the wait and interrogation at the end of the long flight to the US. Many people see the US arrivals process as the reason not to go there.
The 10 airports identified for possible preclearance locations include:
- Brussels Airport, Belgium
- Punta Cana Airport, Dominican Republic
- Narita International Airport, Japan
- Amsterdam Airport Schipol, Netherlands
- Oslo Airport, Norway
- Madrid-Barajas Airport, Spain
- Stockholm Arlanda Airport, Sweden
- Istanbul Ataturk Airport, Turkey
- London Heathrow, UK
- Manchester Airport, UK
A few surprises on that list.
CBP is trying to improve the international arrivals experience.
Programs like Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, Automated Passport Control (APC) and Mobile Passport Control (MPC) are streamlining and expediting entry into the US, while maintaining the highest standards of security.
How it works
Preclearance is the process by which CBP Officers stationed abroad screen and make admissibility decisions about passengers and their accompanying goods or baggage heading to the United States before they leave a foreign port.
TSA requires that passenger and accessible property screening at a foreign preclearance airport conforms to U.S. aviation security screening standards so that the U.S.-bound aircraft can disembark passengers at a domestic U.S. air terminal without needing to be rescreened.
CBP officers do, however, retain the authority to inspect passengers and their accompanying goods or baggage after arriving in the United States.
Today, CBP has more than 600 law enforcement officers and agriculture specialists stationed at 15 air preclearance locations in 6 countries:
- Ireland, Dublin and Shannon
- Bahamas, Freeport and Nassau
- Canada – Calgary, Toronto, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, and Winnipeg
- United Arab Emirates – Abu Dhabi,
Last year, CBP cleared over 16 million passengers through these preclearance locations.
Airlines for America, the industry trade body for US airlines, applauded the move as did United,