The Department of Homeland Security just announced 11 new foreign airports—located in nine countries—selected for possible Preclearance expansion. If approved, these airports will offer Americans easier, smoother travel experiences. With Preclearance, travelers go through immigration, customs, and agriculture inspection by US Customs and Border Protection before boarding their flights to America, rather than when they arrive in the US.
The Preclearance procedure not only reduces wait times at domestic gateways but also facilitates quicker connections to US domestic flights. This maximizes aircraft and gate utilization, as well.
The 11 airports locations selected for possible Preclearance expansion:
- El Dorado International Airport (BOG) in Bogota, Colombia
- Ministro Pistarini International Airport (EZE) in Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Edinburgh Airport (EDI) in Edinburgh, United Kingdom
- Keflavik International Airport (KEF) in Iceland
- Mexico City International Airport (MEX) in Mexico City, Mexico
- Milan-Malpensa Airport (MXP) in Milan, Italy
- Kansai International Airport (KIX) in Osaka, Japan
- Rio de Janeiro-Galeão International Airport (GIG) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport (FCO) in Rome, Italy
- São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) in Sao Paulo, Brazil
- Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) in St. Maarten
Each year, more than 10 million travelers fly from these airports to the US. The existing program already screens about 18 million travelers per year arriving from 15 airports in Canada, the Caribbean, and Ireland.
In May 2015, the DHS identified 10 airports in nine countries for Preclearance expansion. Stockholm Arlanda Airport was one of these 10 locations. In fact, the US and Sweden just signed an agreement to implement Preclearance operations at that airport, where Preclearance may begin as early as 2019.
The other locations previously announced as prioritized for Preclearance:
- Brussels Airport, Belgium
- Punta Cana Airport, Dominican Republic
- Narita International Airport, Japan
- Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Netherlands
- Oslo Airport, Norway
- Madrid-Barajas Airport, Spain
- Istanbul Ataturk Airport, Turkey
- London Heathrow Airport and Manchester Airport, United Kingdom
US Customs and Border Protection hopes to announce more agreements in the next few months, as well.
Bottom line: I love Preclearance, and I use it often since I travel frequently between Los Angeles and Toronto. It saves so much time on arrival because when you land you’re treated like you’ve been flying on a domestic flight, so there’s no need to wonder how long immigration lines will be. On the flip side if you don’t have Global Entry, you still need to get to the airport earlier.