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DHS Aims to Expand Preclearance to 10 More Airports

Tuesday, June 09, 2015
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Department of Homeland Security intends to enter into negotiations to expand air preclearance operations to ten new foreign airports in nine countries. Preclearance is the process by which U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers stationed abroad screen and make admissibility decisions about passengers and their accompanying goods or baggage heading to the U.S. before they leave a foreign port.

Pre-clearance is already available at 15 airports: Dublin and Shannon in Ireland; Aruba; Freeport and Nassau in The Bahamas; Bermuda; Calgary, Toronto, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver and Winnipeg in Canada; and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. In 2014, CBP cleared over 16 million passengers through these preclearance locations.

According to a DHS press release, after considering more than two dozen additional foreign airports that expressed an interest in opening preclearance facilities, DHS has identified the following for possible preclearance locations: 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; and London Heathrow Airport and Manchester Airport, United Kingdom. DHS states that if the pending negotiations are successful, CBP would conduct immigration, customs and agriculture inspections of travelers before they board direct flights to the U.S. from these airports.

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