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U.S. Greenlights Expansion of Preclearance Program to Stockholm Airport, Considers Other Airports

Tuesday, November 08, 2016
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The U.S. and Sweden signed an agreement Nov. 4 to implement CBP’s preclearance program at Stockholm Arlanda Airport. The agreement will enter into force after the two governments complete all necessary internal procedures, which is expected to take anywhere from 12 to 18 months. CBP notes that preclearance operations may begin at Stockholm Arlanda Airport as early as 2019.

Preclearance is the process by which CBP officers stationed abroad inspect and make admissibility decisions about passengers and their accompanying goods or baggage heading to the U.S. before they leave a foreign port. The Transportation Security Administration requires that passenger and accessible property screening at a foreign preclearance airport conforms to U.S. aviation security screening standards in order for the U.S.-bound aircraft to disembark passengers at a domestic U.S. air terminal without needing to be rescreened. CBP officers retain the authority to inspect passengers and their accompanying goods or baggage after arriving in the U.S.

Preclearance 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 2015, CBP cleared over 18 million passengers through these preclearance locations.

According to a CBP press release, the agency continues to engage with several of the host governments of other prioritized locations, including Brussels Airport, Belgium; Punta Cana Airport, Dominican Republic; Narita International Airport, Japan; Amsterdam Airport Schipol, Netherlands; Oslo Airport, Norway; Madrid-Barajas Airport, Spain; Istanbul Ataturk Airport, Turkey; and London Heathrow Airport and Manchester Airport, United Kingdom.

The Department of Homeland Security has also identified 11 new foreign airports for possible admission into the preclearance program. They are El Dorado International Airport, Colombia; Ministro Pistarini International Airport, Argentina; Edinburgh Airport, United Kingdom; Keflavik International Airport, Iceland; Mexico City International Airport, Mexico; Milan-Malpensa Airport, Italy; Kansai International Airport, Japan; Rio de Janeiro-Galeão International Airport, Brazil; Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport, Italy; São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport, Brazil; and Princess Juliana International Airport, St. Maarten. More than 10 million travelers fly to the U.S. from these airports each year.

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