Washington, DC - U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced today the next Preclearance expansion open season began on May 15 and will run through August 1, 2016. Appropriate stakeholders are invited to submit a letter during the open season detailing their interest in offering CBP Preclearance operations at a foreign airport. Through Preclearance, the same immigration, customs, and agriculture inspections of international air passengers performed on arrival in the U.S. are instead completed before departure at foreign airports.
“CBP’s preclearance operations are an important step in the U.S. government’s effort to prevent terrorism from coming to our borders,” said CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske. “We intend to identify governments and airports willing to partner with us. Additional preclearance locations will further protect the safety and security of our citizens while also streamlining legitimate travel and commerce.”
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and CBP, in coordination with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), U.S. Department of State, and other U.S. Government stakeholders, will review each submission. Submissions will then be evaluated and prioritized based on their benefit to national security, travel facilitation, and economic partnerships.
DHS began the process of identifying and prioritizing new air preclearance locations in September 2014. Foreign airports interested in preclearance expansion were invited to submit a letter to CBP expressing their interest in hosting preclearance operations.
Following an open and deliberative evaluation process for the 2014 open season, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson announced in May 2015 ten priority locations in nine separate countries for Preclearance expansion: Brussels International Airport (Belgium); Punta Cana International Airport (Dominican Republic); Narita International Airport (Japan); Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (Netherlands); Oslo Gardermoen Airport (Norway); Madrid-Barajas Airport (Spain), Stockholm Arlanda Airport (Sweden); Istanbul Ataturk Airport (Turkey); and London Heathrow Airport and Manchester Airport (United Kingdom).
The United States holds the identification and interdiction of threats prior to arrival as one of the principal tenets of national security. Preclearance is a critical tool which supports our efforts to identify and address international threats at the earliest possible opportunity and supports our efforts to build a high level of cooperation between CBP and host governments around the world.
CBP Preclearance operations all for advance inspections of passengers and special coordination with law enforcement upon arrival in the United States. U.S. Preclearance operations began at Toronto Pearson International Airport in 1952. Currently, air Preclearance operations exists at 15 foreign airports in six different countries, benefiting travelers, airports, and air carriers, in the U.S. and abroad.