DHS Hopes to Expand Preclearance Program

It has been announced that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) intends to negotiate for an expansion of preclearance operations to ten additional overseas airports. Preclearance facilities, which are operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), are designed to improve U.S. security while simultaneously streamlining the inspection process for travelers requesting admission to the United States.

Inspection Process at Traditional POEs

The CBP is responsible for conducting immigration, agriculture, and customs inspections of people, vessels, and packages en route to the United States. For foreign nationals coming to the U.S., the CBP must evaluate each individual’s general admissibility, in addition to eligibility for entry in the particular category requested. This inspection process has traditionally occurred upon arrival at a U.S. port of entry (POE), which includes airports, seaports, and land border crossings.

Preclearance: Inspection Abroad

In the current security environment, the United States has a great interest in screening would-be travelers before they arrive on U.S. soil. This is achieved through CBP preclearance posts. Preclearance is a system in which CBP officers are stationed at airports located outside the U.S. in order to perform inspections before travelers are even permitted to board U.S.-bound flights. CBP currently has preclearance locations at airports in Canada, the Caribbean, Ireland, and the United Arab Emirates. More information about the preclearance process is available in the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, CBP Preclearance Post Added at Abu Dhabi International Airport (05.Mar.2014).

Negotiations with Countries Selected for Preclearance

The DHS will be trying to reach deals with nine different countries for permission to establish preclearance locations at airports in those nations. The countries identified for this possible expansion of the preclearance program are: Belgium, the Dominican Republic, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. The airports under consideration were selected after a cooperative search conducted by the CBP, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and the U.S. Department of State (DOS). Only airports that conform to U.S. aviation security standards are potentially eligible to become preclearance sites. These airports were selected because, in addition to meeting the requisite security standards, they also are high-volume departure points for individuals requesting admission to the United States.


The preclearance program is designed to benefit travelers to the U.S. as well as national security interests. Therefore, adding preclearance locations to additional airports makes perfect sense. MurthyDotCom will post updated information once the DHS provides new details regarding this potential expansion.


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