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US seeking more pre-clearance facilities in Europe

by amit.uniyal 21. September 2014 05:48

More pre-clearance facilities are now being sought in the UK and several European countries for travelers to the United States. Media reports recently said that the U.S. government is believed to have taken this move insisting pre-clearance facilities for U.S. travelers from European nations.


According to the reports, the U.S. government has requested that pre-clearance facilities be installed in at least five European countries. The reports said that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers would be stationed in the said European countries for questioning transatlantic travelers before boarding flights to the United States.

Some of the pre-clearance facilities are already being operated by the CBP officials in Ireland’s Dublin and Shannon airports. The pre-clearance being conducted at the two airports incorporate immigration and Customs. Under the pre-clearance process, the passengers who have been cleared by the CBP officials are treated as domestic flyers and upon reaching their destination within the United States, they don’t have to undergo the unnecessary hassle of going through the lengthy immigration queues at U.S. airports once again.

The reports said that similar pre-clearance facilities are already functioning in Canada and the Caribbean nations. Earlier this year a pre-clearance facility was also installed at Abu Dhabi International Airport. It was however strongly resented by the U.S. airline industry as they thought that the balance was tilted in favor of UAE’s national carrier Etihad Airways.

The U.S. pilots’ body ALPA, which protested the move vehemently, said that by allowing a CBP pre-clearance facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport the U.S. government was handing a state-subsidized airline a major competitive edge over many U.S. airlines. No U.S. carrier is presently conducting flights to/from the Abu Dhabi International Airport.

The ALPA officials said that a pre-clearance facility in the UK would be in fact less controversial when compared to the Abu Dhabi International Airport. A number of U.S. carriers offer daily services to/from the UK multiple times and a pre-clearance facility here would be quite appropriate.

A statement issued by the UK’s Home Office said that pre-clearance, which is currently operational in Dublin and Shannon airports, is an effective means of hastening the entry of passengers through the airports in the United States.

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