US Pre-Clearance could be expanded to Heathrow, Amsterdam, Brussels, Madrid etc.?

Before taking up Global Entry, I would always dread going to, or transferring in, the United States because of the insanely long immigrations queues on arrival. That plus the Customs screening would eat in at least 45-90 minutes of travel time on arrival.

US Department of Homeland Security Seal

The great thing about Pre-Clearance is that you arrive at the USA as if the aircraft were a domestic flight, as you will have passed immigration and customs at your departure airport before you have even stepped onto your flight. While adding on more time at the departures side, it does mean you can factor in tighter international-international or international-domestic connections when landing at big airport cities like New York, Miami, Los Angeles etc.

Pre-clearance vies with Global Entry as being one of the most important international travel scheme, though the former not being on an opt-in basis, but available to everyone in the world rather than the limited exposure of Global Entry.

From the Department of Homeland Security, some further 10 airports have been identified for possible Pre-Clearance

  • Brussels Airport, Belgium;
  • Punta Cana Airport, Dominican Republic;
  • Narita International Airport, Japan;
  • Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Netherlands;
  • Oslo Airport, Norway;
  • Madrid-Barajas Airport, Spain;
  • Stockholm Arlanda Airport, Sweden;
  • Istanbul Ataturk Airport, Turkey;
  • London Heathrow Airport
  • Manchester Airport, United Kingdom.


The reason sensibly cited as :

These countries represent some of the busiest last points of departure to the United States – in 2014, nearly 20 million passengers traveled from these ten airports to the US.

The reality is that it is only at proposal stage, with negotiations amongst the different host countries yet to take place. It may be a while yet, but given the bromance and courtship dances the EU and US make, I expect this to be given the all-clear. Let's just hope they can also extend Pre-Clearance to the expansion of participating Global Entry citizenships.

About Tim

Tim is an engineer and a nerd who analyses every travel deal, travel hack. He has travelled to around 90 countries and also speaks Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin.

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  1. Any news on whether they will provide Global Entry kiosks or fast track lanes in these foreign cities? If not, and it’s obligatory to use the pre-clearance, this is terrible news for GE holders. Being forced to arrive two hours earlier for a flight in order to stand in a long queue would be a huge retrograde step. Imagine the chaos at LHR. It can’t currently cope at all with regular Fast Track lanes. It has nowhere to put extra facilities and transfers between oneworld airlines in different terminals will be a joke.

    DREADFUL idea.

  2. Agree with @David! Terrible idea in some of these airports. The queues will just be at the beginning of the trip now! Or during your transfer. What is the difference? Can you imagine LHR? Ugh!

  3. The pre-clearance, like at Dublin is great – – I went through yesterday, and there IS a separate Global Entry line – – and there was nobody in it. With GE you walk right up – – otherwise the queue is substantial. Then, landing in Atlanta, you walk right out onto the concourse to your next flight – – everything happened in Dublin (INCLUDING separate US/TSA x-raying). This is different from what is at Schiphol now, where the D1 and E4 checks are just an additional hurdle – – if the new customs process comes to Schiphol I will be super happy – – I’m considering routing my next trip through DUB instead of AMS just because the up-front process is such a relief.

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