Starting this year, the United States entered into negotiations in order to expand air preclearance operations to new locations. Through preclearance, the same immigration, customs, and agriculture inspections of international air passengers performed on arrival in the United States can be completed before departure at foreign airports instead. Until recently, preclearance operations took place at 15 foreign airports in six different countries, benefitting air passengers, airports, and air carriers, in the United States and abroad. CBP also staffs a Pre-inspection facility for passenger/vehicle ferry traffic to the U.S. in Victoria, Canada.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is the U.S. government agency responsible for securing U.S. borders and facilitating international trade and travel. Within DHS, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) administers a process to evaluate and prioritize an initial set of potential preclearance locations with formal negotiations ongoing.  Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson announced on May 29 that the U.S. will expand air preclearance operations to ten new foreign airports, in nine countries: Belgium, the Dominican Republic, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United Kingdom.  The ten foreign airports identified for possible preclearance locations are: Brussels Airport, Belgium; Punta Cana Airport, Dominican Republic; Narita International Airport, Japan; Amsterdam Airport Schipol, Netherlands; Oslo Airport, Norway; Madrid-Barajas Airport, Spain; Stockholm Arlanda Airport, Sweden; Istanbul Ataturk Airport, Turkey; and London Heathrow Airport and Manchester Airport, United Kingdom.

American Airlines, JetBlue, and United have applauded the decision by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to expand its Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) preclearance program, saying it will contribute to a rise in U.S. Tourism.  We at North County Immigration favour the expansion as we have many clients process TN visas through these facilities through Canada and hope to be able to expand other types of visa applications through more preclearance facilities as well.