Travelers flying to United States from many Canadian and Caribbean countries clear the US immigration at their origin bypassing sometimes rather lengthy queues at the entry airport arriving as domestic passengers.
United States and Sweden signed an agreement on Friday to expand the preclearance to Stockholm’s Arlanda airport. There are other airports wishing to join the program from number of countries.
Here’s an excerpt from the Local:
The Swedish government said it hopes the increased ease of travel will have positive consequences like for example making Sweden a more attractive place for international companies to base their headquarters in.
The agreement was signed by Swedish interior minister Anders Ygeman and US Ambassador to Sweden Azita Raji in an official ceremony at the Stockholm US Embassy on Friday morning.
Last year, Jeff Anderson who was Public Diplomacy Counselor at the US Embassy in Stockholm at the time, explained to The Local how the preclearance process will work:
“What this means is that all customs procedures would happen here in Sweden, so you would enter the US as a domestic passenger.
And here’s from the USA Today:
The goal of the so-called Preclearance program is to extend security and thwart the arrival of unwelcome visitors before they reach the U.S. But the advantage for all travelers is to clear Customs before getting aboard the plane, and to avoid long lines upon arrival.
The airports embarking on the process to join the program include Bogota, Colombia; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Edinburgh, Scotland; Kansai, Japan; Milan, Italy; Reykjavik, Iceland; Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo, Brazil; and Saint Martin in the Caribbean.
More than 10 million travelers fly to the U.S. from those airports each year. The program already screens about 18 million travelers per year arriving from 15 airports mostly in Canada, the Caribbean and Ireland.
There are preclearance facilities also in Ireland and in Abu Dhabi where Etihad flights to United States leave. The UAE/Abu Dhabi is partially funding the post. I believe that Qatar Airways was also interested to have facility in Doha.
One would think that it would be more efficient to have robust immigration at the US point of entry compared to station all these officers at foreign post where there could be only handful of flights destined to the United States daily.