Even though immigration ‘pre-clearance’ into the US for transport passengers has existed for over a century, there has been very slow progress in implementing it globally more recently.
Passengers availing of pre-clearance formalities have passports checked by US immigration officials and cleared by US customs for entry into the US at their departure airport. They are not subject to further check, because flights arrive at domestic rather than international terminals at US airports.
The 15 airports that benefit from pre-clearance have not been added to for years. It seems Edinburgh Airport in Scotland, first proposed in 2012 but which only became a formal candidate years later, may overtake London Heathrow and Manchester airports to be the first UK airport in the scheme.
But for all the benefits of the arrangement (as Dublin Airport in particular would testify), there are pitfalls, including security, user satisfaction (airlines as well as passengers), and funding issues.
This two-part report examines the benefits and disadvantages. This is part one.