U.S. and Canada improve traveler pre-clearance procedures

By Hal Mattern

The United States and Canada have implemented an agreement to improve mutual security and expedite lawful travel through pre-clearance for travelers and their baggage on certain forms of transportation.

The collaboration between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada supersedes a 2001 pre-clearance agreement between the two countries and expands the partnership.

Pre-clearance is the process by which officers stationed abroad inspect and make admissibility decisions about travelers and their baggage before they leave a foreign port, simultaneously increasing efficiency and security. The new land, rail, marine and air pre-clearance agreement provides the legal framework and reciprocal authorities necessary for U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Canada Border Services Agency to carry out security, facilitation and inspection processes in each other’s country.

“Pre-clearance strengthens economic competitiveness and mutual security and benefits travelers by expediting their clearance into the U.S. before they ever leave Canada,” said Kevin K. McAleenan, acting secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection currently conducts preclearance operations at eight Canadian airports: Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg. Officers also conduct immigration pre-inspection at multiple locations in British Columbia. These locations will have the opportunity to convert to full pre-clearance, per the terms of the new agreement.


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