Travel Tip: Returning to the U.S. via Airports With Preclearance

Photo by Matthew Turner on

This summer, airports around the world saw record setting lines for immigration and passport control. Going into the later part of the year, it’s only going to get worse.

If you’re planning an international trip, you may want to consider traveling through an airport that offers what is called preclearance.

What is Preclearance?

Certain international airports offer travelers the ability to clear U.S. customs and border control before you board your plane home. This has the advantage of saving you a ton of time and energy. When you arrive to your destination, you will be free to go as you please. No immigration. No customs.

What airports offer this?

Dublin, Ireland

Shannon, Ireland

Nassau and Freeport, Bahamas


Abu Dhabi, UAE

Calgary, Canada

Toronto, Canada

Edmonton, Canada

Halifax, Canada

Montreal, Canada

Vancouver, Canada

Ottawa, Canada

Winnipeg, Canada

Victoria, Canada

Can I Use TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry?

Because you will have already cleared security, no, you won’t be able to use TSA pre-check. However, if you have Global Entry, yes, it can be used. There are Global Entry kiosks available to you are the participating airports listed above.

Should I still allow 3 hours Or More to Clear Customs and Immigration?

Yes! TSA, the agency charged with staffing these locations is still short staffed. In fact, all airports are still under staffed. Always allow extra time.

Will I Be Asked to Pay Duties on My Purchases?

You’re allowed $800 of goods as an individual and $1600 as a couple tax free. More than that requires you to declare it! Ensure that you do because there is a way for TSA to know what you might have purchased via your passport.

Additionally, you’re allowed 1 liter of alcohol and 200 cigarettes tax free.

What Foods and Items Are Restricted?

See here for a full list.

Is It Worth It?

That’s a question only you can answer. From my perspective, if traveling through a preclearance airport is an option, I would highly encourage you to book it. It’s my plan to travel through Dublin on my next return trip home from Europe in order to save me time and energy.