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  4. Get To Know Preclearance

Get to Know Preclearance

U. S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Preclearance program strategically stations CBP officers and agriculture specialists at foreign airports to inspect and process travelers and their goods prior to boarding U.S.-bound flights. Travelers bypass CBP and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) inspections upon arrival to the U.S., allowing them to proceed directly to their connecting flight or destination.  Preclearance makes travel safer, more efficient, and has unique travel and security benefits for travelers, airports, airlines, and governments.

Upon sufficient fulfillment of requirements necessary for implementing Preclearance, CBP and partners engage in three fundamental agreements.

  • Bilateral Agreement - An agreement between CBP and the host government establishing the parameters of Preclearance operations, including CBP authorities, protections, infrastructure requirements, etc.
  • Memorandum of Understanding - An agreement between CBP and the airport operator outlining roles and responsibilities and cost sharing.
  • Memorandum of Cooperation - An agreement between TSA and the host government that outlines adherence to TSA-commensurate aviation security screening for precleared flights.

The host government, airport, and airlines must engage with CBP consistently for successful completion of Preclearance agreements.

Preclearance costs include capital expenditures, for which the applicant is responsible, and operational expenditures, which are shared between the applicant and U.S. Government.

Total cost is broken into two categories: Capital Expenditures & Operational Expenditures. Each category is broken down as follows:

  • Capital Expenditures:
    • Facilities - Build or renovate a facility for Preclearance, per CBP specifications
    • Technology - Procure and install Information-Technology (IT) and inspection equipment
  • Operational Expenditures:
    • Labor - Share cost of salaries, benefits, and overtime of CBP staff
    • Operational Support & Overhead - Provide administrative support for CBP staff and operations
    • Direct Non-Labor - Support services for housing and security, supplies, travel, and training
    • Equipment Maintenance & IT - Maintenance of CBP proprietary and IT equipment
    • Temporary Duty Staff & Relocation Benefits - Deployment and relocation of CBP staff and their families

Capital expenditures are the applicant’s responsibility. Operational expenditures are shared costs between CBP and the applicant.

Last Modified: Apr 12, 2024