The United States and Canada have implemented a new agreement that expands preclearance operations to travelers at land, rail and marine facilities in both countries, as well as at additional airports. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said that the new agreement builds upon a previous partnership that had been signed in 2001.
Under the new agreement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Canada Border Services Agency officers will be stationed abroad to inspect and make admissibility decisions about travelers and their accompanying baggage before they leave a foreign port. Currently, the CBP conducts preclearance operations at eight Canadian airports: Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg. CBP officers also conduct immigration pre-inspection at multiple locations in British Columbia for rail and marine travel; under the new agreement, these locations will have the opportunity to convert to full preclearance.
The new agreement is fully reciprocal, allowing Canada to pursue preclearance operations in the United States. It also enables the exploration of co-location at small and remote ports of entry.
The U.S. Travel Association applauded the new measure. In a written statement U.S. Travel EVP of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Barnes noted that the CBP has already seen success with its preclearance operations at six airports across Canada. “The enactment of this agreement will build upon that success, helping facilitate efficient travel and strengthen security between the two countries,” Barnes said.