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US Travelers Returning From Edinburgh Could Soon Save Hours by Skipping Customs When They Land

Travel Safety Airports + Flying
by Katie Scott Aiton Mar 19, 2024

Edinburgh Airport may soon be the first airport in the UK with US Preclearance. Preclearance has been in operation since 1952. Today, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) employs over 600 officers and agriculture specialists across six countries at 15 airports with Preclearance. As Edinburgh Airport provides many direct flight routes to the US, there is talk between the US and UK governments about extending this service to Scotland.

According to the CBP, Preclearance is an efficient way to clear US customs, immigration, and agriculture inspection before taking off, saving passengers time in customs when they land. As these flights arrive at domestic US gates, the swift security procedures also aim to increase the number of flights coming into the US (as domestic slots are more readily available,) reduce costs, and lead to more flexible arrival times. The CBP also claims that the service aids passengers to avoid busy arrival halls and make tight domestic connections.

Although there have been rumors circulating that the UK will offer this service, it’s yet to be put into action. Airport officials look to the thriving flight hub of Dublin Airport, which has had Preclearance since 2011. Dublin Airport currently runs far more flights to the US than Edinburgh, but it can be used as an example of how legislation could work in Scotland. The practicalities of establishing Preclearance are also expensive and intrusive. Airports need to have a secure airside area for passengers who are pre-cleared to wait to board the aircraft.

In an exclusive interview with The Independent, the chief executive of Edinburgh airport, Gordon Dewar, shared that this would be a fantastic opportunity for the nation and could help increase flights to the US from the UK.

Here’s where you can currently find airports with US Preclearance:


  • Dublin
  • Shannon


  • Aruba
  • Bermuda
  • Nassau

United Arab Emirates

  • Abu Dhabi


  • Calgary
  • Toronto
  • Edmonton
  • Halifax
  • Montreal
  • Ottawa
  • Vancouver
  • Victoria
  • Winnipeg

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