I had the opportunity to use preclearance at the airport for the first time recently. This was at the Dublin Airport and I was flying back to Atlanta. Just a month ago, I was venting about how much time I spent checking in again in Atlanta after speeding through Immigration and Customs. I have Global Entry, so I skipped just about everyone only to get in this extra long line of people going through security again. I was annoyed, so the ability to use preclearance in Dublin was great. It’s so much easier to go through that process at the beginning of your travels and get it over – especially as a member of #teamcarryon.Preclearance is currently available in 15 airports across six countries. Most of those are in Canada. I read an article from November 2016 that DHS’s hopes to add 11 additional airports to the program. Here is a video of a woman with an Irish accent explaining how it works in Dublin:
I was confused about it at first. My bags were supposed to be checked to the final destination, and I didn’t have to go through customs when I got back to the U.S. I just didn’t understand how one could skip customs. When one arrives at the airport international terminal, one must automatically go through customs. I wasn’t sure about how they would forego this, and allow me to simply head to a connecting flight or leave the airport.
So here was my process.
- Arrived at Dublin Airport
- Checked in my luggage at theDelta check-in counter
- Went through security screening
- Stopped by a lounge for free refreshments since I had some time to kill. (Note: There is only one lounge in the preclearance area, but I didn’t have access to it and was unwilling to pay for the access. Once your reach the pre clearance area, you cannot leave.)
- Arrived at US pre clearance area
- Go through TSA screening. I didn’t notice a line for TSA precheck, but there I didn’t have to wait anyway
- Used Global Entry kiosk for customs and immigration
- Handed over my forms
- Proceeded to my gate
- Flew to Atlanta
- Got off the plane (The elevator up to immigration was blocked, and the door to the terminal was opened so that we could skip immigration. That was simpler than I imagined.)
- Headed to another lounge
- Walked to my connect flight’s gate
- Flew home
It was such a great feeling to be able to hop of a 8.5-hour flight and not have to stand in long lines going through customs, immigration, and security screening. US Preclearance for the win!