PDA

View Full Version : Customs Departing from Vancouver


smileyperry
June 9th, 2011, 01:24 PM
I am having a bit of debate with a co-worker of mine.

I have traveled out of the country via air a few times in the past. In my experience when returning to the U.S. you go through customs at the FIRST U.S. airport you land at.

For example- Schiphol-Amsterdam to Fort Lauderdale with a layover in Atlanta. We went through customs in Atlanta and then re-checked our bags for the second leg of the trip on to FLL.

My co-worker says that she did not have a similar experience recently. She went on a cruise from San Diego to Vancouver last month. She stayed a night in Vancouver after the cruise and then flew home from YVR. She claims that they went through customs at the Vancouver (YVR) airport and did not go through customs on her layover in Chicago.

Is this something special that Canada & U.S. have worked out or is she mistaken???? Anyone have recent experience flying out of Vancouver to a U.S. airport???

I am interested in this because DH and I will be flying home from Vancouver and were only able to get a layover of 1 hour 45 minutes or 9 hours!!!!! We chose the 1 hour 45 minutes but are now worried that we'll miss our 2nd leg.

MiddleEarth
June 9th, 2011, 01:52 PM
Yes. At several airports in Canada, US Customs clearance is done. US Customs agents provide this service at Vancouver, Calgary (maybe Edmonton) Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal. Similar service ay also be provided at Halifax.

BJs mom
June 9th, 2011, 02:23 PM
She's right, we just came home on Monday from Vancouver and US customs was done at the Vancouver airport.

smileyperry
June 9th, 2011, 02:37 PM
Thanks, this is fabulous news :)

Cruz'n Couple
June 9th, 2011, 02:56 PM
We returned to US from YVR in May, and both Customs and Immigration are completed before boarding the plane. This is not unusual--we went through Customs and Immigration in 1999 in Shannon, Ireland before returned to US. Seems much simpler and easier and I applaud Homeland Security for getting this "right!"

scottbee
June 9th, 2011, 07:43 PM
I am having a bit of debate with a co-worker of mine.

I have traveled out of the country via air a few times in the past. In my experience when returning to the U.S. you go through customs at the FIRST U.S. airport you land at.

For example- Schiphol-Amsterdam to Fort Lauderdale with a layover in Atlanta. We went through customs in Atlanta and then re-checked our bags for the second leg of the trip on to FLL.

My co-worker says that she did not have a similar experience recently. She went on a cruise from San Diego to Vancouver last month. She stayed a night in Vancouver after the cruise and then flew home from YVR. She claims that they went through customs at the Vancouver (YVR) airport and did not go through customs on her layover in Chicago.

Is this something special that Canada & U.S. have worked out or is she mistaken???? Anyone have recent experience flying out of Vancouver to a U.S. airport???

I am interested in this because DH and I will be flying home from Vancouver and were only able to get a layover of 1 hour 45 minutes or 9 hours!!!!! We chose the 1 hour 45 minutes but are now worried that we'll miss our 2nd leg.

Your co-worker is correct, there are pre-clearance facilities (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_border_preclearance) at the following Canadian airports; YYZ/Toronto, YVR/Vancouver, YUL/Montreal, YOW/Ottawa, YYC/Calgary, YEG/Edmonton, YHZ/Halifax and YWG/Winnipeg. If you are flying on a flight originating in Canada from one of these airports and going to the USA, you will clear customs/immigration prior to boarding, and be a specific isolated part of the airport (the "Transborder Wing" in the case of YVR). The same applies for taking the train to seattle from Vancouver, or even boarding a cruise ship out of Vancouver (heading to a US port), you pre-clear prior to boarding.

if you are departing a Canadian airport w/o pre-clearance facilities such as YYJ/Victoria, you will still need to clear US Immigration/Customs in the USA.

One last caveat; if you are on a flight out of YVR to the USA that does not original in YVR, you still must clear customs/immigration on landing at your 1st point of entry in the USA, notably the CX/Cathy flight to JFK/New York and the PR/Philippines flight to LAS/Las Vegas

Remember, because you will need to clear US Immigration/Customs prior to reaching the gate area, you will need more time vs a normal checkin, and US I/C are notoriously slow.

Most US airports have woefully small international sections (such as LAS being top 10 in the world for traffic and only having 4 or 6 international gates); and this allows the US airports for the most part to not worry about it. Vancouver clears 3x as many flights into the USA as Seattle does, think about that for a moment....

pjn
June 9th, 2011, 11:24 PM
We also came home to the states from Vancouver on Monday and the process was quick and simple.

Keith1010
June 10th, 2011, 06:03 AM
Just give yourself extra time for customs. Sometimes the lines can be quite long.

Keith

smileyperry
June 10th, 2011, 02:38 PM
We will have plenty of time- our fights leaves at 11:30pm. We planned on going to the airport just after an early dinner somewhere in Vancouver.

Keith1010
June 10th, 2011, 03:01 PM
You definitely have plenty of time for the flight.

Often people are asking about 11:30 AM not PM.

Enjoy.

Keith

Wannaknow
June 10th, 2011, 03:02 PM
Approximately how long does clearing customs in Vancouver take when returning from Vancouver to a CA location.

Our ship docks at 7 a.m. and our flight from Vancouver leaves 1:20 p.m.

Cruz'n Couple
June 10th, 2011, 04:10 PM
We had an 11:45 am flight out of Vancouver (booked by cruise line). Had a MAJOR problem at Alaska Airlines counter, and it was 10:45 when we were able to start through the TSA check, (Canadian version) and US Customs and Immigration and we still made it to our gate about 15 minutes prior to boarding. So, I would say between 30 and 45 minutes, but I can see where it could be necessary to allow at least 90 minutes if airport were super busy!

infoprof56
June 10th, 2011, 04:18 PM
My situation will be a little different and I am curious if anyone knows how this will work. We are flying home on Air Canada from Vancouver to Baltimore with a plane change in Toronto. We only have about an hour layover in Toronto. Where will we likely clear US customs?

Italy52
June 10th, 2011, 06:33 PM
If you have a VERY EARLY flight out of Vancouver (YVR) definitely allow yourself extra time to make your flight. Case in point: We stayed one day post cruise in Vancouver. The day of our departure we had a 6:20 AM flight from Vancouver-Seattle-Sacramento. We arrived at the airport at 4 AM, filled out our U.S. Customs Form and entered the long line at the Alaska Air check in counter. DH checked us in at the kiosk adjacent to the line and we turned our bags over to Alaska Air for baggage tagging. Once bags were tagged, we were instructed to carry our bags over to the luggage conveyor belt. Upon arrival, we were instructed to give an agent our tickets - the tickets and baggage tags were then scanned. Next we were instructed to put our bags face down on the conveyor belt. After that process was done, we were to proceed through a series of security check points. Because there were a couple of conventions groups that were leaving town, "newbies" that had never flown before and not enough security checkpoint stations open to handle the large volume, the security process was long. After we cleared security we made our way to Customs to turn over our forms and finally make our way to our departure gate --- total processing time was 1 hr and 20 minutes. Last year we did not have the same problems. So my advice to anyone trying to catch an early flight is to plan ahead as one never knows what you will encounter at the airport.

Karen

c-to-sea
June 10th, 2011, 06:34 PM
Infoprof56

You will preclear in Toronto. All passengers on the flight must be precleared. Your bags
will be through checked but made available to you to present to Customs. On arrival, you go through security, immigration and customs on the way to the gate for your flight. The
Air Canada website shows a minimum connecting time of 1 hour 10 minutes for Canada to
USA connections.

scottbee
June 11th, 2011, 05:08 AM
Approximately how long does clearing customs in Vancouver take when returning from Vancouver to a CA location.

Our ship docks at 7 a.m. and our flight from Vancouver leaves 1:20 p.m.

CA is the normal abbreviation (iso 3166) for CAnada, but assuming you mean California, it can take anywhere from 5 min to 90 minutes to make it through US Immigration and Customs, unless you have a Nexus card (which is really only appropriate for people who cross the border a lot)

scottbee
June 11th, 2011, 05:12 AM
We will have plenty of time- our fights leaves at 11:30pm. We planned on going to the airport just after an early dinner somewhere in Vancouver.

Right now out of YVR there are no flights that leave for the USA at 2330; and only a few that leave between 10pm and 6am; just the redeyes to ORD (23:01) and IAH (23:15), and CX/Cathay to JFK.

If you're going to JFK, all the above talk does not apply as the CX flight originates in Hong Kong, stops in Vancouver and heads to JFK where it clears Immigration and Customs when it arrives. It also leaves from the INTERNATIONAL portion of the airport, not the US Departures area

smileyperry
June 11th, 2011, 10:50 AM
Right now out of YVR there are no flights that leave for the USA at 2330; and only a few that leave between 10pm and 6am; just the redeyes to ORD (23:01) and IAH (23:15), and CX/Cathay to JFK.

If you're going to JFK, all the above talk does not apply as the CX flight originates in Hong Kong, stops in Vancouver and heads to JFK where it clears Immigration and Customs when it arrives. It also leaves from the INTERNATIONAL portion of the airport, not the US Departures area

Yes, I was off by 15 minutes. We connect in to Houston- do we still go through customs in YVR???

6rugrats
June 11th, 2011, 11:55 AM
Yes, I was off by 15 minutes. We connect in to Houston- do we still go through customs in YVR???
As already posted, yes. You preclear customs and immigration in YVR.

I am interested in this because DH and I will be flying home from Vancouver and were only able to get a layover of 1 hour 45 minutes or 9 hours!!!!!
This by the way is quite confusing. It sounds as if your "layover" is in YVR, which it couldn't be, because you start there.

smileyperry
June 11th, 2011, 12:36 PM
Flying from Vancouver with a layover elsewhere- oh well.

infoprof56
June 11th, 2011, 02:38 PM
Infoprof56

You will preclear in Toronto. All passengers on the flight must be precleared. Your bags
will be through checked but made available to you to present to Customs. On arrival, you go through security, immigration and customs on the way to the gate for your flight. The
Air Canada website shows a minimum connecting time of 1 hour 10 minutes for Canada to
USA connections.

Thank you. I think 1 hour 10 minutes is exactly what we have. Air Canada booked it so I will assume they know what they're doing. If not there are worse things than hanging around the Toronto airport waiting for a later flight. Sounds like it will be similar to what we did at JFK coming from Rome and going on to Baltimore. As I recall all we did was roll our luggage past customs and directly back to bag check.

I guess that means that leaving YVR we are under doemstic within Canada policies?

scottbee
June 11th, 2011, 06:20 PM
Yes, I was off by 15 minutes. We connect in to Houston- do we still go through customs in YVR???
Yes

c-to-sea
June 11th, 2011, 06:35 PM
infoprof56

Assume you are arriving on an Alaska cruise. If so, you will have cleared Canada Border Services
(Customs and Immigration) when the ship arrives. You are then free to roam the width and breadth
of Canada at will. Only when you are ready to return home will you again have to face
"The Authorities".

smileyperry
July 7th, 2011, 11:42 AM
Just an update for everyone on this.

We flew home Saturday evening on the red eye (11:15pm) on Continental from YVR to IAH. We DID NOT go through customs in Vancouver. I asked the woman at check-in about this and she said that because our flight leaves "at night" we will be going through customs in our first airport of entry. She would not tell me the normal hours in which this is offered.

I'll spare the details but we nearly missed our connecting flight in Houston. We had a 2 hour layover and it took that entire time to get through customs- yes, even at 5:30am!

hershey4
July 7th, 2011, 09:17 PM
Normally, if you have a connecting flight, you don't see your luggage until your final destination. Do you have to collect it at the connecting airport if you have to go through customs at your "first airport of entry" in the US? WHY would an airline schedule a connection that they know you can't make, if you need to clear customs?

I will have this same dilemma, only our connection time (that connects from a red-eye to Chicago) is only 1 HOUR!! I haven't called United yet, but I seriously doubt they will be helpful at this point.

scottbee
July 8th, 2011, 12:21 AM
USA CBP at the Vancouver airport have decided to close early from now on, so the last few flights of the night leave from the international wing, not the [pre-cleared] Transborder wing.

Handy way of telling if your flight is/isn't pre-cleared out of Vancouver is load up the webpage for YVR/Vancouver departures: http://www.yvr.ca/en/flight-information/departing.aspx and look at the gate number
A gates: domestic Canada
B gates: domestic Canada
C gates: domestic Canada
D gates: International (clear immigration/customs as destination)
E gates: Transborder (pre-clear US immigration/customs at YVR)

right now the only flights I see to the USA that aren't pre-cleared are:
PR106 -> LAS (because flight originates in MNL)
CX888 -> JFK (because flight originates in HKG)
UA519 -> ORD (leaves late - after the CBP go home)
CO1651 -> IAH (leaves late - after the CBP go home)

reney313
July 8th, 2011, 03:01 PM
I didn't realize this was from an earlier post. I was going to mention I had heard the red eye (or late flight) from Vancouver to Chicago clears in Chicago and not in Vancouver (not from experience, I read it here a while back). Glad to hear you made your connection though!

smileyperry
July 9th, 2011, 07:06 PM
Normally, if you have a connecting flight, you don't see your luggage until your final destination. Do you have to collect it at the connecting airport if you have to go through customs at your "first airport of entry" in the US? WHY would an airline schedule a connection that they know you can't make, if you need to clear customs?

I will have this same dilemma, only our connection time (that connects from a red-eye to Chicago) is only 1 HOUR!! I haven't called United yet, but I seriously doubt they will be helpful at this point.

We got off the plane- went through Immigration (show your passports). Then we proceeded to the next room and waited for our suitcases. The went through Customs. Then re-checked our bags. THEN had to go through security again (take off shoes- take out laptops, portable DVD players, etc). The line was LONG and there were only two x-ray machines and one metal detector.

I would check with United, they are now part of Continental (well actually- our flight had the continental logo with the word United on the plane).

If you're leaving out of YVR at night I would suggest getting a new connecting flight!

born2cruize
July 9th, 2011, 07:59 PM
CA is the normal abbreviation (iso 3166) for CAnada, but assuming you mean California, it can take anywhere from 5 min to 90 minutes to make it through US Immigration and Customs, unless you have a Nexus card (which is really only appropriate for people who cross the border a lot)

In the states CA does stand for California. Canada is abbreviated CN.

PennyAgain
July 9th, 2011, 09:01 PM
I fly out of Vancouver fairly often and have never had a speedy departure from that airport when you add in all the various lines and pre-clear issues.

The lines can be long on cruise arrival days with some people having an incredible amount of luggage and just plain stuff.

Don't cut yourself short on time. It is better to be inside your general gate area having a cup of tea than to be worried while waiting in line.

hershey4
July 9th, 2011, 10:10 PM
We got off the plane- went through Immigration (show your passports). Then we proceeded to the next room and waited for our suitcases. The went through Customs. Then re-checked our bags. THEN had to go through security again (take off shoes- take out laptops, portable DVD players, etc). The line was LONG and there were only two x-ray machines and one metal detector.

I would check with United, they are now part of Continental (well actually- our flight had the continental logo with the word United on the plane).

If you're leaving out of YVR at night I would suggest getting a new connecting flight!

Well, I called United and without my knowledge, they had already changed my confirmed flight leaving Chicago from the 6am to the 7am (which will give us another hour to make that connection). So, they obviously knew there was a problem. I do wonder, however, when they were going to let ME know they had changed the flight. No email. Nothing from them. Not only did they switch the flight, but it changed from United to Continental.

infoprof56
July 9th, 2011, 11:14 PM
Well, I called United and without my knowledge, they had already changed my confirmed flight leaving Chicago from the 6am to the 7am (which will give us another hour to make that connection). So, they obviously knew there was a problem. I do wonder, however, when they were going to let ME know they had changed the flight. No email. Nothing from them. Not only did they switch the flight, but it changed from United to Continental.

This seems to be the way the airlines operate. I have had my flights in both directions changed multiples times by two different airlines and was only notified one time. If I hadn't checked and had it fixed we would have been unable to make the conection at all going to Alaska. When reservations are made in advance you have to check the flights often to make sure that it all still works. Airlines make schedule changes all the time.

dc4517
July 11th, 2011, 01:15 PM
I'm flying from Vancouver to Newark, NJ (EWR) on my return, but have a stop at Chicago where I have to switch planes but still with the same airline (Continental/United). If I clear customs and immigration in Vancouver, do I have to re-check my bags in Chicago? Or will they be put on the plane for my 2nd leg and I can stay in the post-security area?

wrp96
July 11th, 2011, 02:11 PM
I'm flying from Vancouver to Newark, NJ (EWR) on my return, but have a stop at Chicago where I have to switch planes but still with the same airline (Continental/United). If I clear customs and immigration in Vancouver, do I have to re-check my bags in Chicago? Or will they be put on the plane for my 2nd leg and I can stay in the post-security area?

If you clear US immigration/customs in Vancouver, when you get to Chicago, it will be just like a normal domestic connection - you won't retrieve bags, and you won't have to go back through security.

dc4517
July 11th, 2011, 04:23 PM
If you clear US immigration/customs in Vancouver, when you get to Chicago, it will be just like a normal domestic connection - you won't retrieve bags, and you won't have to go back through security.

Awesome, thanks for the clarification.