Posted June 9th, 2011, 08:43 PM
Last edited by scottbee; June 9th, 2011 at 08:47 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
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....
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