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As only the third European airport, Brussels-Zaventem will enable “preclearance”, i.e. entry to the USA on foreign soil. This offers several advantages for travelers.
Currently, travel to the USA is not possible for most travelers – but it will be again. And what has disturbed the travelers in each case? The sometimes long waiting times when entering the USA, when you have to wait again for a long time after the long flight until finally a mostly humorless border official asks questions, takes fingerprints and then hopefully puts the stamp in the passport and nods to the next passenger.
A solution to this problem has so far been available in the form of the “Preclearance Program” offered by the US Customs & Border Protection (CBP). Under this program, a foreign airport can already handle the entire U.S. entry process (customs, security, immigration), after which the passenger is considered to have already entered the country. So far, there have been 16 airports worldwide that offer this service: In Europe only the Irish airports Dublin and Shannon, in addition to Abu Dhabi (U.A.E.), Freeport and Nassau (Bahamas), Wade International (Bermuda), Queen Beatrix International (Aruba) and the Canadian airports Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria and Winnipeg.
Now another European airport is being added to the list: Brussels Zaventem Airport. This was confirmed by the US authorities last week. The Belgian capital, home to various EU organizations, naturally makes sense as a participant in the “Preclearance Program” and has already been in the air for some time.
In 2016 the CBP published a list of possible candidate airports for clearance, on which Brussels figured alongside others such as Rome, Milan-Malpensa, Edinburgh, Keflavik, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Bogota, Sint-Maarten and Osaka-Kansai. Now Brussels has first implemented this opportunity.
Brussels is, of course, also the home port of Brussels Airlines, a subsidiary of Deutsche Lufthansa AG and a member of the aviation alliance Star Alliance, which is why this new development is of interest to the two organizations mentioned above. However, it has not yet been specified exactly when it will be possible to enter the USA from Brussels.