Entering the USA

By | Category: Travel rumblings

annoyed and moaning

© Dan Sperrin

One of the consistent complaints about travelling to the US is the length of time it takes to get through immigration control once you land there. If you can pass through the controls in Dublin and Shannon, why not at UK airports?

Now The National newspaper in Abu Dhabi has announced that the US will install a checkpoint at Abu Dhabi International Airport so that visitors to the US from there will go through controls there rather than in a US city. It will be the sixteenth such arrangement that the US authorities have agreed to, most of them being in Canada and rumour has it that Dubai will be next.

The UK is the third largest source of visitors to the US after Canada and Mexico with something just under 4 million visitors being forecast for this year. Abu Dhabi and the whole of the Middle East will be less than a quarter of that. We have direct scheduled flights from Belfast, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London and Manchester. Leeds-Bradford will have a New York connection in December and Newcastle from November on Jet2. In addition, Bristol and East Midlands have charter flights to Orlando on Thomson.

How many more links will there have to be before the authorities at the US Department of Homeland Security and our airports get together and sort an arrangement out?

Anybody who has flown into one of the New York airports or bottlenecks like Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami or San Francisco knows the length of time it can take to clear immigration. Conducting the formalities over here before the flight will reduce the numbers Homeland Security will have to process on landing and make more British feel like their holidays have started before they arrive.
It might also encourage more visitors as tour operators and airlines will be able to talk about how little time it takes to get through. Certainly there is more than anecdotal evidence to suggest that people are put off going to the US because of the length of time it can take to enter the country.

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