UK to push for US pre-clearance customs and immigration checks at Belfast International

Belfast pre-clearance immigration checks
By Linsey McNeill
01/02/2024
Home » UK to push for US pre-clearance customs and immigration checks at Belfast International

The UK Government is to discuss with the US the possibility of introducing pre-clearance customs and immigration checks for passengers travelling on direct flights from Belfast International Airport.

It is hoping the measure could be introduced ahead of the planned launch of the first direct flights by start-up low fares airline Fly Atlantic in spring 2025.

Fly Atlantic’s founder and Chief Executive Andrew Pyne wrote to the UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak last June requesting the facility, which is already in place in Dublin and Shannon over the border in the Republic of Ireland.

He said early agreement on pre-clearance checks would ‘help engage investors and facilitate our 2025 launch and commercial success’.

There are currently no direct non-stop US flights from Northern Ireland, but the UK Government announced its intentional to enter into ‘exploratory talks’ with the US on the options for pre-clearance checks at Belfast International in a document titled ‘Safeguarding the Union’.

It suggested introducing such as facility, which would mean passengers could avoid checks on arrival in the States after long transatlantic flights, could be part of its strategy to strengthen Northern Ireland’s place within the Union.

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