Skip to content

It's official: Brussels airport set to become next Preclearance airport

Sept. 28, 2020
3 min read
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Brussels Airport appears to be next in line to join the United States’ “Preclearance” program, the addition of the Belgian capital confirmed by U.S. authorities on Monday.

The program, run by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), puts U.S.-bound travelers through customs and immigration and security at their foreign airport of departure. Once cleared, flyers are sent to board their flight and then arrive in the U.S. essentially as domestic passengers.

That means travelers can walk off the plane and immediately leave the airport or go directly to another gate for a connecting flight since they’ve cleared customs and border controls prior to departure.

Want more airline-specific news? Then sign up for TPG's free new biweekly Aviation newsletter!

Reports that Brussels would join be next to join the ranks of Preclearance airports surfaced this summer, but Monday’s announcement from the CBP makes it official. Brussels Airport had been under consideration by U.S. officials ever since the agency released a list of 10 potential Preclearance additions in 9 countries back in 2015.

“Precleared travelers will bypass CBP and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security inspections upon arrival in the United States, saving valuable time as they proceed to connecting flights or their destination,” CBP said in a statement announcing the agreement to add Brussels.

Still, travelers eager to avail themselves of the new option will have to wait just a bit longer. The CBP said Preclearance checks would only commence after “the signed agreement is ratified by the Belgian parliament” and government and airport officials “complete all necessary internal procedures.”

More: Salt Lake City’s spiffy new terminal just opened — here’s what it was like on day 1

CBP did not offer a more-specific timeline.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Aside from the travel experience, CBP officials say Preclearance helps security officials by allowing the U.S. and partner countries to "stop bad actors at the earliest possible point in the travel continuum."

Still, Brussels joins a growing list of foreign airports to be included in the program, which debuted in 1952 at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport in Canada. (Toronto's downtown Billy Bishop airport is still waiting.)

Brussels will be the 16th airport in the program. Most are in Canada, where eight airports have Preclearance facilities. There are seven additional cities with Preclearance spread across Aruba, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Ireland and the United Arab Emirates. There's also a Preclearance facility at the passenger ferry terminal in Victoria, British Columbia.

More: Eastern Airlines adds new route to Mexico, will go up against United

A full list is below (and includes one non-airport location):

Canada

Calgary (YYC)

Edmonton (YEG)

Halifax (YHZ)

Montreal (YUL)

Ottawa (YOW)

Toronto (YYZ)

Vancouver (YVR)

Victoria (passenger ferry terminal)

Winnipeg (YWG)

More: American Airlines adds Athens, Tel Aviv routes from New York under new JetBlue pact

Ireland

Dublin (DUB)

Shannon (SNN)

Aruba

Oranjestad/Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA)

Bahamas

Freeport/Grand Bahama (FPO)

Nassau (NAS)

Bermuda

Hamilton/Wade International Airport (BDA)

United Arab Emirates

Abu Dhabi (AUH)

Editor's note: The above post has been updated with the correct location of the Preclearance facility in Victoria, British Columbia, and to show the number of airports that currently have Preclearance facilities as 15.

Featured image by Getty Images

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
    See all best card offers

    TPG featured card

    Best for the well-traveled foodie
    TPG Editor‘s Rating
    Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
    4 / 5
    Go to review
    Apply for American Express® Gold Card
    at American Express's secure site

    Rewards

    3 - 4X points
    4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
    4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
    3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

    Intro offer

    60,000 bonus points
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    Annual Fee

    $250

    Recommended Credit

    670-850
    Excellent/Good
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    Why We Chose It

    There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

    Pros

    • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
    • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
    • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

    Cons

    • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
    • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
    • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
    • Few travel perks and protections
    • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
    • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
    • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
    • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
    • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
    • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
    • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
    • Annual Fee is $250.
    • Terms Apply.
    • See Rates & Fees
    Apply for American Express® Gold Card
    at American Express's secure site
    Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
    Best for the well-traveled foodie
    TPG Editor‘s Rating
    Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
    4 / 5
    Go to review

    Rewards Rate

    4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
    4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
    3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
    • Intro Offer
      Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

      60,000 bonus points
    • Annual Fee

      $250
    • Recommended Credit
      Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

      670-850
      Excellent/Good

    Why We Chose It

    There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

    Pros

    • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
    • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
    • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

    Cons

    • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
    • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
    • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
    • Few travel perks and protections
    • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
    • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
    • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
    • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
    • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
    • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
    • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
    • Annual Fee is $250.
    • Terms Apply.
    • See Rates & Fees