Soon, the process of flying directly from Sweden to the U.S. could be smoother and more hassle-free for more than 500,000 passengers each year.
Today, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, part of the Department of Homeland Security, has announced that Stockholm Arlanda Airport has been selected to begin formal negotiations to establish preclearance operations. If successful, Arlanda would be one of only 16 airports in the world to provide U.S. pre clearance -- and if all 10 airports identified for possible preclearance locations today are successful in establishing preclearance operations, that number would jump to 25.
Upon successful conclusion of the negotiations, all U.S. immigration and customs inspections would be carried out at Arlanda prior to a passenger departing from Stockholm, instead of after arriving in the U.S. For 98% of passengers, the time for screening would take between 30 seconds and two minutes.
“In short, Swedes could clear U.S. customs in seconds instead of hours when travelling on direct flights from Arlanda,” remarked Peter Dahlen, Managing Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Sweden. “Preclearance would greatly improve the travel experience, whether for business purposes or leisure,” he added.
With U.S. preclearance, benefits for personal and business travel from Sweden are many. Swedavia, the owner and operator of Arlanda and nine other airports in Sweden, has a goal of making air travel as accessible, efficient and attractive as possible.
The introduction of U.S. preclearance is dependent on the approval of both Swedish and U.S. government authorities, which is estimated to take about six months. If approval is granted, Swedavia estimates that the building process to put the necessary facilities and processes in place at Arlanda would take from 12 to 18 months.