Most passengers from the UK that have travelled to the USA recently will have noticed a significant wait time on arrival to clear immigration control.
However, plans are afoot for US immigration officials to undertake a pre-screening of US-bound passengers at Heathrow and Manchester airports, to ease the waiting times that passengers currently face. Once cleared, the passengers will be treated as US domestic arrivals, significantly reducing their wait time on arrival at the airport. The purported aim of the new scheme would be to improve the public perception of US immigration with a view to increase tourism to the USA.
US Customs and Immigration Officials will have the power to decide if the passenger will be permitted entry to the USA. However, US officials admit that these plans will take at least two years to be implemented in the UK, and British Airways have commented that they would want to see clear service standards agreed to before the scheme is finalised.
Currently, those who fly to New York from London City Airport, on British Airways Club World, experience a similar service. These passengers are cleared by US Customs and Immigration on a refuelling stop at Shannon Airport.
We will closely monitor the progress of the new scheme and provide further updates as they occur.
Should you require any further advice on US immigration then please do not hesitate to contact us.