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US preclearance in Abu Dhabi

Charlotte, North...
Level Contributor
1,950 posts
46 reviews
US preclearance in Abu Dhabi

We will be flying back to the USA next month, connecting in Abu Dhabi on Etihad. I believe there is now US preclearance in Abu Dhabi. Will we have to collect our bags prior to going through the US preclearance? Thanks.

117 replies to this topic
Level Contributor
5,896 posts
42 reviews
1. Re: US preclearance in Abu Dhabi

I recommend you go to:

http://www.state.gov/ and look up the definitive answer from the source.

Columbus, Ohio
Level Contributor
311 posts
2. Re: US preclearance in Abu Dhabi

There is not much info available on this procedure beside a 30 sec clip on youtube. I will also be travelling Eithad in next few weeks back to US, once I arrive US, will be taking a domestic connection, will I collect my bags and drop them at domestic counter? or they will be transferred to my last destination per baggage tags.

To answer OP question,reading other posts for pre-clearance at Dublin, they show you image of your bags to identify, so I guess you do not need to collect your bags.

Destination Expert
for Las Vegas, Washington DC, County Donegal, Western Ireland
Level Contributor
62,067 posts
48 reviews
3. Re: US preclearance in Abu Dhabi

I'm not sure what the purpose of the State Department link is? US Customs isn't handled by the State Department, it's done by Homeland Security.

I could link their site but it doesn't really address the OP's question, there's no real information on the process on their web page. Like the previous post said, in Dublin it's done by video.

But either way...you'll be told what to do. It won't be a choice, so just follow whatever process is in place and come back and let us know!

Charlotte, North...
Level Contributor
1,950 posts
46 reviews
4. Re: US preclearance in Abu Dhabi

Thanks for your replies. I figure we will make it through regardless, but I like to know in advance what to expect (at least when possible). At least in a few weeks there will be 2 of us with first hand knowledge.

Level Contributor
1,275 posts
84 reviews
5. Re: US preclearance in Abu Dhabi

This should help.....


Charlotte, North...
Level Contributor
1,950 posts
46 reviews
6. Re: US preclearance in Abu Dhabi

Having used the preclearance in Abu Dhabi, a couple of points for others. The gates are at one end of the airport. If your connection is pressed for time, it is a long walk. On the other hand, they send passengers into the preclearance area roughly by flight. That means there is no benefit to getting to the preclearance area early. There is a snack bar available, some seating, and bathrooms are convenient. My observation was there is no benefit to getting to the preclearance area more than 3 hours before your flight, and you can make it in less time.

I was on the flight to Washington, which was the last to depart. I went to the waiting area with about 4 1/2 hours to spare. Since we were the last flight to depart, we were the last to enter the preclearance area.

The gates are well marked with Etihad staff available for assistance if needed. All in all, it worked well.

Bothell, Washington
1 post
7. Re: US preclearance in Abu Dhabi


Can you share your experience please

Washington DC...
Level Contributor
69 posts
27 reviews
8. Re: US preclearance in Abu Dhabi

Hi All,

Hope this is helpful to all who transit through Abu Dhabi to the United States. I flew EY 275 to Abu Dhabi yesterday from Hyderabad India. Our flight was delayed by 30 minutes from Hyderabad and due to Fog over abu Dhabi we circled the Abu Dhabi Airport for over an hour and landed. Once we landed we were taken by bus to Termnal 3. We origingally had 4.5 hours to transit and due to the weather and circling this was reduced to 3,5 hours. Our neice who traveled with us was going to New York and her transit was reduced to 2.5 hours from 3,5 hours. My recommendations is that you neeed atleast 2 hours to transit.

BEtween the wait for the bus and walk to Terminal 3 it will take at least an hour. If you have more than 3 hours I would recommend stopping at a food court to eat before you go to the gates 59-61 where US preclearence is done. At the US preclearence gates there is only a small coffee shop.

Due to the weather delays on the day we landed in Abu Dhabi they were rushing passengers to Chicago and New York and told us passengers to Washington DC to say in a holding gate to prevent the Pre Clearance area from being too crowded.

To enter the pre clearence area you will have to chow your travel documents at least twice and then enter a securiy zone. This security cone is manned by UAE personnel and even though it sounds like it, their intention is not be rude but try to hurry you. HEre you have to remove shoes, belts etc like at any US airport and additionally also take out electronics like iPad, cameras etc. It was quick and there were several people controlling the lines.

Once youa re through security you enter the US Immigration line. This is just like the Immigration counter at any US airport. Depending on the time and the lines, they may send you to a self serve Automatic Passport control if you have a U.S. and Canadian passport and international visitors from Visa Waiver Program countries.

The APC lets you answer questions instead of a paper custom form and takes your picture and gives you receipts for all family members. . Once youa re done a self serve immigartion officer looks at your receipts and boarding cards and then shoes you your luggage photographs. If your luggage does not arrive you will be asked to wait till they transfer the luggage.

After this you go back to the gate and wait. Boarding process is orderly and when you arrive in the US you do not have to claim baggae if you are traveling to the another destination. in Washington we went through the gates like a domestic flight.

You hear rumbings about the Pre-Clearance at bu Dhabi but the biggest advantage is that all passengers traveling to the US haeva convenient way to go through US Customs and Immigration and not have to lug their luggage at their post of entry into the US.

I think there is a disadvantage for First and Business class passengers which I hope Etihad will fix. Economy passengrs should rejoice at flying Eithad to the US.

4 posts
9. Re: US preclearance in Abu Dhabi

@Shashi b : Nice post from your side. I'm planning to call parents from India to chicago, then another city in US by Etihad. Will there be any wheelchair facility provided by Etihad? Also after US immigration custom check, where we need to again recheckin luggage at Abu dhabhi?

And do I need to recollect my luggage at chicago for further connection or it will directly reach at my final destination in US?

Edited: 08 January 2015, 15:56
Washington DC...
Level Contributor
69 posts
27 reviews
10. Re: US preclearance in Abu Dhabi

shweta,g The pre clearance is a great advantage for your parents. They will not have ti collect their baggage and d customs and then reecheck the baggage. In the Abu dhabi preclearance facility the officer looks at the photos of the baggage and takes the customs forms. When they lane in the US they tranfer like domestic passengers

Quore from the website:

"guests can check-through their baggage to their final destination in the United States. On reaching the U.S., guests will be treated as domestic arrivals, which allows for faster processing at their arrival airport."

Not sure about the wheel chai, I would call Etihad.

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