Taipei’s Airport Seeks To Join US Pre-Clearance Program

The government of the United States is presently reviewing Taoyuan International Airport’s application to join the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Preclearance program. This news comes following the September announcement that the agency is inviting new airports to participate in the initiative for the first time in four years.

China Airlines plane at Taoyuan International Airport
Taiwanese carriers will be keeping a close eye on the progress of this initiative. Photo: Getty Images

A positive move

According to Focus Taiwan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) confirmed the update today. An official spokeswoman for the government group, Joanne Ou, shared that the Taiwanese airport has applied to join the program through Taiwan’s representative Washington D.C. office.

MOFA is collaborating strongly with associated Taiwanese officials to push for Taoyuan to be part of the US program. It will ultimately expedite the entry of its citizens into the country.

China Airlines A330
The move could shakeup activity between the region and the United States. Photo: Getty Images

A broader international strategy

These reports follow up on the comments made by Acting Secretary of US Homeland Security, Chad F. Wolf earlier this week. Notably, there will be steps made next year that play a part in the ongoing dispute between the US and China.

“In Fiscal Year 2021, we will be specifically welcoming refugees who are nationals or habitual residents of Hong Kong,” Wolf said in a statement shared by Homeland Security.

“In the travel domain, we are engaging with Taiwan regarding Taipei’s pending application for preclearance for U.S.-bound travelers. With these actions—and others—we will block China’s exploitation of our border and immigration system.”

Eva Air Boeing 777
Eva Air passengers flying to the United States from Taiwan would also be impacted by the developments. Photo: Getty Images

Benefits across the board

Altogether, the CBP states that preclearance is the strategic stationing of its law enforcement personnel overseas to inspect travelers before boarding flights to the US. The program seeks to streamline border processes while reducing congestion at ports of entry to the North American country. It’s also meant to facilitate travel between the preclearance locations and ports unequipped to manage international passengers.

Presently, the group has over 600 officers and agricultural specialists placed at 16 preclearance locations in six nations. Countries with preclearance sites include Ireland, The Bahamas, Aruba, Bermuda, United Arab Emirates, and Canada.

Last year, personnel precleared 22 million travelers with this measure. In total, over 16% of all commercial travelers entering the US went through the program. Carriers operating in Taipei offer frequent services to the country. The likes of Eva Air and China Airlines are regulars across the Pacific. There could soon even be more flights to come. For instance, Starlux is eyeing Los Angeles as its first destination in the US. Altogether, for Taiwanese passengers, the approval could be a significant push for a smoother travel experience. 

What are your thoughts about Taoyuan International joining the US Customs and Border Protection Preclearance program? Do you think that this is a good move for the airport? Let us know what you think of the situation in the comment section.