Dubai: A process that allows passengers to have their United States immigration checked and approved before the flight lands in the US has opened in Dubai — for those who can afford it.
“Starting this month, VVIP customers travelling on flights operated by private jet operator, DC Aviation Al Futtaim, will be able to experience the benefits of arriving in the United States of American having pre-cleared US Customs and Border Protection at its hub at Dubai World Central,” the company said in an emailed statement on Sunday.
Passengers flying with DC Aviation Al Futtaim will be able to submit their visa entry declaration from Dubai to US authorities before departing, a spokesperson told Gulf News by phone.
The advantage is to reduce what can sometimes be lengthy immigration processes in the US. The new immigration submission process is only available to DC Aviation Al Futtaim passengers and only to nationalities from certain countries. It does not include Arab, Indian or Pakistani passport holders.
DC Aviation Al-Futtaim is a joint venture between Germany’s DC Aviation and Dubai’s Al Futtaim.
Last year, the Middle East’s only US immigration and customs pre-clearance facility opened at Abu Dhabi International Airport. There are other US pre-clearance facilities in Ireland, the Caribbean and Canada. These facilities are manned by US Customs and Border Protection officers.
The Dubai government has engaged in talks with US counterparts to introduce the pre-clearance facility at dubai’s two airports — the Dubai International and Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central (DWC).
“We are also looking at it from a passenger point of view for the airlines operating here,” Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation and Chairman and CEO of Emirates airline and Group, told reporters at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre on Sunday. He was speaking at the opening of the 15th edition of the Airport Show.
“We are working with the authorities to determine the size of the [pre-clearance facility] … it will most likely fit with the Al Maktoum International [expansion],” he added.
Al Maktoum International is to be expanded from its current annual capacity of 5 to 7 million passengers, to 26 million by 2018, Dubai Airports Chief Executive, Paul Griffiths, said last week. The airport, located in the emirate’s south near the Abu Dhabi border, is Dubai’s future mega hub and will be expanded to handle 120 million passengers by 2025.