STOCK Zayed International Airport
Zayed International Airport, Abu Dhabi, is the only US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Pre-clearance facility in the Middle East. Picture used for illustrative purposes. Image Credit: Zayed International Airport

Dubai: Travelling to the US from Abu Dhabi? You can enjoy a smoother journey with US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Pre-clearance at Zayed International Airport. This exclusive service allows you to clear immigration and customs before you even board your flight!

Once you reach the US, you will be treated as a domestic arrival and there will be no immigration lines or waiting for customs checks. Simply grab your bags and go.

Pre-clearance also streamlines domestic connections within the US, allowing you to check your baggage through to your final destination, eliminating the need to recheck bags upon arrival.

So, if you want to experience a stress-free arrival in the US, here's what you need to know about using CBP Pre-clearance in Abu Dhabi.

What is the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP)?

The CBP facility at Terminal 3 in Zayed International Airport allows US-bound passengers to undertake all immigration, customs and agriculture inspections in Abu Dhabi before departure. It is the only CBP facility in the Middle East.

CBP personnel from the US Customs and Border Protection are designated at the Abu Dhabi International airport to inspect travellers prior to boarding US-bound flights.

Where is the facility located?

If you are checking in or arriving at Terminal A for flights to the US, head to Gate F two hours before your flight to board a shuttle bus to the facility.

Who can use the CBP facility?

It is available to Etihad passengers and the following Etihad flights have access to the facility:

Flight EY3 to New York
Flight EY131 to Washington (flight number will change to EY005 from 1 September 2024)

It is important to keep in mind that which flight is eligible for this facility is subject to change, and you will be informed by Etihad Airways if there are any updates.

Non-US citizens or legal residents are allowed to use the CBP facility.

This is where your biometric and fingerprint data will be processed, along with other Pre-clearance requirements after check-in or arrival at the airport.

In case you are a US citizen, Canadian citizen or a passenger eligible for the Visa Waiver Programme, you can just use the free Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosk, located at the CBP facility. Here, you can submit your customs declaration form and register your biometric information.

What are Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosks?
Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosks is a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) programme that expedites the entry process for US citizens, Canadians and the Visa Waiver Programme international travellers by providing an automated process through CBP’s Primary Inspection area.

When flying with Etihad Airways, you can use the APC self-service kiosks to submit your Customs declaration form and biometric information. APC is a free service. It does not require pre-registration or membership.

Source: Zayed International Airport

CBP Customs Declaration Form

You must complete a CBP Customs Declaration Form at the airport on the day of departure. One completed declaration form per family must be handed to the US airport customs official. This is applicable for all visa types. Forms are available at check-in, on board or in the Immigration Hall at Zayed International Airport.

You will need to submit this form upon arrival in the US, at the port of entry.

Requirements for US pre-clearance

Zayed International Airport and Etihad urge passengers travelling under the valid US visa or Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) to have all the required documents with them for the trip.

For passengers travelling under the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP)

- Apply for travel authorisation from the US Department of Homeland Security at least 72 hours before you travel.
- You will also need to add Advance Passenger Information (API) to your booking at least one hour before your flight.
- According to Etihad, you must have a machine-readable passport and hold a confirmed return or onward ticket to leave the US within 90 days.

Countries that are part of the US Visa Waiver Programme
Czech Republic
New Zealand
San Marino
South Korea
United Kingdom

Source - Etihad

For passengers travelling with a valid US visa:

- Know the required documents for your trip.
- Know the restricted and prohibited merchandise you can bring to the US.
- Complete the relevant CBP Customs Declaration form at Abu Dhabi International Airport on the day of departure.

Restricted and prohibited items:

US law prohibits the import of certain agricultural items into the US, including spices, seeds, plants, meat, fish, fruits, vegetables and general food products. For a more detailed information on bringing food into the US, visit this link from the official CBP website -

You cannot bring any liquid, aerosols and gels on board or to the US – whether from Duty Free or elsewhere – that is more than 100ml. All liquids must be placed in in a separate, clear zip-top plastic bag for a faster inspection process.

Medications, baby formula and food, and breast milk are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding 88ml and are not required to be in the zip-top bag. You need to declare these items for inspection at the checkpoint and officers may need to open these items to conduct additional screening.