Toronto Pearson International Airport is a gateway to North America that nearly 10 million people use each year to travel to and from the United States. The airport, Canada’s largest and busiest, provides a vital link that cements the economic relationship between the United States and Canada.In large measure, that success is because of preclearance, a program that makes it possible for travellers to clear U.S. customs and immigration processes and get advance approval to enter the United States before boarding their flights to 46 destinations around the country. Preclearance is implemented by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to facilitate travellers to the U.S. in accordance with U.S. immigration and customs laws.
In the nearly 60 years since it was first put in place, preclearance has helped boost traffic from Toronto Pearson into the United States and has been a major factor in the more than doubling of U.S. exports to Canada – a key to economic growth and the protection of American jobs. It is particularly important for the dozens of U.S. cities whose airports do not have their own U.S. CBP facilities and, without preclearance made possible by CBP’s presence at Toronto Pearson, would lose non-stop air service from Canada’s largest city and financial capital.
Annually, CBP processes approximately 4.5 million passengers through Toronto Pearson, including more than one million passengers travelling to U.S. airports with limited or no CBP facilities. Cities like Columbus, Milwaukee, Nashville and Richmond rely on direct flights to Toronto to protect their international business relationships and tourism industries. Without preclearance, business and other travellers would be forced to connect through U.S. hub airports that have a CBP presence, adding pressure to already over-burdened airports, and making travel to the U.S. more time-consuming and expensive.