Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has established a new Pre-Flight Inspection (PFI) location in Abu Dhabi. Travellers may now be pre-screened for immigration, customs, and security clearances before boarding flights to the United States. Abu Dhabi is the first PFI location in the Middle East. There are indications that another location may be established in Dubai.
Although the PFI operation facility is available for all individuals flying to the U.S. from Abu Dhabi, only those with direct flights may avoid immigration and customs processing upon landing in the United States. A foreign national may be inspected for admission in both Abu Dhabi and in the United States if he or she has a connecting flight. As with all representations made to Department of Homeland Security officers, foreign nationals should clearly, truthfully, and consistently answer questions regarding the purpose of their trip.
The PFI program permits CBP to staff officers at host airports and provides for the inspection and clearance of travelers on foreign soil. A PFI operation is established by formal agreement between the United States and the host country.
What This Means for Employers
The new PFI station means that foreign national employees traveling from Abu Dhabi to the United States for work, business, or tourism may benefit from streamlined immigration processing and may avoid long lines on arrival. A foreign national who is refused admission to the United States would be informed before embarking rather than on arrival in the United States.