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YVR -> SEA -> AMS --- U.S. border control at YVR?

YVR -> SEA -> AMS --- U.S. border control at YVR?

Old Mar 30, 2024, 9:13 am
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YVR -> SEA -> AMS --- U.S. border control at YVR?

Flying YVR --> SEA --> AMS (purposely picked this routing for biz class pricing). Wondering if I have to go through U.S. customs and immigration in YVR since I'm flying to SEA (even though connecting to AMS)? I think the answer is yes, but wasn't sure...
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Old Mar 30, 2024, 9:19 am
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Originally Posted by ajcopley
Flying YVR --> SEA --> AMS (purposely picked this routing for biz class pricing). Wondering if I have to go through U.S. customs and immigration in YVR since I'm flying to SEA (even though connecting to AMS)? I think the answer is yes, but wasn't sure...
Yes, you must go through US immigration/customs pre-clearance at YVR in order to get to pre-clearance area for Canada-US flights (unless you have a late night flight out of YVR and pre-clearance is closed, in which case you'll have to do it at SEA). There's no short-cuts for transit passengers.
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Old Mar 30, 2024, 9:21 am
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Originally Posted by ajcopley
Flying YVR --> SEA --> AMS (purposely picked this routing for biz class pricing). Wondering if I have to go through U.S. customs and immigration in YVR since I'm flying to SEA (even though connecting to AMS)? I think the answer is yes, but wasn't sure...
Of course you go through US immigration. You're entering the US.
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Old Mar 30, 2024, 9:22 am
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Originally Posted by xliioper
Yes, you must go through customs pre-clearance at YVR in order to get to pre-clearance area for Canada-US flights. There's no short-cuts for transit passengers.
Ok that's what I thought. I've flown out of YVR to the states many times, and also flown out of SEA many times, but never YVR --> SEA (and connecting in SEA to an international flight). Wasn't sure if transit passengers in SEA would be peeled off somehow.

Originally Posted by flyerCO
Of course you go through US immigration. You're entering the US.
I've flown through Heathrow many times connecting on to the EU, and in this situation you do not go through UK immigration simply because you've landed in the UK.

Last edited by TWA884; Mar 30, 2024 at 5:01 pm Reason: Merge consecutive posts by the same member; please use the multi-quote function. Thank you.
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Old Mar 30, 2024, 9:34 am
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Originally Posted by ajcopley
I've flown through Heathrow many times connecting on to the EU, and in this situation you do not go through UK immigration simply because you've landed in the UK.
Right, but you even stared it in your OP, preclearance. US immigration is done in Canada, not upon landing in US. (Even then still would need to clear, but question would make sense)
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Old Mar 30, 2024, 10:26 am
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Originally Posted by ajcopley
I've flown through Heathrow many times connecting on to the EU, and in this situation you do not go through UK immigration simply because you've landed in the UK.
LHR (like many other foreign airports) separates arriving and departing passengers and provides transit paths. In almost all USA airports, there's no way to separate arriving and departing passengers, with all passengers except international arrivals (terminating at that airport) having access to all gates.
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Old Mar 30, 2024, 10:31 am
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Originally Posted by ajcopley
I've flown through Heathrow many times connecting on to the EU, and in this situation you do not go through UK immigration simply because you've landed in the UK.
That's true. But the UK permits international-to-international connections without being admitted to the U.K. Everyone arriving in the U.S. must be admitted at the airport of entry (which might be a pre-clearance facility) before being allowed to access a connecting flight.
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Old Mar 30, 2024, 10:31 am
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To put it more directly, US airports do not segregate international and domestic passengers as a matter of policy nor do terminals segregate domestic (or precleared) arrivals from departures. As a result, there is no intl-to-intl transit possible without entering the US regardless of origin since anyone in the terminal can just walk out into the world without encountering CBP. (There are a few special cases, but none that really come into play currently).

To OP's case, there are no separate holding or boarding areas at gates at SEA that would segregate intl transfers (or departing pax) from other departing passengers. This is unlike the LHR example where anyone originating from inside the UK passes through exit customs before entering the international departures areas, so all passengers are prevented from leaving the terminal without engaging authorities.
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Old Mar 30, 2024, 11:32 pm
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Unless you are flying on a really late night flight out of YVR, you'll most certainly pass through the US CBP at YVR. Pre-clearing the US immigration in Canada is so much nice and easy, it just feels like an exit checkpoint out of Canada, they will ask a quick question or two, you'll be headed your way and your bags will be checked all the way through to your final destination! So when you make it to SEA, you just have to head to your next flight without crossing any additional security checkpoint as if you just landed in SEA domestically.
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Old Apr 2, 2024, 5:11 am
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Originally Posted by qraec777
Unless you are flying on a really late night flight out of YVR, you'll most certainly pass through the US CBP at YVR. Pre-clearing the US immigration in Canada is so much nice and easy, it just feels like an exit checkpoint out of Canada, they will ask a quick question or two, you'll be headed your way and your bags will be checked all the way through to your final destination! So when you make it to SEA, you just have to head to your next flight without crossing any additional security checkpoint as if you just landed in SEA domestically.
Pre-clearance is an under appreciated service. You quickly understand the benefits the first time you have to enter the U.S. from another country. I've come into the U.S. via Miami and JFK and was very thankful I had Global Entry.

The U.S. may not go through the expensive of configuring their airports and entry systems to permit transit passengers to avoid customs because the are fewer of them when compared to Heathrow or other international airports.
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