Preclearance is simply an understanding between two countries that lets customs and immigration officials from the country of destination be present in the country of origin primarily to clear or deny the admission of travelers or goods to the destination country.

Note that travelers and goods that are “pre-cleared” tend to benefit from faster and more secure services, and these operations are known to offer a reliable level of security by determining potential threats at the earliest point in the process.

By guaranteeing the fast and reliable movement of people and goods across the border, it is believed that preclearance helps to sustain trade and economic prosperity.

According to reports, the United States (U.S.) has been carrying out air preclearance (i.e. at airports) in Canada since 1952 under various arrangements, especially since unlike Mexicans; Canadian citizens can choose to apply for the status at the border instead of submitting a visa petition to U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in advance.

Canadians applying for TN, especially for the very first time, can now enjoy expedited processing at designated ports of entry put up by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Have it in mind that a good number of these ports of entry, including some notable pre-clearance stations along the Canadian border, are primarily set up to easily deal with the cumbersome volume of TN and L-1 applicants.

While it is not mandatory for applicants to process their applications at these locations, these points of entry offer streamlined processing. According to reports, some of these ports of entry provide a much better track record of approving TN/L-1 applications than others.

While applicants can choose to submit their application at any port of entry, not just those noted for “optimized processing”; these ports offer easy and faster services. Also, while processing will be faster at the designated locations, it won’t in any way guarantee that the application will be successful there, especially since a good number of the facilities have experienced issues in times past.

Best Preclearance Airports of Entry for Canadian TN Visa

According to reports, some of the best airports for Canadian citizens seeking preclearance operations include;

  1. Calgary International Airport

Currently named YYC Calgary International Airport and formally known as McCall Field, this is, without doubt, the main international airport serving Calgary and Alberta in Canada.

It is also the busiest airport in the region, the fourth busiest airport in Canada, serving flights to North and Central America, Europe, and Asia. YYC is one of 8 Canadian CBP Preclearance Airports, however, you need a good couple of hours to check in and clear US formalities.

Information
  • Address: 2000 Airport Road, NE Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2E6W5
  • Hours of Operation: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday – Sunday
  • Contact Information:(587) 232-2157
  1. Edmonton International Airport

Known as the major air passenger and air cargo facility in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region of the Canadian province of Alberta, this airport is situated 14 nautical miles (26 km; 16 mi) south-southwest of Downtown Edmonton in Leduc County on Highway 2 opposite the city of Leduc.

It provides United States border preclearance facilities that help to optimize applications. Note that passengers from domestic flights moving from Edmonton to a US destination can leverage Quick Connect, which helps passengers clear US Customs and Border Protection without any further need to claim and recheck baggage or re-clear security during the connection.

Information
  • Address:1000 Airport Road Calmar, Alberta, Canada
  • Hours of Operation: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday – Friday
  • Contact Information: (780) 890-4515
  1. Stanfield International Airport (Halifax)

Note that this Canadian airport is located in Goffs, Nova Scotia, a rural community of the Halifax Regional Municipality. It mainly caters to the air transportation needs of the Halifax region, mainland Nova Scotia and adjacent areas in the neighboring Maritime Provinces.

According to reports, it was named in honor of Robert Stanfield, the 17th Premier of Nova Scotia and leader of the federal Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. In December 2004, U.S. Customs and Border Protection approved Halifax for U.S. border preclearance. Note that the preclearance operations then took effect in late 2006.

Information
  • Address: 1 Bell Boulevard Enfield, Nova Scotia, Canada B2T 1K2
  • Hours of Operation: 8:00 a.m. – Noon, Monday – Saturday
  • Contact Information: (902) 873-7788
  1. Trudeau International Airport (Montréal)

With over 5.2 million passengers in 2021, this airport is well noted as the busiest airport in the province of Quebec and the fourth-busiest airport in Canada by passenger traffic.

In addition, it is one of eight Canadian airports with United States border preclearance and also remains one of the most notable gateways into Canada with 13.1 million or 65% of its passengers categorized as non-domestic flights, the highest proportion amongst Canada’s airports in recent times.

According to reports, it is also one of the four Air Canada hubs and, owing to that, serves mainly Quebec, the Atlantic Provinces, and Eastern Ontario. On

Information
  • Address: 975 Boulevard Romeo Vashon, Room T1476, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • Hours of Operation: 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Seven Days a Week
  • Contact Information: (514) 633-3203, (514) 420-5151
  1. Macdonald-Cartier International Airport (Ottawa)

Situated 5.5 nautical miles (10.2 km; 6.3 mi) south of downtown Ottawa in the south end of the city and boasting of around 1,170,789 passengers in 2021, this airport remains Canada’s seventh-busiest Airport and Ontario’s second-busiest airport by airline passenger traffic.

According to reports, it was the home base for First Air. It is categorized as an airport of entry by Nav Canada and is staffed by the Canada Border Services Agency. It is also one of the most notable Canadian airports with United States border preclearance facilities for efficient services.

Information
  • Address:140 Thad Johnson Private, Suite 102, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1V 0R4
  • Hours of Operation: 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Monday – Friday
  • Contact Information: (613) 949-3472
  1. Pearson International Airport (Toronto)

Located 22.5 kilometers (14.0 mi) northwest of Downtown Toronto with a good portion of the airport situated in Mississauga and a small portion of the airfield, along Silver Dart Drive north of Renforth Drive, extending into Toronto’s western district of Etobicoke, Toronto Pearson remains the largest and busiest airport in Canada.

According to reports, Toronto Pearson is operated by the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) as part of Transport Canada’s National Airports System, and it is recognized as the largest airport in the world with facilities for United States border preclearance.

Information
  • Address: 6301 Silver Dart Drive, Terminal One – Departures Level, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada L5P 1A2
  • Hours of Operation:9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Monday – Saturday; 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Sunday
  • Contact Information:(855) 866-3987, (905) 676-3477
  1. Vancouver International Airport

By passenger traffic (7.1 million), this is the second busiest airport in Canada only behind Toronto Pearson International Airport. It is well recognized as a trans-Pacific hub, with more direct flights to China than any other airport in North America or Europe.

Also note that this airport is one of eight Canadian airports with United States border preclearance facilities, which are situated in the International Terminal. Have it in mind that all international concourse gates in the airport can accept flights arriving from international and US origins; passengers tend to be directed onto overhead walkways that lead to the Canada Border Services Agency screening area.

Information
  • Address: 3211 Grant McConachie Way, Richmond, British Columbia, Canada V7B 1Y7
  • Hours of Operation: 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Seven Days a Week
  • Contact Information: (604) 666-4598 
  1. Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport

Known as a very viable and important transportation hub for the province of Manitoba, this Airport remains the only commercial international airport within the province especially since any other airports only cater to domestic flights and general aviation only.

Operated by Winnipeg Airports Authority as part of Transport Canada’s National Airports System, have in mind that it is also one of eight Canadian airports that are equipped with U.S. Border Pre-clearance facilities.

Information
  • Address:1970 Wellington Avenue, Room 1074, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3H 0E3
  • Hours of Operation:8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Monday – Friday
  • Contact Information:(204) 983-4354

Tips to Make Sure You are Not Denied Entry at Preclearance Airports

Gaining entry into the US using TN Visa status can somehow be a daunting process, especially when not handled properly. This could more or less lead to a denial or even potential restrictions from ever entering the United States. To ensure you are not denied entry, here are tips to take;

  1. Don’t forget the original support and/or an offer letter from your employer

Have it in mind that one of the most vital pieces of a TN Visa application at a US preclearance facility is the employer support and/or offer letter.

To gain TN Visa status and be allowed entry into the US, you are expected to show an original copy of your employer’s letter printed on official company letterhead, containing employer contact information and a clear and vivid description of the position offered, job duties, and terms of employment. Note that if you fail to come with the original copy of this letter, or the letter is not written properly, you could be denied entry into the country.

  1. Have original proof of your academic degree

To ensure you don’t get denied entry into the US, you must have and show the original copy of your academic degree, official transcripts, or other valid proof of your academic degree. Once you fail to have or show original proof of your academic degrees, there is a great possibility you will be denied entry into the United States and asked to re-apply with the necessary original proof of your degree.

  1. Proper proof of experience is vital

For some TN Visa professions that need experience, you must have valid proof of your experience. According to experts, one of the easiest ways to validate experience is via letters from former or current employers. Have in mind that a résumé or CV is not enough proof of previous experience. You could be denied entry into the US if you fail to show proof of your experience.

  1. Make sure you get a degree evaluation

For anyone who must have acquired their academic degree outside of the United States or Canada, it is imperative they first get an evaluation of their degree to find out its equivalence to a US degree. Most often, if you fail to obtain a degree evaluation, there is a possibility you will be denied entry into the United States and asked to obtain an evaluation first before re-applying.

  1. Have a passport valid for the duration of your requested TN Visa.

Always remember that TN Visa status is only offered for as long as your passport is valid. If you are seeking entry for a three (3) year period, then make sure your passport is and will remain valid for at least three (3) years.

In addition, you will be expected to show your permanent ties to Canada and your intentions to maintain and come back to Canada once you are done with your temporary stay in TN visa status. If you fail to show your nonimmigrant intent, you will also be denied entry.

Conclusion

A good number of major airports in Canada mandate travelers heading to the US to go through pre-flight US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) clearance at the airport in Canada right before boarding the flight, hence the name “pre-flight clearance”.

However, note that you can only apply for a TN at a pre-flight clearance airport on the day of your flight. You won’t be attended to if you just show up without a flight booked or days in advance of your flight and apply for a TN.

Nonetheless, there is inconsistency across all of these preclearance airports of entry; therefore it’s recommended you consult an experienced immigration professional with up-to-date knowledge of adjudication procedures at various ports of entry.