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According to this answer (and many others I've read), there are US customs officers on Canadian soil.

What about the reciprocal (Canadian, Mexican, Japanese, etc)?

  • i do not think they have any foreign customs agents, it's like using the feet and Fahrenheit, no one else does.. – Nean Der Thal Jun 15 at 18:12
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    @NeanDerThal The US allows foreign customs and immigration agents, it's just that no country with a reciprocal agreement (i.e., Canada; I don't know about the others) has actually wanted to send them. – phoog Jun 15 at 18:37
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    Actually, U.K. does have Border Force in France. I was checked by them before getting on the ferry at Coquelles. Since I did not talk to any customs people on landing, I assume the folks in France did that also. – WGroleau Jun 15 at 19:13
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    @WGroleau: Citizenship is irrelevant for customs. – Henning Makholm Jun 15 at 19:51
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    @RonJohn I assume the passenger numbers for people flying from Canada to the US are roughly the same as people flying from the US to Canada (there isn't a great southward migration of Canadians or a large number of people flying unusual routes like Toronto-New York-London-Toronto). But flights into Canada come from a large number of US airports, while flights into the US mainly come from a few Canadian airports. – Zach Lipton Jun 15 at 20:35
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There are no preclearance facilities in the US for other counties. It would be possible to have them with appropriate facilities and negotiations over legal and logistical arrangements. For instance, the US-Canada preclearance agreement is reciprocal; it contemplates Canadian preclearance could be sited at 13+ US airports, though that part of the agreement has not been implemented.

There would be hurdles to doing so, including designating airport space for the facility, arranging the airport to have a secure area for preclearance flights to arrive/depart so that precleared passengers are segregated, costs, etc... One difference is georgraphy: the US can cover most flights from Canada to the US with nine preclearance locations in Canadian airports, while Air Canada/Air Canada Express/Air Canada Rouge alone has flights from dozens of US airports. Unless air routes were massively reconfigured in favor of connecting flights, Canada would need a prohibitively large number of preclearance facilities to cover even a majority of inbound flights from the US, and many of those would only be open for 1-2 flights a day, some just seasonally.

Some embassies and consulates in the US may have a customs attaché present, which I suppose is a type of customs agent on US soil. They would be more involved with providing advice on imports, trade facilitation, and security, but not the actual inspection of inbound travelers.

The arrangement of having foreign immigration and customs controls before departure is sometimes known as juxtaposed controls, and they are used in a few other parts of the world, including cross-English Channel routes in the UK, France, and Belgium (+the Netherlands in the future), Singapore, Malaysia, and (avoiding a political debate, we'll just say for some definitions of "foreign") Hong Kong and China.

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    Canada could put agents in some subset of US airports, but another element of the analysis is probably that there aren't many (any?) Canadian airports that lack immigration facilities to which anyone wants to fly from the US. One benefit of US preclearance in Canada is routes between Canada and airports such as La Guardia that aren't set up to serve international traffic, but the reciprocal situation does not (as far as I know) exist. If it does exist, there's probably not enough volume or demand to justify the cost of stationing officers abroad. – phoog Jun 15 at 18:41
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    The Singapore to Malaysia example is only for trains, but is relevant to this question as it is unidirectional--returning to Singapore requires separate clearance in each country. – John Zwinck Jun 16 at 1:32
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    @phoog OK but the US has pre-clearance in Ireland, the Middle East, etc, for long-haul flights to airports that handle significant amounts of international traffic. I don't think that allowing international flights into mostly-domestic airports is the driving factor behind pre-clearance. – David Richerby Jun 16 at 11:56
  • @DavidRicherby not the only one, surely, but it seems to be a significant one. I wouldn't be surprised if it had been the more important one in the beginning. – phoog Jun 16 at 16:13

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