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I'm planning a trip from Prague to NYC this summer. There is a direct flight to JFK and numerous transfer options. I've heard that JFK's customs can be a nightmare for non-US citizens and therefore considering routing my flight through Dublin where you can go through the TSA preclearance facility.

Will I save much time by doing so?

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    Routing through Dublin is ~$100 cheaper and I'd say sitting at the gate for 2-3 hours beats standing in a queue for an hour at JFK. But it would suck to find out that TSA preaclearance can also take up to an hour :) – JonathanReez Jan 19 '15 at 19:08
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    Are you sure you mean TSA? Or do you mean US Immigration/Customs? – Flimzy Jan 20 '15 at 6:35
  • To their credit, the US CBP has been speeding up many of the borders over the last few months, I don't know the specifics at JFK. They now often allow for repeat ETSA visitors to enter the lanes with US and Canadian Citizens. Also there's a hand luggage only express lane at Chicago now. – Carl Jan 23 '15 at 22:07
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Being a frequent transatlantic passenger to New York from UK I have many experiences of customs and immigration in USA. I have done both scenarios several times. Because of my origin location, flight time is roughly the same:

  • Newcastle - Dublin - New York
  • Newcastle - Amsterdam - New York
  • Newcastle - Heathrow - New York

What I find quicker by an average of an hour is the lack of queue at Dublin for pre clearance checks. Time I would be using in Amsterdam or Heathrow to browse the selection of shops and restaurants before my connection is now spent pre clearing immigration in Dublin.

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I haven't done pre-clearance in Dublin -- but I have done it in Toronto. It seemed to go faster than immigration in New York or Atlanta, based on my (limited) experience.

But I'd still caution against it: If you hit a delay at a transfer point, causing you to miss a flight, it can be frustrating and/or expensive. And adding an unknown such as 2 immigration checks (Ireland from the Czech Republic, and then USA from Ireland) will have the potential to mess up your trip -- unless you budget so much time for it that you really won't save any time at all: You'll just end up spending that time for certain in the Dublin Airport, rather than potentially in line at JFK.

  • Why do you think that the OP would need to clear immigration in Ireland for an arrival from within the EU? In fact, why do you think they'd need to do Immigration at all in Ireland when on a direct airside transit? – Gagravarr Jan 20 '15 at 10:42
  • @Gagravarr, you may be correct about the direct airside transit at Dublin (not sure, never done that in Dublin). But remember that Ireland is not in Schengen, and that's what matters as far as immigration is concerned - not the EU. If the journey was ending in Ireland, it would definitely entail an immigration check. – Andrew Ferrier Jan 20 '15 at 10:58
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    interesting read here: migrationireland.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/… – EdmundYeung99 Jan 20 '15 at 12:06

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