On an upcoming trip, I'll be flying from Dublin to the USA, on a flight which has US pre-clearance in Dublin.

I'm reasonably happy (based on experiences) about how far in advance I need to get to Dublin airport for a normal international departure, to cover checkin + security + walking + etc. However, I've not taken a pre-clearance flight before.

When factoring in when to get to Dublin airport, for a pre-clearance flight where I'll need to go through US customs and immigration in Dublin, how much extra time do I need to allow for the US pre-clearance formalities?

2 Answers 2


Aer Lingus suggests to head for pre-clearance no later than 90 minutes before the flight. This could be a good initial indicator to be adjusted depending on experience. Quoting from their website:

After check-in, passengers on these flights should follow airport signage for the US pre-clearance facility. The entrance to the US pre-clearance facility is adjacent to gate 408. Please proceed to the facility not later than 90-minutes before Departure.

This post on flyertalk says the OP managed to check-in, get through pre-clearance and board in 35 minutes. Note that the person used Global Access/Entry to achieve this, and also mentions that queues are longer for people who don't use this service.

  • 3
    Having done this recently-ish, 90 minutes seems reasonable. It wasn't fast but it also wasn't the quickest thing I've done.
    – Fomite
    Apr 5, 2015 at 1:12

American Airlines for Dublin checkin suggest 3 hours and close at 1:15 before departure. I cut it a little fine, arriving just over 1.5 hours before departure, spent a few mins in duty free before heading to pre-clearance, and they were announcing pre-boarding when I got to the gate!

The entrance to the pre-clearance area isn't that far from the main terminal area, but you will need to have filled out a customs form before you get there. After that is TSA-compliant security re-screening, which does have a priority line for business class and frequent travellers, and can have long queues if lots of flights go at the same sort of time. After that is customs and immigration. Dublin does now have Global Entry kiosks, and the new ESTA / visa waiver kiosks, which certainly helped with reducing queues.

If everything went well and you had priority security + global entry, it might only add 10 minutes, but that'd be in the ideal case. Most likely it'll add quite a bit more. In addition, being long haul flights, boarding will start earlier than for a European short-haul. Given all that, I'd say you need to allow 30+ minutes more

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .