In March 2015, the governments of Canada and the United States announced a change in import formalities.



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Inception date: No inception date

Import-related non-tariff measure, nes

Following up on their 2011 Beyond the Border Action Plan, Canada and the United States signed on March 16, 2015 the Agreement on Land, Rail, Marine, and Air Transport Preclearance Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of Canada. This new agreement, which supersedes the existing U.S.-Canada Air Preclearance agreement of 2001, will provide as follows:

  • Allow for the consideration of requests for new preclearance locations across all modes;
  • Enable exploration of co-location at small and remote ports, if desired;
  • Provide updates to the Air Preclearance Agreement to better reflect the post 9/11 operating environment, including policies and tools utilized at domestic ports of entry; 
  • Enable Canada to request that the United States regularize existing U.S. immigration pre-inspection sites - for example at cruise, rail and ferry terminals in British Columbia; 
  • Enhance authorities for preclearance officers including the ability to carry firearms, defensive tools, and restraint devices to the same extent that Host Party officers are permitted to carry in the relevant operating environments;
  • Address officer privileges and immunities through a shared jurisdictional framework in which the sending country may generally exercise primary criminal jurisdiction for acts committed by its officers in the performance of official duties in the Host country;and
  • Retain the civil and administrative prosecutorial jurisdictions for preclearance officers provided for in the current Air Preclearance Agreement. 

The United States and Canada must each enact legislation for the agreement to be implemented. In the meantime, the 2001 U.S.-Canada Air Transport Preclearance Agreement continues to apply. 

On December 13, 2017, Bill C-23: An Act re-specting the preclearance of persons and goods in Canada and the United States received Royal Assent. This brings Canada and the United States closer to implementing the agreement. The regulations for the air mode will reportedly be in place by the end of 2018.