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US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facility

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The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facility at Terminal 3 (T3) in Abu Dhabi Airport is a purpose-built facility that allows US bound passengers to process all immigration, customs and agriculture inspections in Abu Dhabi before they depart.

Abu Dhabi International Airport is one of only a handful of airports outside North America that offer the CBP facility. Having cleared CBP, guests can check-through their baggage to their final destination in the US. When they arrive, they will be treated as domestic passengers, meaning they will save time connecting to other flights or on to their final destination.

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US Immigration – T3 Abu Dhabi International Airport

All Etihad Airways guests flying to US destinations must use the CBP facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport. Please review the US CBP pre clearance requirements before arriving at the airport.

Important notes:

  • Check-in for all flights to the US will close two hours before departure for guests who are starting their journey in Abu Dhabi.
  • All guests must present themselves at the US Customs and Border Protection facility no later than 60 minutes before departure; failure to do so may result in refusal of travel.
  • Please note that by using the preclearance facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport, your date of entry to the US on your passport will be the date you depart from Abu Dhabi.


After check-in or arrival at Abu Dhabi International Airport, guests on these flights should follow the airport signs for the US Preclearance facility. The entrance is next to gates 58-61.

You will find your gate number on the Flight Information Display screens when you exit the Preclearance area.

Duty-free goods and liquids

Duty-free goods, including cigarettes and alcohol, cannot be sold on board flights which have precleared US Customs and Immigration in Abu Dhabi. Do not buy duty-free liquor or perfumes in excess of 100ml.

Liquids, aerosols and gels (LAGS), in limited quantities, are safe to take on board an aircraft. Each traveller is allowed one bag in order to limit the total volume of liquids, aerosols and gels. Consolidating products into one bag and X-raying them separately from the carry-on bag enables security officers to quickly clear all items.

3-1-1 for carry-ons = 3.4 ounce (100ml) bottle or less (by volume); 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag per passenger placed in screening bin. One-quart bag per person limits the total liquid volume each traveller can bring. 3.4 ounce (100ml) container size is a security measure. Be prepared. Each time TSA searches a carry-on it slows down the line. Practicing 3-1-1 will ensure a faster and easier checkpoint experience.

Declare larger liquids. Medications, baby formula and food, and breast milk are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding three ounces and are not required to be in the zip-top bag. Declare these items for inspection at the checkpoint. Officers may need to open these items to conduct additional screening.

This means that liquor and perfumes bought at duty-free are not allowed through a TSA check, even if they are in a STEBs bag (Secure Tamper-Evident Bag).

Customs Declaration Forms will be available at Etihad Airways check-in counters and on board flights. Guests joining from other destinations will also be able to get the forms at the Abu Dhabi check-in counter.

Service highlights

Department of Homeland Security 'US Visit' Program

Since January 5th, 2004, the US Department of Homeland Security has been implementing the 'US Visit Program'.

This program applies to all visitors. It does not apply to US citizens or Legal Residents. US Customs and Border Protection Officers will use an inkless fingerprint scanner to automatically read the fingerprints of these visitors. The Customs and Border Protection officer will also take a digital photograph. This biographic and fingerprint data will be used to verify the identity of the visitor. For additional information visit

Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosks

Automated Passport Control (APC) is a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that expedites the entry process for US and Canadian residents, plus those international travellers eligible through the Visa Waiver Program, by providing an automated process through CBP’s Primary Inspection area.

When flying with Etihad Airways, you can now use the self-service kiosks to submit your Customs declaration form and biometric information. APC is a free service, does not require pre-registration or membership, and maintains the highest level of protection when it comes to the handling of personal data or information.

Travellers using APC experience shorter wait times and faster processing when passing through Abu Dhabi International Airport.



If you are travelling to the US under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) you must:

  1. Apply for authorization to travel under the VWP using the US Department of Homeland Security ESTA website no less than 72 hours before travel.
  2. Add API (Advance Passenger Information) to your booking up at least one hour before the first flight on your itinerary.
  3. Know the restricted and prohibited merchandise you can bring to the US – remember you shall not carry any food items, including spices.
  4. Hold an individual machine readable passport and a confirmed return or onward ticket (or e-ticket) for departure from the US within 90 days.
  5. Complete relevant CBP Customs information – if required - at Abu Dhabi International Airport on the day of departure.

If you are travelling to the US with a valid visa you must:

  1. Know the required documents for your trip.  
  2. Know the restricted and prohibited merchandise you can or cannot bring to the US.
  3. Complete relevant CBP Customs information – if required - at Abu Dhabi International Airport on the day of departure.

Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) For Travel to the US

Guests who plan to travel to the US and who are eligible for the US Visa Waiver Program, are required to apply for travel authorization online before they travel.

The electronic system for travel authorization (ESTA) can be completed on

Guests will require an approved ESTA before boarding. An approved ESTA is valid for up to two years, and for multiple entries, but is not a guarantee of admissibility.

How the Electronic System for Travel Authorization Works

Log on to the ESTA Web site at and complete an online application. Passengers are encouraged to apply early. The web-based system will prompt you to answer basic biographical and eligibility questions typically requested on a paper I-94W form.

Applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel, however, DHS recommends that applications be submitted no less than 72 hours prior to travel. In most cases you will receive a response within seconds:

  • Authorization Approved: Travel authorized.
  • Travel Not Authorized: Passenger must obtain a non-immigrant visa at a US Embassy or Consulate before travelling to the US.
  • Authorization Pending: Passenger will need to check the ESTA Web site for updates within 72 hours to receive a final response.

An approved travel authorization via ESTA is:

  • Required for all Visa Waiver Program (VWP) passengers before boarding a carrier to travel by air or sea to the US under the VWP beginning January 12, 2009;
  • Valid, unless revoked, for up to two years or until the passenger's passport expires, whichever comes first;
  • Valid for multiple entries into the US. As future trips are planned, or if an applicant's destination addresses or itineraries change after their authorization has been approved, they may easily update that information through the ESTA Web site; and
  • Not a guarantee of admissibility to the US at a port of entry. ESTA approval only authorizes a passenger to board a carrier for travel to the US under the VWP. (For additional information, please visit 'For International Visitors' at

Transit through the US

Eligible nationals or citizens of countries that participate in the VWP require either a travel authorization or a visa to transit the United States.

If a traveller is only planning to transit through the United States en route to another country, when he or she completes the travel authorization application in ESTA, the traveller should enter the words "In Transit" and his or her final destination location in the address lines in the “Address While in the United States” field on the application.

Countries eligible and currently enrolled in the Visa Waiver Program

  • Andorra
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Brunei
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Monaco
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Republic of Malta
  • San Marino
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • The Netherlands
  • United Kingdom

Advance Passenger Information

Passengers travelling to the United States or Canada are required to provide Advance Passenger Information (API). This information is compulsory and is required for the purposes of ensuring aviation safety and security.

The Information required for each passenger is:

  • First Name (as on passport)
  • Family Name (as on passport)
  • Gender
  • Date of Birth
  • Nationality
  • Passport Number
  • Passport Country
  • Expiry Date of Passport
  • Country of Residence
  • Alien Registration or Permanent Resident Card Number if applicable
  • Address while in the US if you are not a US passport holder or a landed US resident.

For further information, please visit

Permitted food items

There are restrictions on food items that can be brought in to the US. For full details, see

In order to avoid delays we suggest that all food items be carried in your hand luggage, declared and presented for inspection at the USCBP facility at Abu Dhabi Airport.

For any further information, please visit the website of the US Embassy in Abu Dhabi.

Valid travel documentation

Your passport is a valuable document, without it you will be prevented from travelling to the US. It is the passenger's personal responsibility to ensure they have valid documentation, which meets the requirements of Etihad Airways, immigration and other government authorities at each destination/departure airport.

To check passport, visa and health requirements visit the IATA Travel Centre on

CBP Customs Declaration form at Abu Dhabi International Airport

All passport holders under the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) visiting the US will require an individual, machine readable passport to take part in the program. Otherwise you will require a visa, in advance, from your nearest US Diplomatic or Consular Mission. For travel over 90 days a visa must be obtained.

Passengers must also complete a CBP Customs Declaration Form at the airport on the day of departure. One completed declaration form per family must be handed to the US airport Customs official. 

Forms available at check-in, onboard or in the Immigration Hall at Abu Dhabi airport.


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