How long to get thru customs?


Silver Member
Picking up travelers tomorrow. How long (average) does it take for them to get thru customs? Trying to figure out when to get to the airport.

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Are they US Citizens?
As a non US Citizen I was 3 hours last time at DFW.

Does their exit airport have pre-clearance like Canada, Ireland, Some Middle East airports?


Platinum Member
Customs at DFW is like traffic on the Tollway, if they come in at rush hour, it could take 45 mins to an hour, if they are coming in during off peak times, then it will be pretty quick 20 mins or so
Under 45 mins then. This will make you laugh... its quicker for non US Citizens, if pre clearance....did you know Saudi Arabia to DFW is an internal US flight when it starts..
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Whoops, i meant Qatar, Doha...Not Saudi Arabia...that is classed an internal flight. All you do when you land at DFW is pick up you hold luggage if any
If they are in first/business class, it will be faster.
Not totally true. There was no priority for us last year coming back in from Costa Rica. Because of the time of day, multiple international flights were coming in, etc, it took us 2-3 hours to clear customs. Seemed that the non-citizen line was moving much faster.

When we got back from Argentina a few years ago it was a breeze, but we returned at 5am and beat the morning rush.

Just depends on the time of day and number of flights all coming in at the same time.

Next time we plan an international trip, I am going to apply for Global entry. Seems totally worth the $100 (or whatever it is) to walk right up and avoid the whole mess. I forgot about doing that last year and was kicking myself for it.

I'd have them call you when they land and get a look at the line. If it is short, head over, if they tell you it is wrapped up worse than the most popular ride at WDW, tell them to call you when they are getting close to the front. They will still need to get their luggage and go through another line.


Silver Member
Oh holy heck, sounds like it's wildly variable! Thanks all. He's going to call when they land around 1:30 or 2 today.

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Double Platinum
They have to go through customs when coming back into the country. As people have mentioned above, some airports have US Customs agents there to check you before you board the flight back to the US. Everyone else has to go through customs when you land at DFW.

You really just need to figure out if they already went through customs in Amsterdam before boarding.
Nope that wouldn't be Saudi or Qatar. The pre clearance facility is built in Abu Dhabi - similar to what you see in Canada, Aruba and some other Caribbean islands. Right now there are no nonstop flights from Abu Dhabi to Dallas so this doesn't even apply at DFW - starting in Dec '2014 a non stop flight starts between DFW and Abu Dhabi

Whoops, i meant Qatar, Doha...Not Saudi Arabia...that is classed an internal flight. All you do when you land at DFW is pick up you hold luggage if any