Miami’s Six Hour Immigration Line Disaster

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Clearing immigration at Miami International Airport is usually not bad, but more and more instances have popped up where immigration line wait times are stretching beyond the two hour mark.

With many international flights arriving in quick succession in the afternoons and evenings, any wrinkle in the process quickly escalates into longer and longer wait times.

On April 20, arriving passengers were greeted with extremely long immigration lines, stretching all the way back to the gates. In the video below posted by ONLY in DADE on X (formerly Twitter), someone managed to record a video showing the extent of the line stretching to the immigration hall. Of course they don’t show the long queues inside the hall itself.

It’s not clear what the final times looked like, but the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents (CBP) estimated that clearance times were hitting the six hour mark.

Unfortunately this is not an isolated event. With traveler numbers surging, and heavy aircraft arrivals coinciding with customs agents breaks and shift changes, two+ hour long lines are starting to become a recurring theme at Miami. Let’s not talk about what happens when the weather starts delaying flights.

For those lucky to qualify for Global Entry, wait times are generally extremely short as these travelers have a dedicated clearance area, and use kiosks to quickly identify themselves rather than speaking with an agent. Having Global entry could mean clearing in minutes rather than hours.

Eligibility to join Global Entry is still limited, with the program only open to U.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents, Canadian citizens and residents, and citizens belonging to a handful of other countries.

Until the the CBP works to better staff positions during peak periods, I don’t see this situation resolving itself any time soon, especially as we proceed into the summer travel period. Maybe expand the Global Entry country list to ease the wait times?

Featured image: Bradley Wint/Gate Checked

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