November 30, 2022

New Study Finds the Best and Worst Times to Go Through Immigration and Customs Across 34 Major Airports

Upgraded Points recently offered up its newest informative study that ranks the airports with the longest and shortest wait times at Immigration and Customs. Drawing directly on data compiled from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Upgraded Points explored and ranked wait times across the 34 of the busiest U.S. airports, including the best and worst hours and days of the week to go through the line. Both the shortest and longest wait times were found to be non-localized, and are spread out over multiple major airports across the country.

Analysis Methodology

The study looked at 34 of the busiest airports in the U.S. to determine the average Immigration and Customs line wait time at each airport, based on the latest CBP data from October 2021 through October 2022. The results are compiled from data representing security wait times for specific hours at all airports, from which the day and overall averages were calculated.

To rate the best and worst times to go through Immigration and Customs at each airport, Upgraded Points searched through every day of the week to find the maximum and minimum average wait times. The overall study considered all hours traveled, but only offered times within a single time period — from 4 p.m. through 11 p.m. — in its recommendations for best times to travel.

They also determined the airports with the quickest and slowest customs clearance, according to the percentage of passengers clearing customs in 15 minutes or less.

Immigration and Customs Wait Times: Longest and Shortest

  • Longest — Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL): Located in Florida, FLL ranked number one on the list of longest Immigration and Customs wait times, with an average wait time of 31.95 minutes. The best time to travel internationally through FLL is on a Wednesday, between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., with an average wait time of around 11 minutes. Other noted airports with the longest wait times include Miami International, JFK, and San Francisco International, all with average wait times above 20 minutes.

  • Shortest — Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX): Arizona's capital can boast the quickest customs-line wait times in the nation, with an average of 5 minutes. North Carolina travelers can expect a wait time of less than 10 minutes at Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU), while STL, DEN, BWI, and DTW all came in with an average wait time under 12 minutes.

Customs Clearance: Airports With the Quickest and Slowest Times

  • Quickest — Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX): With over 88% of passengers cleared within 15 minutes or less, you can count on this Arizona airport for a speedy ordeal through the line.

  • Slowest — Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL): While 53% of passengers get cleared in 15 minutes or less across all airports analyzed, FLL clears just 16% of their passengers in less than 15 minutes. Salt Lake City International is the second slowest airport, but more than doubles FLL's numbers, with nearly 36% of passengers cleared in 15 minutes or less.

Longest Wait Times at Immigration & Customs

Quickest & Slowest Clearance Times

Wait Times

Wait Times

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