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Customs Wait Times Reach Record Highs

How long does it take to clear Immigration and Customs at Miami International Airport?

Up to 4.7 hours, according to a new report by the U.S. Travel Association, a trade group charged with promoting travel to the U.S.

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Peak processing time at New York's JFK Airport was almost as long, at 4.5 hours. It was 3.8 hours at Chicago O'Hare, 3.3 hours at Los Angeles International, and 2.9 at Washington Dulles.

The report points out the depressive effect of such bottlenecks on tourism and calls on the government to hire 3,500 more Customs officials to cut peak wait times by 50 percent, and reduce average wait times below 30 minutes.

Although the report's focus is on the experience of foreign nationals visiting the U.S., the wait times cited were for both tourists and U.S. citizens returning home.

And with budget pressures making increased hiring improbable in the near future, the situation will likely get worse before it gets better.

Global Entry, anyone?

Reader Reality Check

How long have you waited to reenter the country?

This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.

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