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Carry-On Restrictions for Certain Flights to the United States and United Kingdom

28 Mar

The United States and the United Kingdom have announced similar restrictions on carry-on items for certain international flights arriving in each country from the Middle East and North Africa.

Carry-On Restrictions for Flights from Certain Airports in the Middle East and North Africa to the United States

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Acting Administrator Huban Gowadia have announced enhanced security measures for international flights to the United States from ten (10) airports. Individuals traveling to the United States from these airports are no longer permitted to carry on electronic devices other than a standard smartphone. Items larger than a smartphone must be checked into the cargo hold. Electronic devices such as laptops, tablets, e-readers, cameras, portable DVD players, travel printers/scanners, and electronic gaming devices larger than a smartphone cannot be carried onto the main cabin of the airplane when traveling from these airports on a direct flight to the United States.

The impacted airports are located within eight (8) countries in the Middle East and North Africa: Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and United Arab Emirates. The airports include Queen Alia International Airport (AMM), Cairo International Airport (CAI), Ataturk International Airport (IST), King Abdul-Aziz International Airport (JED), King Khalid International Airport (RUH), Kuwait International Airport (KWI), Mohammed V Airport (CMN), Hamad International Airport (DOH), Dubai International Airport (DXB), and Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH).

These restrictions apply to international flights from these airports to the United States, not to flights from the United States. Further, the restrictions apply regardless of nationality, meaning that U.S. citizens and nationals are not exempt. Business travelers from the United States to one of these countries may carry-on and utilize such devices on the outbound flight, but should be prepared to pack these devices in their checked baggage for the return flight to the United States.

For more information, the DHS published a Fact Sheet: Aviation Security Enhancements for Select Last Point of Departure Airports with Commercial Flights to the United States. Although the announcement did not specify a duration, airlines were reportedly instructed to enforce these restrictions until at least October 14, 2017. DHS indicated that the procedures would “remain in place until the threat changes” and may expand restrictions.

Carry-On Restrictions for Flights from Certain Middle East and North African Countries to the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom announced similar restrictions on permitted carry-on items for all flights to the United Kingdom from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Turkey. Electronic devices larger than 6.3 inches (16 centimeters) long, 3.7 inches (9.3 centimeters) wide, or 0.6 inches (1.5 centimeters) deep, are now prohibited from being carried onto the main cabin and must be checked prior to boarding a flight from one of these Middle East countries to the United Kingdom.

Reports indicate that other countries, such as France, may be considering the implementation of similar restrictions but have not made such announcements at this time.

As always, Foster will continue to monitor significant procedural changes that may impact international arrivals and will provide more information and updates as appropriate via Foster’s website at and via future Immigration Updates©.