clear the formalities


Senior Member
Hi, people. I was told that I can use "clear the formalities" to mean "go through passport control and customs". Is this true? What does "formalities" mean here? I can't find an appropriate definition in the dictionary.

Beginning next year, there will be a cafe, ATM machines and car hire arriving passengers can use after clearing the formalities/going through passport control and customs.

  • Hi Kacy. I've never heard that expression. Did it come from a native English speaker? "Clearing customs" is a common expression, as is "dispensing with the formalities", which is to say "to do away with social protocol and get down to the essence of the interaction". I can infer what it means, but it's not an expression used in AE

    Formality is being used in this sense (WR, formality):
    formality n(conventional procedure)formalidad nf
    One of the formalities of making a will is that two witnesses must sign it. Can I ask you to confirm receipt of this email, just as a formality.
    Una de las formalidades de un testamento es que tienen que firmarlo dos testigos. ¿Puedo pedirte confirmación de que has recibido este correo? Es solo una formalidad.