A new agreement between U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Ireland makes it easier to travel between the U.S. and the Emerald Isle. CBP Executive Assistant Commissioner Todd Owen and Irish Ambassador Daniel Mulhall signed the accord Tuesday that expands preclearance in Ireland. CBP has 15 air preclearance locations in six countries, including Ireland, Aruba, the Bahamas, Bermuda, United Arab Emirates, and several locations in Canada.
Preclearance is just that. CBP officers perform the same immigration, customs, and agriculture clearances typically done upon arrival in the U.S. before international travelers depart from certain foreign airports. After landing in the U.S., they save time by avoiding any inspections and just continue to their destinations as if they arrived on a domestic flight.
“We are excited to commemorate yet another significant milestone in our great partnership with the Government of Ireland,” Owen said. “By amending the preclearance agreement, we will further enhance our mutual security, offer economic benefits to the air industry and facilitate continued growth of preclearance operations in support of increased passenger travel.”
“Preclearance operations have become the gateway to economic prosperity between Ireland and the United States,” said Ambassador Mulhall, adding that American business is alive and well in an economically thriving Ireland, reflecting the strong commerce between the two countries. “Ireland is growing into the trans-Atlantic hub of Europe, thanks in large part to preclearance.”
The amended agreement allows for continued expansion of preclearance services in Dublin and Shannon, Ireland, including extended service hours, increased staffing, cost recovery, and improved officer safety. The expansion directly improves CBP’s strategic plan. It tackles the continually evolving security threat posed by high-risk air travelers by allowing the agency to work with foreign law enforcement and commercial carriers while still providing unique passenger services.
Pre-inspection, a forerunner to preclearance, started in Ireland in 1986 and evolved in 2008 to a preclearance agreement. Two years of negotiations between the Department of Homeland Security, CBP, the U.S. State Department, the Irish Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, and other agencies, led to the signing of this new agreement in early 2017.