Secretary Napolitano met this morning with Irish Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey and discussed implementation of a Preclearance Agreement signed between the United States and Ireland. The agreement, signed last November, allows the Customs and Border Patrol to conduct full preclearance of commercial and private passenger flights to the U.S. So, what does this mean for travelers? Two main things:
First, the original agreement gave CBP the ability to conduct immigration inspections only. The new agreement gives CBP the authority to inspect based on customs, immigration, and agricultural laws, making a stop in Ireland on the way to the U.S. even more worthwhile for passengers and airlines alike – it’s all of the inspections in one fell swoop. CBP will also be able to screen aircraft for radiological and nuclear threats.
The benefit to the average traveler is more efficient baggage processing: passengers flying from Ireland to the U.S. can have their luggage transferred from their international flight to domestic flights without having to claim it first. Anyone who has ever flown into the U.S. and then had to make a connection – after collecting their bags, rechecking them, and going back through security – understands this one.
More on the Secretary's trip as it happens.