Clint Lamm, Director of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP)Preclearance Field Office, and Andrew Murphy, Managing Director of the Shannon Airport Authority in Ireland, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Thursday, which allows CBP preclearance to extend service hours at Shannon Airport starting June 1.
The MOU extends CBP service hours from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. local time. Currently, CBP service hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. local time. The MOU also defines a cost-sharing agreement for these extended service hours, and includes commitments from both parties towards future facility upgrades as passenger volumes and operational needs increase.
“The expansion of Customs and Border Protection preclearance services at Shannon directly supports a valued partner’s ambitious business development plan, improves the efficiency of processing international travelers into the United States, and enhances CBP’s strategic plan of hardening our nation’s security against continually evolving aviation security threats,” Lamm said. “We are very pleased that our longstanding relationship with Shannon Airport will once again allow us to deliver exceptional services and improved efficiencies for business travelers and private aircraft.”
“This is a very welcome development as it will allow us to extend our U.S. Preclearance service for both our commercial, and in particular our business aviation operators,” Murphy said. “Currently, U.S. Preclearance in Shannon Airport operates from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, but with the new agreement we will now be able to extend these hours and offer an out of hours service to our customers when required.”
This MOU follows on the heels of a broader U.S. and Ireland preclearance agreement.
CBP Executive Assistant Commissioner Todd C. Owen and Irish Ambassador Daniel Mulhall signed an Amended Preclearance Agreement March 12 that authorized CBP to enter into cost-recovery MOUs with preclearance airport operators in Ireland to assist with the cost of expanded CBP preclearance operations.
Shannon Airport, in 1986, became the first airport in Europe to offer U.S. preclearance services for commercial carriers, and in 2010, the first in the world to offer full preclearance for private aircraft. Today, Shannon remains the only airport in North America, Europe, and the Middle East providing this unique service.
CBP Preclearance operations strategically station CBP law enforcement personnel overseas to inspect travelers prior to boarding U.S.-bound flights. Through Preclearance, CBP officers conduct the same immigration, customs, and agriculture inspections of international air travelers typically performed upon arrival in the United States.
Preclearance operations allow CBP to work with foreign law enforcement and commercial carriers to prevent the boarding of potentially high-risk travelers and air cargo while still providing efficient travel and trade facilitation benefits.
Today, CBP has more than 600 law enforcement officers and agriculture specialists stationed at 15 air Preclearance locations in 6 countries: Dublin and Shannon in Ireland; Aruba; Freeport and Nassau in The Bahamas; Bermuda; Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; and Calgary, Toronto, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, and Winnipeg in Canada. CBP also staffs a Pre-inspection facility for passenger/vehicle ferry traffic to the U.S. in Victoria, Canada.