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CBP Opens New Preclearance Terminal in Bermuda Following Mock Passenger Trials

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is opening a new Preclearance Terminal at the L.F. Wade International Airport in Bermuda. The new facility opens on December 9.

“This opening has been a long time coming, but we are excited to finally deploy critical new resources and technological innovations to help improve the traveler experience in Bermuda, while still maintaining the highest levels of national security,” said Clint Lamm, Director of Field Operations, CBP Preclearance. “The beautiful facility builds onto decades of benefits that this program has delivered to both Americans and Bermudians.”

The new terminal will include Simplified Arrival, an enhanced international arrival process that uses facial biometrics to automate the manual document checks that are already required for admission into the United States. This process provides travelers with a touchless experience that further secures and streamlines international arrivals while fulfilling a longstanding Congressional mandate to biometrically record the entry and exit of non-U.S. citizens.

This new technology is part of a $250 million upgrade to L.F. Wade International Airport that began in April 2017. The new terminal will be split between two levels, and will include airside and groundside facilities. The updated facility was designed to process more than 800 passengers an hour.

Established in Bermuda in 1974, Preclearance enables travelers to complete customs, immigration, and agriculture inspections before boarding direct flights to the United States. Precleared travelers in transit will not require CBP and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security inspections upon arrival in the United States, saving time as they proceed to connecting flights or their destination.

“Combining Simplified Arrival with our Preclearance procedures will not only help us process passengers more efficiently, but it will allow us to better protect traveler and officer safety,” said Cletus William, Port Director, CBP Bermuda. “This new state of the art facility truly reflects the best Bermuda has to offer, and it exemplifies the strength of the partnership between CBP Preclearance and the people of the island.”

In October and November, the airport ran a series of trials to test the new terminal operations. Hundreds of mock passengers simulated all arrival and departure processes including check-in, security, CBP clearance, boarding, disembarking, immigration, baggage reclaim and HM Customs clearance.

Volunteers were assigned different roles to simulate potential real-life scenarios, from a medical emergency, to a passenger arriving with invalid travel documents. Participants were given a meal and a gift box.

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Kylie Bielby
Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.

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