U.S. Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Janet Napolitano was in Ireland today to firm up procedures that will see Ireland become the ONLY country to have full pre-clearance for travelers to the U.S.
She met Irish Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey at Shannon airport to discuss the deal which will be in place once the legislation is passed in the Dail (Irish parliament).
Napolitano, who also toured the Customs and Border Patrol facility at Shannon, said she wants to see the new deal in place and implemented by July.
The agreement, which was initially signed in November, means that Ireland will become an extremely attractive starting point for travelers to the U.S.
Travelers will now be able to clear immigration, customs and agriculture in Ireland, therefore avoiding the often long queues in the U.S., while the Customs and Border Patrol can screen aircraft for any types of threats.
The DHS blog says that this will make a stop in Ireland "even more worthwhile for passengers and airlines alike."
One of the biggest benefits of course will be faster baggage transfer.
Currently, passengers originating in Ireland can do immigration in Dublin or Shannon but still need to collect their baggage on arrival in the U.S.
Now, they will be able to check their bags from the airport in Ireland directly to their final destination.