US Preclearance in Ireland allows US-bound passengers to clear all US entry controls (immigration, customs and agriculture) prior to departure, such that on arrival there they have the same status as passengers arriving from a US domestic airport and thus face no further entry controls. The US Preclearance facility is a very valuable arrangement for Ireland, as well as being of benefit to the United States.
The Aviation (Preclearance) Act 2009 (No. 16 of 2009) gives effect to the Ireland - US Preclearance Agreement. The Act confirms that nothing in the agreement diminishes the rights enjoyed by individuals under the Constitution and laws of Ireland or the United States of America. It provides, inter alia, for the duties and responsibilities of travellers, the functions of preclearance officers, the functions of Irish law enforcement officers in the preclearance area, restricted access to the area and seizure of certain goods.
The preclearance facility is within Irish jurisdiction and the laws of Ireland apply at all times. US preclearance officers are not considered law enforcement officers. The only law enforcement officers at Irish Airports are An Garda Síochána and Customs Officers.
Eligibility for admission to the US is determined by CBP officials. Ineligibility may be determined on a number of grounds. Travellers avail of the facility of preclearance on a consensual basis. Until their flight departs, passengers remain in Irish legal jurisdiction and have the right to withdraw from the preclearance process at any time.
The National Aviation Policy for Ireland, 2015 (NAP) recognises the benefits of US preclearance in Ireland from an aviation perspective. It facilitates connectivity, which in turn supports the FDI and tourism sectors which underpin the Irish economy. The NAP establishes an objective that all US bound flights from Dublin and Shannon Airports wishing to do so can be pre-cleared. The NAP undertakes to maintain close links with the US authorities to ensure the continued delivery and development of preclearance facilities at the airports.
Dublin and Shannon Airports are the only preclearance locations in Europe and two of only three locations outside Canada and the Caribbean (the other facility is in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates).