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Homeland Security

Secretary Napolitano Signs Agreement on Aviation Preclearance Security Operations with Bermuda

Release Date: 
April 23, 2009

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano signed an agreement today on new aviation preclearance security operations with Bermuda Premier and Minister of Tourism and Transport Dr. Ewart Brown.   

"This agreement with Bermuda helps us get closer to our critical goal of expanding aviation security to general aviation," said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. "We’ve been working with our international and private-sector partners to begin the screening process before a private aircraft arrives in the United States, providing our law enforcement officers with advance notification of who is traveling to the U.S. and helping them identify and mitigate potential threats before they arrive on our soil."

Today’s new agreement amends a from a previous version, expanding the pre-clearance of passengers and crew on all commercial aircraft to now include private aircraft destined for the United States for compliance with customs, immigration, and agricultural laws. Additionally, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will screen private aircraft for radiological and nuclear threats. 

The establishment of overseas private and commercial aircraft screening facilities is part of the department’s long-term strategy for bolstering aviation security. Similar general aviation pre-clearance agreements have been signed with Aruba and Ireland.

Preclearance of general aviation will begin in Bermuda once facilities and equipment are in place to facilitate the screening of private aircraft. 

Under the new agreement, airline passengers with CBP pre-clearance in Bermuda will be treated as domestic passengers upon arrival in the U.S. Ease of travel benefits include ability to make quick domestic and international connections in the U.S. by having checked luggage automatically transferred between flights by the air carrier.

Meanwhile, U.S. airports can expect fewer passenger delays.  

Private aircraft flying through Bermuda may use CBP pre-clearance facilities to take advantage of the program. Once available, CBP will provide additional information to private aircraft operators on preclearance operations for general aviation. 

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