Shannon U.S. Customs Pre-Clearance: Part 2 – Setting Up Pre-Clearance

> | July 23, 2014 | 1 Comment
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Shannon U.S. Customs Pre-Clearance: Part 2 – Setting Up Pre-Clearance

This is a post by author Derek Collins. Derek is general manager for Universal Aviation Ireland – Shannon, which has an aircraft ground handling facility in Shannon, Ireland. Derek is an expert on business aircraft operations in Ireland and can be contacted at

This business aviation blog post is part of a series on pre-clearing U.S. customs in Ireland and continues from our last article: "Shannon U.S. Customs Pre-Clearance: Part 1 – Pre-Clearance Basics."

Now that you understand the U.S. pre-clearance basics at Shannon, Ireland (EINN), there are general guidelines to be aware of when setting up U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) pre-clearance at EINN. Talk with your ground handler – they’ll walk you through the process and explain how the procedure works.

The following is an overview of what you need to know:

1. Pre-clearance setup

Operators may arrange EINN pre-clearance either directly with CBP or by way of their ground handler. CBP mandates initial pre-clearance requests be made by phone. If you work through a ground handler, CBP will e-mail a confirmation, with pre-clearance approval and a time slot, to both you and the ground handler.

2. It’s best to coordinate this with your ground handler

Our recommendation is to coordinate EINN pre-clearance via your ground handler. Have them provide all necessary information to CBP on your behalf as well as assist in updating CBP on any schedule and/or crew/passenger changes. Should your schedule change, and you need to revise a pre-clearance slot, your ground handler will assist with the revision.

3. Revising a pre-clearance

If you need to revise a confirmed pre-clearance, due to schedule/crew/passenger changes, CBP must be notified, and agents will try to accommodate your changes. Should your request for revised pre-clearance fall at a time when CBP is busy with another pre-clearance, authorities have the right to refuse your request. While denial of a pre-clearance schedule change is not common, it’s possible CBP may be unable to accommodate a revised clearance time.

4. Information needed for pre-clearance

To secure a pre-clearance slot, you’ll need to provide a full schedule, CBP decal number, aircraft information, crew and passenger information, visa details, and information on airports to which your aircraft has traveled within the past 24 hours

5. Visa and ESTA considerations

It’s important that the captain ensure that all passengers – who are not U.S. citizens, U.S. residents, or Canadian nationals – have appropriate visas for entry to the U.S. Passengers from Visa Waiver Program (VWP)-designated countries, with Electronics System for Travel Authorizations (ESTA), may only pre-clear if they’re traveling aboard an aircraft that’s a VWP signatory carrier. If a passenger has an ESTA, rather than a visa, but the aircraft is not on the approved list of signatory carriers, the passenger will be denied entry to the U.S. For more information see our article entitled, "Operating Under the Visa Waiver Program: Top FAQs from Business Aviation Operators."

6. Pre-clearance process

Clearance process at EINN is the same as for CBP clearances stateside, and you must adhere to the same regulations. As with mainland U.S. clearances, you’ll not be able to bring in certain restricted items, and crew members/passengers will be limited to 10,000USD in currency or currency equivalent per person without making additional declarations. After pre-clearance is completed, crew members/passengers will be escorted back to the aircraft by 1) two CBP officers who will inspect the aircraft for departure, 2) a member of the Irish Police Force, and 3) the ground handler.

7. Costs of pre-clearance

Total cost of pre-clearance at EINN is about 400 Euros. Your ground handler can provide a breakdown of these fees. Many business aircraft operators find the pre-clearance fee a small price to pay in order to avoid clearing at some of the more troublesome/slower airports in the U.S. and to take advantage of low fuel prices at EINN.

8. Additional reading: "Shannon U.S. Customs Pre-Clearance" Series Index

*Note: Links will become active once new articles are published.


It’s important to ensure that all information needed for a EINN pre-clearance is forwarded to CBP Shannon or your ground handler in advance. Make sure you understand visa requirements, and be sure to update CBP Shannon on any schedule, crew, or passenger changes.


If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to Ireland, contact me at

Later we’ll discuss the U.S. CBP pre-clearance process in Shannon.

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Derek Collins has more than a decade’s experience working in ground support in Ireland. He is an expert at providing ground handling services to business aircraft throughout Ireland. Based in Shannon, Ireland, Derek has unique expertise in the United States Customs and Border Protection’s pre-clearance facility at Shannon, which allows operators to pre-clear all U.S. Customs and proceed directly to a number of destinations within the U.S. A member of the Shannon Airport Operations Committee, Derek works closely with airport authorities and CBP as an advocate on behalf of business aviation operators traveling to Shannon or using Shannon as a tech stop.

Derek, who has a degree from the University of Limerick, can be reached at

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