U.S. and Poland Sign Agreement to Begin Screening Program at Warsaw Airport

(Wednesday, September 08, 2004)

Washington — Today an agreement was signed between the United States and the Republic of Poland that is designed to facilitate and promote safe travel between the two nations, specifically the travel of bona fide passengers on direct flights from Warsaw’s F. Chopin International Airport to the U.S.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Robert C. Bonner and Wieslaw Czyzowicz, Republic of Poland’s Undersecretary of Finance and Chief of Customs, and Mr. Pawel Dakowski, Republic of Poland’s Undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior and Administration, signed the agreement.

“Facilitating and securing travel is crucial in today’s global society. I am honored to enter into this agreement today on behalf of President Bush and Secretary Tom Ridge. This agreement, the Immigration Advisory Program, will strengthen the partnership between our nations and will also have lasting benefits throughout Europe and North America, including improved security for traveling citizens,” Commissioner Bonner stated.

The Immigration Advisory Program (IAP) is designed to substantially reduce the number of Polish citizens who are denied entry at U.S. airports because of invalid or expired visas or other defective entry documents. Last year, nearly 500 Poles had faulty or expired visas and under U.S. immigration law, had to be sent back to Poland. LOT, the Polish Airline, faced a fine of up to $3,000 each time this happened and lost the economic benefit of the return seat since it had to fly the person back. The Immigration Advisory Program will substantially reduce the number of Polish citizens denied entry upon arrival at U.S. airports.

Passengers who are found to have defective documents while still in Warsaw (who make up less than one percent of all Polish citizens admitted to the U.S. annually) will be informed that they will likely be deemed inadmissible and denied entry upon arrival in the U.S. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers will then advise both the passenger and the airline, saving the passenger the inconvenience and expense of being denied entry.

President Bush and President Kwasniewski endorsed the concept of IAP in their Jan. 27 joint communiqué after their Oval Office meeting. As soon as the agreement is signed today, IAP will be immediately implemented. A team of five CBP officers, with an immigration specialty, is currently on the ground at Warsaw’s F. Chopin International airport. Flights from Warsaw to New York JFK, Newark International and Chicago O’Hare will be the first to benefit from the Immigration Advisory Program.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with protecting our nation’s borders. CBP unified Customs, Immigration, and Agriculture Inspectors and the Border Patrol into one border agency for the United States.

Contacts For This Press Release

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CBP Headquarters
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1300 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Room 3.4A
Washington, D.C. 20229
Phone: (202) 344-1780
Fax: (202) 344-1393