The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has expanded its Global Entry initiative, a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) pilot programme, to 13 more airports across the country.
The programme, which uses biometric identification to streamline the screening process at airports for trusted travellers, will be expanded from 24 August to 13 additional US airports in Boston, Dallas, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Newark, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Juan, Puerto Rico, San Francisco and Seattle.
“Global Entry expedites the customs and security process for trusted air travelers while helping DHS ensure the safety of all airline passengers,” says DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano. “Expanding this vital programme allows us to improve customer service at airports and concentrate our resources on higher-risk travellers.”
Global Entry allows pre-approved members an alternative to regular passport processing lines. At the kiosk, Global Entry members insert their passport or lawful permanent resident card into a document reader, provide digital fingerprints for comparison with fingerprints on file, answer customs declaration questions on the kiosk’s touch-screen, and then present a transaction receipt to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers before leaving the inspection area.
According to the DHS, an estimated 16,000 members have so far enrolled in Global Entry, which began on June 6, 2008. Global Entry kiosks have been used more than 51,000 times at the seven existing locations in Atlanta, Chicago (O’Hare), Houston (Intercontinental), Los Angeles, New York (JFK), Miami and Washington (Dulles).
The DHS says Global Entry reduces average wait times by 70 percent, with more than 75 percent of travellers using Global Entry processed in under five minutes.