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Turism&Travel : Travel Community Supports Expansion of “Global Entry” Trusted Traveler Program Between United States and Germany

Wednesday 14 April 2010
The U.S. Travel Association applauded the announcement that the United States and Germany are partnering to link trusted traveler programs as part of Global Entry, a program designed to expedite the entry process for trusted travelers. The agreement between the two countries builds on existing bilateral agreements with Canada, Mexico and the Netherlands to facilitate low-risk travelers into the U.S.

“We applaud this joint effort to increase security and at the same time ease the travel process for frequent travelers coming to the United States,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “Global Entry is exactly the kind of smart security program our country needs and it makes good sense to integrate our biometric trusted traveler programs with those of other countries.”

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, processes will be developed for qualified citizens of either country to apply for both the United States’ Global Entry program and Germany’s Automated and Biometrics-Supported Border Controls (ABG) program, which each use biometrics to identify trusted travelers.

U.S. Travel continues to urge the Department of Homeland Security to expand bilateral and multilateral trusted traveler agreements to other countries, especially as the Department of Homeland Security continues aggressive efforts to improve aviation security in light of the Christmas Day terrorist incident.

“A continued commitment to implementing world-class travel technology, efficiency and customer service will help the United States to attract millions of new visitors,” said Dow.

Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) travel facilitation program allowing pre-approved members an alternative to regular passport processing lines that reduces average wait times by 70 percent. More than 75 percent of travelers using Global Entry processed in less than five minutes, according to CBP.

At Global Entry kiosks, 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 CBP officers before leaving the inspection area.

To date, more than 42,000 individuals have enrolled in the program since it was launched in 2008. Global Entry is currently available at 20 major airports in the United States for U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents over 14 years of age who are in possession of a valid machine-readable passport and who consent to a background screening.

The U.S. Travel Association has played a crucial role in advocating for the Global Entry program, including the original legislation authorizing the program in 2007, obtaining start-up funding for operations in 2008 and encouraging expansion of the program to additional locations and to qualified foreign visitors.

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