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CBP’s Trusted Traveler Programs Hit Million MembersMay 5, 2011 By: George Dooley
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported that the agency’s Trusted Traveler Programs have reached one million members. Trusted Traveler Programs include Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI and FAST.
“CBP’s Trusted Traveler Programs support one of our core missions, to facilitate trade and travel by expediting low-risk, frequent travelers’ entry process into the U.S. when arriving at our ports of entry,” said CBP Commissioner Alan D. Bersin. “We encourage frequent travelers to join the one million members and apply to the Trusted Traveler Program that will best match their travel needs.”
Global Entry is a voluntary pilot program that streamlines the international arrival process for pre-approved travelers through use of self-service kiosks located at 20 major U.S. airports. The pilot program is an alternative to regular passport processing lines and currently reduces average wait times by 70 percent.
Applications to Global Entry must be submitted online at www.globalentry.gov. A fee of $100 is collected via the website for a five-year membership. Applicants must then complete an interview and fingerprint data collection in person at any of the 20 airport sites.
Once enrolled in the pilot program, Global Entry members may proceed directly to the kiosks in the international arrivals area upon arrival in the U.S. At the kiosk, 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.
NEXUS is a joint CBP-Canada Border Services Agency program that both implemented to enhance border security while simplifying the entry process for pre-approved, low-risk travelers. Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection, more often referred to as SENTRI, provides expedited CBP processing for pre-approved, low-risk travelers entering the U.S. at land ports of entry from Mexico. The FAST (Free and Secure Trade) program offers dedicated lanes and expedited border clearance for importers, carriers and drivers who have passed rigorous risk assessments that include fingerprinting.
All Trusted Traveler Programs applicants must voluntarily undergo a background check against criminal, law enforcement, customs, immigration, and terrorist indices; a 10-fingerprint law enforcement check and a personal interview with a CBP officer. In December 2010, CBP added Global Entry benefits to NEXUS and SENTRI members.
A NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST card also fulfills the travel document requirements of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) which requires a passport or other secure travel document by all U.S. and Canadian citizens when entering the U.S. by air, land or sea. Each approved NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST member receives a WHTI-compliant, radio frequency identification card.