Trusted Traveler Programs Reach Million Member Milestone
On May 5, 2011, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that its Trusted Traveler Programs reached a total of one million members. The programs—four in total named NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST and Global Entry—expedite entry at U.S. ports for pre-approved, low risk travelers through dedicated lanes and kiosks.
Approved commercial truck drivers (FAST), air, sea and highway travelers entering from Canada (NEXUS), and highway and pedestrian travelers entering from Mexico (SENTRI), all enjoy the benefit of automated border clearance through dedicated commuter lanes.
Pilot program, Global Entry, is currently accessible at 20 major U.S. airports. The program allows members to bypass customs lines and go directly to a kiosk in the international arrivals area upon arrival in the U.S. At kiosks, members insert their passport or permanent resident card into a document reader, provide digital fingerprints via a digital scanner, answer customs declaration questions using a touch-screen, then present a transaction receipt to CBP officers when leaving the inspection area.
As a result, international arrival wait times are reduced by as much as 70 percent because the streamlined process allows pre-approved travelers self-service entry. Once enrolled in the program, Global Entry membership is valid for five years.
Trusted Traveler Programs allow border and immigration agencies such as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to better focus security efforts. They also reduce unnecessary hassles and wait times for low risk travelers. Program applicants are required to voluntarily undergo a background check, a fingerprint check, and a personal interview with a CBP officer.
Various associations, including the U.S. Travel Association, have applauded this milestone and are urging the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees CBP, to expand programs to include domestic air travelers in U.S. airports. In a statement given last week, CBP commissioner, Alan D. Bersin, encouraged frequent travelers to join the one million members and apply to the program that best matches their individual needs.
For more information about fees, enrollment center locations, or to download an application, visit www.cbp.gov.
Page Summary: Trusted Traveler Programssuch as NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST and Global Entry expedite entry at U.S. ports for pre-approved, low risk travelers.