Washington: Low-risk Indian travellers to the US from now on will experience speedy entry into the country after landing, with India making a formal entry into an American initiative.
President Donald Trump welcomed India’s entry into the International Expedited Traveler Initiative (Global Entry Programme), saying it would facilitate closer business and educational ties between the citizens of India and the US.
The India-US joint statement, issued after talks between Trump and Modi, said the US president applauded the entrepreneurship and innovation of Indians and Indian-Americans that have directly benefited both nations.
Global Entry is a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) programme which allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travellers upon arrival in the US. The citizens of Switzerland and the United Kingdom are also part of the programme, which India has now joined.
On landing at select airports, the programme members enter the US through automatic kiosks, instead of queueing up to clear the immigration by meeting an immigration officer.
At these airports, the members proceed to the Global Entry kiosks, present their machine-readable passport or US permanent resident card, place their fingerprints on the scanner for fingerprint verification and complete a customs declaration. The kiosk then issues the traveller a transaction receipt and directs him or her to the baggage claim and the exit.
The select US airports that offer the facility include all major ones, including New York, Newark, Washington, Austin, Dallas, Houston, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Jose, Las Vegas, Miami and Seattle.
A traveller at any of these airports can clear US immigration, virtually making their onward flight from these places to any American city a domestic one.
Besides those in the US, the airports at Dublin in Ireland, Vancouver and Toronto in Canada and Abu Dhabi are also on the list.
The caveat however is that the travellers must be pre-approved for the Global Entry programme. All applicants undergo a rigorous background check and in-person interviews before enrolment, the CBP website says.
While Global Entry’s goal is to speed up travellers through the process, it does not exclude its members from for further examination which they may be selected for when entering the United States.