The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) this week issued its final regulatory reform plan, which among other things seeks to formally establish an international trusted traveler program currently being tested by Customs and Border Protection to help expedite the entry of low-risk air travelers arriving in the United States.
Maintaining the Global Entry program may save travelers on average nearly eight minutes of wait time per trip using self-serve kiosks rather than waiting in the regular immigration processing line, DHS says in its Aug. 22 plan for complying with President Obama’s Executive Order 13563, which was issued in February and calls for streamlining federal regulations.
In its compliance plan, DHS says that CBP is finalizing a note of proposed rulemaking to establish Global Entry. The trusted traveler program, which is voluntary and requires a $100 non-refundable payment at the time of application, includes a biographic and fingerprint-based background check, as well as an in-person interview.
Global Entry began in 2008 and has expanded to 20 airports. Once the program is made permanent, which is expected later this year, additional sites will be considered in the United States. In addition to pre-approved U.S. citizens, Global Entry is available to citizens of the Netherlands who are enrolled in that country’s international trusted traveler program, Privium, and Canadian members of a trusted traveler program called NEXUS. The program is also available to Mexican citizens and other countries are expected to be added to the list.
DHS says that between July 2010 and June 2011, Global Entry enrollees used the self-serve kiosks over 784,000 times, resulting in a savings of about 100,000 wait-time hours, which the department estimates is worth $2.8 million.
DHS is also making regulatory changes to other programs including updates to maritime security regulations, revisions to Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Student Exchange Visitor Information System regulations and revisions to the Transportation Security Administration’s Alien Flight Student Program regulations, including modernizing the information technology infrastructure to improve vetting.
The White House said this week that the regulatory streamlining plans of the various federal departments and agencies are expected to save $4 billion over five years.