Friday, November 27, 2009

DHS: Make "EZ Pass" Permanent

The Homeland Security Department wants to make permanent a biometric-based international trusted traveler program:
The U.S. Homeland Security Department today proposed to make permanent its ongoing Global Entry pilot program, which expedites and automates the customs process for prescreened travelers entering the United States.
The pilot program, initially launched in June 2008 at three airports, has since expanded to include 20 major U.S. entry points, including airports in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Washington, D.C. Releasing the program from pilot mode would enable DHS to further expand the program. The proposal now undergoes a public comment period, ending Jan. 19, 2010.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the agency that operates the program, said Global Entry is available to travelers who pay a non-refundable $100 enrollment fee and undergo a background check to demonstrate clean criminal, customs and immigration records.
When arriving in the United States, Global Entry members can bypass lines for customs agents and scan their passport through an automated kiosk, where a photo is taken, declaration questions are fielded and the traveler is asked to submit fingerprints to be matched against those on file. CBP said the kiosk then prints a receipt, which the traveler must present to a CBP officer upon leaving the customs area.

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