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U.S. customs makes permanent its streamlined entry at airports

February 07, 2012|By Hugo Martin

Federal customs officials made permanent Monday a program to streamline the process for entering the U.S. at international airports across the country.

The Global Entry program, which began as a pilot program in 2008, allows U.S. citizens, legal U.S. residents and visitors from Mexico, Canada and the Netherlands to use an electronic kiosk to clear U.S. customs instead of lining up for an interview with customs officials.

The process cuts the wait time by up to 70%, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

To qualify for the program, participants must submit background information and fingerprints, along with a $100 fee. The program currently operates at 20 airports but is expected to be expanded to more airports that serve international flights.

Business travelers have pushed for the Global Entry program to make it easier for regular low-risk travelers to enter the country.

“Making Global Entry permanent will improve customer service at airports across the country and enable law enforcement to focus on higher-risk travelers,” said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Also:

Friday Travel Ticker: TSA accused of $5,000 theft

International visitors continue to spend more in U.S.

TSA's airport body scanners still raising health concerns

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