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CBP’s Trusted Traveler Programs Reach New Milestone with 5 Million Members Enrolled

The US Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Trusted Traveler Program recently achieved a major milestone after enrolling its five millionth member.

Programs such as Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, and FAST provide pre-approved, low-risk travelers with accelerated clearance upon their arrival to the United States. With more than three million people currently enrolled in Global Entry, their members make up more than ten percent of all international air arrivals.

“The success of our Trusted Traveler Programs is a testament to the focus we have had on advancing the international arrivals process over the last few years,” said CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske. “These programs have helped reduce wait times at airports across the country, all while welcoming more travelers than ever and maintaining our primary mission—security.”

Since 2014, Global Entry membership has grown an estimated 81 percent. At the same time, Trusted Traveler Program members have increased by 53 percent since fiscal year 2014.

Currently, there are Global Entry Kiosks in 47 US airports and 13 Preclearance airports where members are processed within a minute. Members of Global Entry also receive the benefit of pre-eligibility for participation in TSA PreCheck, the Transportation Security Administration’s accelerated screening program.

Launched in 2000, NEXUS is a joint effort between the Canada Border Services Agency and CBP. Nexus members enjoy accelerated clearance whether they are entering the United States or Canada. Also at their disposal, and for no additional cost, are Global Entry’s automated kiosks. US citizens, US lawful permanent residents, as well as Canadian citizens also receive TSA PreCheck benefits.

SENTRI has recently celebrated its 20th anniversary of providing US citizens and lawful permanent residents with primary lanes into the US at Southern land border entry ports. SENTRI membership comes with additional benefits, including Global Entry and TSA PreCheck benefits.

For low-risk shipments entering the US from Canada or Mexico, there is the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program. This commercial clearance program is currently accepting enrollments for truck drivers operating anywhere within North America.

Trusted Traveler Programs are one of many attempts by CBP to make the international arrivals process faster and more convenient for travelers. Other efforts include eliminating paper forms, such as the customs declarations form, expanding the availability of Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosks to foreign visitors, and increasing the presence of Mobile Passport Control to a greater number of airports.

The more than 1,300 APC kiosks located at 42 airports across the world are available to all US and Canadian citizens, Legal Permanent Residents, and returning Visa Waiver Program international travelers to expedite entry. Travelers can use these self-service kiosks to submit customs declaration forms and biographic information.

A number of international airports also have a mobile option for travelers to submit their customs declaration form and personal details. Mobile Passport Control (MPC) is an authorized app that can increase the efficiency by which travelers enter the United States. Information can be submitted to CBP via the app even prior to arrival. This app is available for download at Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

Neither APC nor MPC require pre-approval and are available free of charge. The result for travelers is shorter wait times, reduced congestion, and faster processing. With the aid of these programs, CBP officers can focus less on administrative tasks and more on law enforcement. The ultimate result is enhanced security and a streamlined inspection process for travelers.

With the expansion of Trusted Traveler Programs, APC, and MPC, average wait times were down 3 percent at the top 10 airports in FY15.

The 16 percent growth in international arrivals since 2009 has encouraged CBP to take advantage of new advances in technology and automation to aid the passenger processing environment. The agency is also exploring public-private partnerships to help support current and future mission requirements.

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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