DHS tests Global Entry program

The Homeland Security Department initiated pilot projects at three international airports this week to test its new Global Entry program for pre-registered U.S. citizens and permanent residents returning from travel abroad.

Global Entry is an international registered traveler program in which passengers apply in advance to undergo screening. Once enrolled, they are eligible for expedited processing at participating airports. Only U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents are eligible to apply.

The Global Entry pilot project began June 6 at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and Washington Dulles International Airport, according to a DHS news release.

Applicants must provide biographic and biometric information, undergo a background check and complete an interview with a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer. Once accepted, participating travelers may use a special kiosk at the airport when returning to the United States rather than standing in line for customs processing. At the kiosks, the participants must present their machine-readable passport or permanent residency card to be read electronically, submit fingerprints for biometric verification, and make customs declarations.

Travelers pay $100 for five years to participate in Global Entry.

DHS officials said they plan to expand the program in coming months to additional locations, broaden eligibility to existing trusted travelers under the Nexus and Sentri border-crossing programs, integrate with domestic registered traveler programs, and develop reciprocal partnerships with other countries.

Such programs represent a growing area of opportunities for government contractors. The activity is focused on solutions for identification cards and identity management, pre-screening, biometrics and information sharing.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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