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Global Entry program to revolutionize India-US travel, commerce

U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Nusa Dua, Bali

India offered membership to ‘Global Entry’ Trusted Traveller Network Programme by Obama Administration to revolutionize the travel and commerce between the two largest democracies

U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Nusa Dua, BaliWashington: The decision of the Obama Administration to offer India membership to ‘Global Entry’ Trusted Traveller Network Programme will revolutionize the travel and commerce between the two largest democracies of the world, a top American business body has said.

The offer in this regard was made by the US in the last month’s visit of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, during which he had met US President Barack Obama.

The offer was welcomed by India, which also reflected in the joint statement issued thereafter.

“India welcomed the US offer of membership in the US ‘Global Entry’ Trusted Traveller Network Programme to facilitate expedited entry of Indian travelers to the US,” said the joint statement.

“Twenty years ago, even 10 years ago, such a program could not have been imagined,” Somers said, adding that Global Entry is all about trust and the ability of nations to work together for pre-approving frequent travelers who can enhance culture, commerce, and global standing.

“With more than 3 million Americans of Indian origin, and with two-way trade now surpassing 100 billion, it makes perfect sense for the US and India to make it easier for our businessmen, families, artists, sportspersons, journalists, and students and academics to travel back and forth with ease to one another’s countries,” he said.

One of the most popular programs in recent history, Global Entry membership allows approved travelers to breeze across the globe, using a ‘quick pass kiosk’ at airports to avoid long lines at Customs and Immigration.

The US Customs and Border Protection Agency is making agreements to allow their citizens to take part in the program, most recently with countries like Britain, Netherlands, Germany, South Korea, Qatar, and now India.

USIBC has retained the services of a Washington-based law firm Steptoe and Johnson to work with US agencies and the Indian government to add India to the list of trusted traveler countries, the council said in a media release.

Under the program, expedited passport control and customs clearance speeds the processing of pre-approved, low risk international travelers entering the US and partner countries.

Its participants scan their machine-readable passport on the kiosk, place their fingertips on the scanner for fingerprint verification and make a customs declaration.

The kiosk will then issue the traveler a transaction receipt and direct the traveler to baggage claim and exit.

Such kiosks are located at major US airports and now some international airports.

So far, travelers eligible for enrolment in Global Entry include citizens and residents of the US, citizens of Mexico who hold a US visa, of Netherlands who are enrolled in Privium, citizens of South Korea who are enrolled in Smart Entry Service, and Members of Nexus and SENTRI.

The program enhances security and reduces wait times for individual travelers by 70 per cent.

PTI

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