International travelers will soon have the option of registering in advance to speed their passage through security checkpoints at U.S. airports, thanks to provisions in the fiscal 2008 omnibus spending package signed into law Dec. 27, 2007.
Under the legislation, officials would publish guidelines for an international registered traveler program within a year. It would be similar to the domestic Registered Traveler program that several federal contractors operate at U.S. airports.
The law sets a goal of deploying a program for international travelers two years from now at the top 20 airports for international arrivals in the country, said C. Stewart Verdery, government affairs consultant to the National Business Travel Association. The organization endorsed the legislation’s global travel program provision.
In such programs, travelers have the option of paying a fee to receive expedited service at airport security checkpoints in exchange for providing personal information for review in advance.
The law also includes $40 million for the Homeland Security Department’s Model Ports of Entry initiative, which will allow the department to add customs agents and improve arrival information at the top 20 airports. Information would be broadcast on video monitors, and translators would be available in designated areas within airports.