DHS inks deal with Germany for global trusted travelers

Global Entry program allows for expedited processing of U.S. citizens returning from visits abroad

The Homeland Security Department’s Global Entry program for international trusted travelers is developing reciprocity with Germany under a new agreement, according to DHS officials.

DHS Deputy Secretary Jane Holl Lute and German Interior Ministry State Secretary Klaus-Dieter Fritsche signed a joint statement expressing their intent to integrate the U.S. and German trusted traveler programs. DHS previously signed a similar agreement with the Netherlands.

Under Global Entry, which DHS launched in 2008, U.S. travelers can sign up to receive expedited processing at one of 20 participating U.S. airports when they return from trips to foreign countries. The travelers are screened in advance, undergo a personal interview, provide fingerprints and pay a processing fee. About 42,000 Americans have signed up for the program.

“Integrating one of our biometric trusted traveler programs with Germany’s will facilitate legitimate trade and travel between our two nations, while allowing law enforcement to focus on the most serious security threats at points of entry to our country,” Lute said in a news release.

The joint program will enable qualified citizens of either country to apply for Global Entry and for Germany’s Automated and Biometrics-Supported Border Controls program.

Global Entry enrollees can use automated kiosks at participating airports to speed their passport processing. Users insert their passports into the kiosk and provide a fingerprint for scanning to verify their identity. More than 75 percent of the Global Entry enrollees process their passports within five minutes, an average reduction of 70 percent compared to waiting in line for an agent, according to DHS.

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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