Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Deputy Secretary Jane Holl Lute and German Interior Ministry State Secretary Klaus-Dieter Fritsche signed a joint statement expressing their intent to integrate U.S. and German trusted traveler programs.
"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," said Deputy Secretary Lute.
The United States and Germany will develop processes for qualified citizens of either country to apply for both the United States' Global Entry program and Germany's Automated and Biometrics-Supported Border Controls (ABG) program, which each use biometrics to identify trusted travelers.
Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program allowing pre-approved members an alternative to regular passport processing lines reducing average wait times by 70 percent, with more than 75 percent of travelers using Global Entry processed in less than five minutes. ABG serves a similar function for German citizens, and joining the two programs will make travel faster and more secure.
At Global Entry kiosks, members insert their passport or lawful permanent resident card into a document reader, provide digital fingerprints for comparison with fingerprints on file, answer customs declaration questions on the kiosk's touch-screen, and then present a transaction receipt to CBP officers before leaving the inspection area.
To date, more than 42,000 members have enrolled in the program since it was launched in 2008. Global Entry is currently available at 20 major airports in the United States for U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents over 14 years of age who are in possession of a valid machine-readable passport and who consent to a background screening.
Citizens of the Netherlands may also apply under a special reciprocal arrangement similar to the one initiated today between the United States and Germany that links Global Entry with the Privium program in Amsterdam.