'Global Entry Program' to expedite immigration clearance
India has presented the US with names of notable personages who could be incorporated in the US 'Global Entry Program' for expedited immigration clearance at US Airports. The names include industrialists Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani, film stars like Amitabh Bachchan amongst others The list prepared by India has 2000 names which will be sent to the US for background checks and pre-approval.
Before the Global Entry Programme, US ran a programme named INSPASS in the 1990s and early 2000s. Operated by the US Immigration and Naturalization Service, it was a reliable traveler program which integrated with European and Canadian programs. It scanned the traveler's handprints at New York-JFK and Newark airports. The program was discontinued in the year 2002.
The program would mean facilitated immigration clearance for "low-risk and prominent travellers" to the United States. The travellers would not have to stand in a line but rather head towards automated and assigned 'Global Entry Program' counters at US airports. Individuals would then go through designated counters, give their machine-readable passports, get fingerprint verification before going for customs clearance and collecting baggage.
So far the citizens of the US, Netherlands, Panama, South Korea, Germany, Peru, Mexico, Canada and Brazil (expected to join the program on first half of 2016) are eligible for expedited entry under the program.
The Obama Administration decided to offer India membership to 'Global Entry' Trusted Traveller Network Programme on 22 October 2013. This was aimed to transform travel and commerce between the two countries. The offer was made by the US after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit where US President Obama and he had discussed the facilitation of diplomatic relations between the two nations.
As of December 2014, Global Entry Program was initiated at 42 American airports and 12 pre-clearance places.
The programme can be applied by everyone; however, the government will apply its discretion. Passengers must be pre-approved for the plan, and the applicants will need to undergo a severe background check and in-person interview before registration. Initially, US had asked India to provide real-time security verification mechanism; however India could not comply for the lack of 'necessary systems'.
Significantly, Shahrukh Khan whose name is on the Global Entry program list was once detained at a US airport as his name was on the watch-list for someone bearing the similar name.