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Fast-track screening for trusted Saudi passengers at US airports

Last updated: Friday, January 18, 2013 12:24 AM
Saudi Interior Minister Prince Mohammed Bin Naif Bin Abdul Aziz and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sign a bilateral agreement in Washington, Wednesday. – SPA

Saudi Gazette report


WASHINGTON – Saudi Arabia and the US have signed an agreement to implement trusted traveler program, Global Entry, allowing trusted passengers to use biometrics to fast track through airport security.

The announcement was jointly made by Saudi Interior Minister Prince Mohammed Bin Naif Bin Abdul Aziz and US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano during a meeting to discuss the on-going partnership and cooperation between the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to promote mutual security and economic prosperity.

Global Entry streamlines the screening process at airports for trusted travelers, allowing customs authorities to focus on those travelers they know less about.

At the program’s core is a reliance on biometric technology. According to US Customs and Border Protection, program participants proceed to Global Entry kiosks, present their machine-readable passport or US permanent resident card, place their fingertips on the scanner for fingerprint verification, and make a customs declaration. The kiosk issues the traveler a transaction receipt and directs the traveler to baggage claim and the exit. Travelers must be pre-approved for the Global Entry program. All applicants undergo a rigorous background check and interview before enrollment.

The reciprocal program, which will also facilitate fast-track screening for pre-vetted Saudi residents, will be implemented over the next six months and will be completed by 2014.

“I am proud of the bond between the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and today’s meeting marks another major step forward in our partnership,” said Secretary Napolitano.

“By enhancing cooperation with the Government of Saudi Arabia, we reaffirm our commitment to more effectively secure our two countries against evolving threats while facilitating legitimate trade and travel.”

Interior Minister Prince Mohammed also held a meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her deputy William J. Burns separately, Wednesday. They discussed issues relating to Saudi-US bilateral relations.

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