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Travelers in different state airports can pass through shorter security lines by joining a federal program that places travelers who pass through an extensive background check under a “trusted traveler” list called Global Entry. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport has just recently added the program.
The Phoenix Airport is one of 24 airports who are actively running the program. Anyone who has had the background checks are now able to go through the much shorter and faster security line, instead of going the through the longer lines where most U.S. travelers have to go through security screenings.
The federal-run Global Entry Program is overseen by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection under the Department of Homeland Security, which intends to create a single passenger processing system that would enable federal authorities to focus their security concerns on passengers who pose a threat, such as those who have failed federal background checks.
Some travelers have been dismayed by the program, due to its restriction and exclusivity to international travelers, stating that the program would also be quite beneficial to domestic travelers as well, most specially to the ones who frequently travel within the United States.
Customs had limited the program to anyone 14 and older, and required anyone 14 to 17 years old to have written consent from a parent or guardian on the application. But it has expanded the program to include all ages.
The application is online at www.globalentry.gov. An applicant also has to pay, through the secure online website, a non-refundable $100 fee with the application form.
Customs will review the application and schedule an interview where agents collect and scan fingerprints and an identification card such as a driver’s license or passport, verify any other travel documents, take a photo of the applicant and collect other biometric information – characteristics of the person’s appearance.
Authorities then check the applicant’s information against criminal and government antiterrorism databases with the FBI and other agencies. Customs sends the applicant an e-mail once its agents have decided to approve or reject the application.
Even after a traveler is approved for Global Entry, customs officials said they run periodic checks to ensure nothing has changed in the traveler’s background that would force them to suspend or remove the traveler from the program.
Global Entry is meant for international travelers, including U.S. residents and citizens who frequently fly abroad.