File photo of an officer with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection demonstrating a new arrivals processing kiosk at Newark International Airport August 24, 2009 in Newark, New Jersey. Officials with U.S. Customs and Border Protection introduced the Global Entry program, which allows pre-screening and approval of travelers and faster trips through customs and passport lines upon arriving into the United States. India recently joined the program. (Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

The U.S. has started rolling out for India, its Global Entry program which allows for expedited clearance of pre-approved, low-risk travelers. Indian Ambassador to the U.S. Navtej Sarna became the first Indian national to enroll in the program, July 3. With this India has becomes only the 11th country whose citizens are eligible to enroll in the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) initiative, writes Lalit K. Jha.

On landing at select airports, the program members enter the United States through automatic kiosks, instead of queueing up to clear the immigration by meeting an immigration officer.

At these airports, the members proceed to the Global Entry kiosks, present their machine-readable passport or U.S. permanent resident card, place their fingerprints on the scanner for fingerprint verification and complete a customs declaration.

The kiosk then issues the traveler a transaction receipt and directs him or her to the baggage claim and the exit.

Travelers must be pre-approved for the Global Entry program. All applicants undergo a rigorous background check and in-person interview before enrolment, the CBP website says.

“CBP is excited to offer our flagship Trusted Traveler program to Indian citizens,” said Kevin McAleenan, Acting Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

“By expanding Global Entry eligibility, CBP is transforming the international arrivals process, making it more secure, efficient and welcoming, for the millions of Indian citizens who visit the United States each year,” he said.

Global Entry is currently available at 53 U.S. airports and 15 pre-clearance locations.

It is now available to U.S. citizens, Green Card holders and nationals from Argentina, Colombia, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands, Panama, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, besides India.

Canadian citizens and residents enrolled in NEXUS may also use the Global Entry kiosks.

The NEXUS program allows pre-screened travelers expedited processing when entering the United States and Canada.