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    Jun 28, 2016

    New scheme to beat queues at US customs

    ELIGIBLE Singaporeans can now use automated kiosks at 47 airports in the United States to clear immigrations and customs quickly, thanks to a new initiative launched yesterday.

    The United States of America-Singapore Trusted Traveller Programme also allows eligible US passport holders to apply for the use of automated immigration clearance facilities in Singapore.

    Clarence Yeo, commissioner, Singapore Immigration & Checkpoints Authority, said the scheme allows authorities to focus their resources on travellers whose identities "are not as clear". It stems from "a shared interest to facilitate the movement of people between the two countries without compromising security", he added.

    A US Embassy Singapore spokesman said the kiosks can save Singaporean travellers from 15 minutes to up to a few hours.

    Singaporeans must apply for the US' Global Entry Programme.

    Successful applicants can also queue in lines that clear more rapidly - the security screening may be quicker - when they fly on domestic US flights and at US airports participating in a scheme called TSA Precheck.

    Singaporeans applying for the GEP will submit their fingerprints and photographs, said R. Gil Kerlikowske, commissioner of the

    US customs and border protection.

    They then have to be interviewed by a US customs and border protection officer before their application can be approved.

    People who have been convicted of criminal offence or have pending criminal charges may not qualify, according to the US Customs and Border Protection website.

    Successful applicants have to reapply every five years and pay US$100 (S$136)

    for five years.