Aiming to facilitate a smooth entry of Indians into the US at selected airports, the two countries have recently signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) providing for expedited security clearances. The agreement happened at the Indian PM Modi's recent visit to the US.
An MoU was signed between Indian Ambassador to the US Arun K Singh and Kevin K McAleenan, deputy commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection. This makes India as the 9th country with which the US has entered into this initiative also known as the ‘Global Entry Programme’
"After joint scrutiny and clearance by both countries, the approved Indian travellers will be extended the facility of expedited entry into the United States through automatic kiosks at select airports," a statement said, adding, the procedures are expected to be completed in the coming months. The Indian citizens are expected to be able to apply for entry into Global Entry programme starting August, 2016.
The two important criterion for inclusion of an individual in the Global Entry programme - 1) he or she should not have any criminal record and 2) he or she in any way should not be connected with a money laundering case.
Initially, the names of around 2,000 prominent Indians could figure in the coveted list, which would be expanded gradually after proper background checks of each individual. High dignitaries such as the former presidents, former prime ministers, former Union ministers, few film stars, top industrialists, etc are expected to be the obvious choice for the initial enrolment.
"Expedited entry for the Indian travellers under this programme at the US airports will enable further easing of travel environment, and will have positive impact on all kinds of people-to-people exchange between our two countries," said the Indian Ambassador to the US at the MoU signing ceremony, adding that "India's entry into Global Entry Programme will further ease travel between our two countries and strengthen people-to-people ties".
This International Expedited Traveller Initiative is reflective of the growing relationship between the two largest democracies of the world. The move would take few months to implement and will provide speedy, smooth security clearances for pre-approved low risk India travellers upon arrival at selected US airports.
Importantly, the US is home to over 3 million Indian-origin people who continue to maintain deep-rooted links with India. Currently, Global Entry Programme is available at over 40 US airports and 12 pre-clearance locations. Over 1.8 million people are enrolled in Global Entry and approximately 50,000 new applications for the programme are filed every month.