For international travelers frustrated by lengthy airport security screenings and customs declarations, Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano says she has just the fix.
"(Trusted traveler) programs like Global Entry make a significant difference," Napolitano said during a speech to travel industry leaders in Las Vegas Thursday. "The average time at a kiosk is less than one minute."
The programs work by allowing pre-approved, "low risk" travelers to deal with machines instead of people. Global Entry, for example, is a kiosk that scans a passport, verifies the traveler's identify with a fingerprint, asks the person to make a customs declaration and then prints out a receipt allowing the traveler to jump to baggage claim. Travelers pay a fee for access to the self-service kiosks, which are currently at about 20 airports.
Napolitano said programs like these help spur economic growth, while cutting frustrating wait times. "By providing the greatest possible security as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible, we think we can best facilitate the flow of legal travel, trade, and tourism."
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