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Australian citizens could be a step closer to fast-track entry into the USA with plans for a local trial of the Global Entry program in the second half of this year.
The Global Entry program facilitates speedier clearance and entrance into the United States for pre-approved travellers, and also includes TSA PreCheck for expedited security processing on US domestic flights.
A spokesperson from Australia's Department of Home Affairs has confirmed the trial to Australian Business Traveller.
"The Department is engaged with the United States Customs and Border Protection Agency to develop a mutual understanding of how Global Entry membership will work for Australian travellers with a view to conducting a trial in the second half of 2019."
Both the Global Entry and TSA PreCheck schemes are based on 'low-risk' passport holders from almost a dozen countries, which includes background checks and an in-person interview.
The current cost for enrollment into Global Entry is US$100 for five years, which is exceptional value compared to the time you'd otherwise spend standing in line at US international and domestic airports.
Travellers approved for Global Entry head straight to a bank of dedicated kiosks, insert their smartchipped passport, run a quick fingerprint verification and tap on the screen to complete a customs declaration (inbound international passengers also no longer need to complete an incoming passenger form).
Global Entry enrolment centres are located throughout the USA at US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) offices, with on-arrival enrolment also possible at most major US airports where travellers can have primary processing and their pending Global Entry application authorised at the same time.
It's not yet known whether an enrolment centre will be established in Australia, or any other Global Entry requirements will be modified as part of the trial process.
Ironically the process of getting Global Entry for Australians has been more stop-start than fast-track. The trial has been promised several times in the past without fruition, much to the frustration of frequent visitors to the US.