Security and efficiency are not mutually exclusive. Rather, they are equally important and equally achievable objectives.
Expanding trusted traveler programs, which adhere to rigorous pre-screening processes, can help alleviate long security lines while enhancing national security by freeing more resources to focus on unknown travelers.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) launched TSA PreCheck in 2011 to expedite screening for low-risk travelers. The move to an intelligence-driven, risk-based initiative helped TSA move away from a one-size-fits-all model. This allowed TSA to maintain high security standards while making the process less burdensome for qualified travelers. TSA PreCheck is now available at more than 180 U.S. airports and about 4 million frequent travelers are enrolled in the program.
Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Global Entry is a win-win for both the U.S. and participating countries—travelers enjoy an efficient, secure entry process, and the information sharing and cooperation involved are good for diplomatic relations and security. There are 5 million individuals enrolled in Global Entry, which is operational at 47 airports, including 13 Preclearance locations.
The CBP Preclearance program thoroughly vets travelers in approved international airports that meet CBP’s rigorous security standards prior to arrival in the U.S. This helps reduce the workload for customs agents at U.S. ports of entry, allowing agents to focus resources on higher-risk targets. Currently, ten airports in 9 countries have Preclearance options and that number is expected to grow.
U.S. Travel is continually working with our federal partners to identify ways to increase domestic and international participation in trusted traveler programs.