SINGAPORE: Frequent travellers to the United States will soon be able to clear immigration checks faster with the launch of the US-Singapore Trusted Traveller Programme (TTP) on Monday (Jun 27).
The initiative allows eligible citizens of Singapore and the US to enjoy immigration clearance via automated clearance kiosks at the major traveller entry points into both countries, said Singapore's Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) in a news release.
Under the programme, Singaporeans can enrol in the US' Global Entry Programme, which will allow them to use automated kiosks when they enter the country, meaning they can bypass the regular passport control queues at 47 US airports and 13 pre-clearance locations.
The TTP is part of the Global Entry Programme, and Singapore is the first ASEAN country to be given access to the programme.
Apart from being able to use the automated kiosks, Singaporeans on the Global Entry Programme will also be eligible for the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) PreCheck scheme, which allows them to receive expedited security screening when departing from a US airport.
Travellers from the US can also get faster immigration clearance at Singapore's checkpoints via ICA's enhanced Immigration Automated Clearance System.
Singapore passport holders who meet the eligibility criteria for the TTP may make an online application via the Global Entry Programme website. After an application has been submitted and processed, successful applicants will need to go for an in-person interview at the US embassy in Singapore.
These interviews will be scheduled every Wednesday, according to Commissioner of the US Customs and Border Protection R. Gil Kerlikowske.
“We will enroll people on Wednesdays but if we find we have more people than that to accommodate, we will increase the number of days but we can also fly out teams of our people to go to some of the larger companies, and larger organisations, and do special enrollments for them, because we want to make this as convenient for the citizens of Singapore as possible,” he said.
Infrequent travellers to the US are also welcome to apply to the programme, he added.
It will cost US$100 to apply for the Global Entry Programme, and membership in the programme lasts five years.
Similarly, eligible US passport holders aged six and above with a valid membership in the Global Entry Programme may apply online with the ICA. They must have travelled to Singapore at least 3 times in the past 12 months.
They will also be required to complete their enrolment procedures in person in Singapore. Channel NewsAsia understands the process could be as quick as one week, but this is on a case-by-case basis. They will also not be required to pay.
Speaking at the TTP's launch, Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Amrin Amin said the programme underscores the strong bilateral ties between Singapore and the US.
"The TTP is a win-win proposition for our countries. Citizens from both Singapore and the US will enjoy greater convenience at the checkpoints, while border authorities of both counties will achieve strengthened border security and better work efficiencies," he added.