India and the US have signed an MoU to facilitate hassle-free entry of Indians into America at selected airports by providing speedy security clearances for pre-approved, low-risk travelers from the country.
India is only the ninth country with which the US has entered into this International Expedited Traveller Initiative (also known as the Global Entry Programme), reflective of the growing relationship between the two largest democracies of the world.
The move would take a few months to implement and will provide speedy security clearances for pre-approved, low-risk Indian travellers upon arrival in US at selected airports.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Indian Ambassador to the US Arun K Singh and Kevin K McAleenan, Deputy Commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection.
"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.
"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," Arun K Singh said at the MoU signing ceremony.
He said strengthening people-to-people ties between the two countries has been at the very core of Prime Minister's vision of India's bilateral relationship with the US.
"In the last two years, several initiatives have been taken by the Government of India for easing travel from the United States to India, which includes issuance of long term visas and introduction of electronic-tourist visas for US citizens."
"India's entry into Global Entry Programme will further ease travel between our two countries and strengthen people-to-people ties," Singh said.
The US is home to more than three million Indian-origin people who continue to maintain deep-rooted links with India, he said.
"We see that more than a million of our citizens, from all walks of life - professionals, businesspersons, tourists and students - are travelling in both directions every year. This initiative will bring direct benefit to these travellers," he added.
Currently, Global Entry Programme is available at more than 40 US airports and 12 pre-clearance locations. More than 1.8 million people are enrolled in Global Entry and approximately 50,000 new applications for the programme are filed every month.
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