Thank you. I’m pleased to be here in Singapore.
It’s easy to see why Changi Airport is consistently voted to be the world’s best airport in both consumer and industry polls. With all the great amenities and attractions – dozens of restaurants, movie theaters, amazing gardens, art exhibitions, and a spa – it’s probably the one airport in the world where travelers secretly hope for flight delays!
I’d like to thank Parliamentary Secretary Amin for his attendance. I’d also like to thank Clarence Yeo, Commissioner of the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA). ICA is a valued and trusted partner in travel security and enforcement and intelligence sharing. Finally, I’d like to thank Ambassador Kirk Wagar for his hospitality and support for CBP and Global Entry.
Last year, Singapore celebrated 50 years of independence – and this year marks the 50th anniversary of formal diplomatic relations between the United States and Singapore.
And today is an important milestone as we jointly launch Global Entry here in Singapore.
Singapore will become the 7th country – and the second country in Asia – whose citizens will be eligible to enroll in Global Entry.
Singapore is a significant source of foreign tourists who visit the U.S. each year, and Singapore began participating in the Visa Waiver Program in August of 1999. The Visa Waiver Program allows citizens of 38 countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for up to 90 days without having to obtain a visa.
According to Visa’s Global Travel Intentions Survey 2015, Singaporeans go abroad an average of three times a year—tying with those from China as the most frequent travelers in the Asia-Pacific. In Fiscal Year 2015, nearly 125,000 Singaporeans visited the United States, and nearly 7,000 of them visited four or more times.
The U.S. travel and tourism industry is an important industry – in fact, it accounts for about 8 percent of America’s GDP, and we see the ASEAN market as a prime opportunity for growth. And ASEAN visitors to the U.S. increased by 8 percent in 2015 compared to the previous year.
Global Entry is truly the flagship of our Trusted Traveler programs, which now have nearly 5 million members. Global Entry membership alone reached the 3 million mark earlier this month.
And the program is becoming increasingly useful and important as international travel volumes continue to rise: more than 112 million international travelers arrived at U.S. airports during Fiscal Year 2015. That’s an increase of more than 5 percent from Fiscal Year 2014.
And over the next five years, international travel is projected to increase at an annual rate of around 4 percent. This is a conservative estimate, as international air arrivals this year are already up by 7 percent compared to this time last year.
Global Entry is truly transforming the way we do business to serve our travel stakeholders as well as secure our border. Thanks to Global Entry, CBP officers can shift their focus from low-risk travelers and concentrate on our law enforcement mission. This is because Global Entry members pass a rigorous security screening in order to be designated as a low-risk traveler, helping us lower risk and increase security. Once approved, Global Entry members get to use automated kiosks, bypassing regular passport control queues when entering the United States.
And Global Entry members are also eligible for TSA PreCheck.
Global Entry applications increased by 77 percent this year, and Global Entry members are able to bypass the traditional CBP inspection lines at the 60 airports the kiosks are located. Currently, Global Entry kiosks are at 47 U.S. ports of entry and 13 of our preclearance locations. It’s also worth noting that the average processing time for Global Entry members at a kiosk is approximately one minute. The kiosks have been used more than 22 million times, and that equates to a savings of more than 360,000 officer hours.
CBP is excited about the formal launch of Global Entry in Singapore. We’re confident that together, CBP and Singapore can enhance security and facilitate travel between our two countries. Through this cooperation, we are transforming the international arrivals process to make it more secure, efficient, and welcoming.
Global Entry is an excellent example of how to strike a balance between security and facilitation – and it’s a “win-win” for everyone. Thank you.