Korea, U.S. Partner on Mutual Trusted Traveler Programs
The U.S. and Korea today formally announced a reciprocal agreement for expedited processing of arriving international airline passengers. Korea thus became the first Asian country to partner with U.S. Customs and Border Protection's growing Global Entry program.
At a ribbon cutting and news conference at Washington Dulles International Airport, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said that the reciprocal programs, CBP's Global Entry and Korea's Smart Entry Service, "are not just quick, easy, and efficient for travelers; they also help our customs authorities focus on those travelers we know less about, so that we can more effectively identify potential threats and keep our borders and our countries secure."
Calling the event "a landmark occasion," acting CBP Commissioner David V. Aguilar said the agreement "will help us bring our two countries closer together" by encouraging travel between the two nations.
Two million people travel between the U.S. and Korea annually, noted Republic of Korea Minister of Justice Jae-Jin Kwon. "I can see that Korean citizens will have an easier, faster, more secure process when entering into the United States," said Kwon via an interpreter. "Today's celebration is a result of maintaining a good relationship. With this, Korea and America's relationship will strengthen."
The republic of Korea is the third country to partner with the U.S. on Global Entry, joining the Netherlands and Canada.
The two countries anticipate that the reciprocal agreement will benefit both nations economically. "Our mutual intent is to grow travel and trade between the two countries," said Napolitano, "to make them even more robust."
Currently available at 25 U.S. international airports, Global Entry streamlines the screening process at airports for trusted travelers through biometric identification and reduces average wait times by 70 percent, with more than 75 percent of travelers using Global Entry processed in under five minutes. More than a million trusted travelers now receive Global Entry benefits, and these travelers have used its automated kiosks to expedite their entry more than 2.3 million times since the program's inception.