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Sky Harbor part of new Global Entry program, wait-time cut by months

(Michael Wyke/Houston Chronicle via AP)

PHOENIX — A program that allows expedited entry into the United States has begun, and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is one of five airports nationwide to have incorporated it already.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Global Entry used to make pre-approved international travelers schedule an interview at an enrollment center. Due to the program’s popularity, that process could take up to two months, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection supervisor Bernadette Garcia.

With the new “Enrollment on Arrival” program, that wait time has been drastically cut.

“Enrollment on Arrival is for anybody coming back into the United States making entry,” Garcia said. “Once they’re done with their basic primary inspection, if they have already been conditionally approved for global entry program, we can conduct the interview on primary to eliminate them going to an actual center to do the interview.”

Not only will the program cut down wait times at busy enrollment areas, it will save people from having to take time out of their day to go to a center and do an interview.

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer will conduct the interview and collect the traveler’s biometrics, where they will then be cleared to enter as a Global Entry member.

“Phoenix Sky Harbor is pleased to be among the first major airports to roll out this new feature of the Global Entry program,” said Director of Aviation Services James E. Bennett. “U.S. Customs and Border Protection is a great partner and this fits in perfectly with our mission to provide outstanding customer service every day.”

Travelers must be pre-approved for Global Entry, a program that, in addition to the interview, requires a rigorous background check. Interested parties can apply here.

KTAR News’ Ali Vetnar contributed to this report.

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