November 25, 2019 / 6:06 PM / 19 days ago

U.S. to start global entry program for Brazilian frequent travelers

BRASILIA (Reuters) - The U.S. government will launch a “global entry” program for Brazilians traveling to the United States to allow expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival, the Brazilian government said on Monday.

Brazilian business people who travel frequently to the United States have been waiting since 2012 - when the two sides were close to brokering a deal on it - for implementation of the trusted traveler Global Entry Program (GEP) to make their entry easier at U.S. airports.

The office of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s chief of staff said a global entry pilot program will start soon, with some 20 Brazilian executives initially to test the system’s functionality.

Global Entry is administered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and allows visitors to stop at a kiosk on arrival in the United States to have their fingerprints scanned and fill out a customs declaration form to enter the country.

Currently trusted travelers from Argentina, India, Colombia, Britain, Germany, Panama, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Mexico are eligible for the rapid entry program.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced his administration would take steps to enable Brazil to participate in the Global Entry Program when Bolsonaro visited the White House in March.

The U.S. Travel Association said Brazil’s inclusion in the Global Entry Program was a good deal for both nations and would increase the number of Brazilians flying to the United States for shopping and vacation.

Since 2017, close to 2 million Brazilians have traveled to the United States annually, spending more than $7 billion per year, the association noted.

This year, Brazil eliminated the requirement of tourist visas for visitors from the United States, Canada, Australia and Japan, but Brazilians still need visas to enter the United States.

Reporting by Anthony Boadle and Lisandra Paraguassu; Editing by Tom Brown

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