Bilateral ‘Trusted Traveler’ program launched

29 Jun 16

SINGAPORE, UNITED STATES

IMPACT – HIGH

What is the change? Singapore and the United States have launched a bilateral program allowing pre-screened travelers to register as trusted travelers and move through airports without waiting in line.

What does the change mean? Eligible citizens of Singapore and the U.S. who register for the respective programs will be able to use automated immigration clearance gates at designated airports, facilitating business travel and tourism between the two countries.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate. The program launched Monday.
  • Who is affected: Eligible American and Singaporean citizens making frequent trips between the two countries.
  • Impact on processing times: The programs will eliminate the wait time at participating airports’ immigration checkpoints.
  • Business impact: The bilateral agreement is intended to ease business travel, and encourage investment and tourism.

Next steps: U.S. passport holders who are already members of the U.S. Global Entry Program may apply online for Singapore’s “Enhanced Immigration Automated Clearance System” (e-IACS). Singapore passport holders may apply for the U.S. Trusted Traveler Program through the Global Entry Program website and schedule an interview at the U.S. Embassy in Singapore or at a Global Entry Enrollment location in the U.S.

Background: U.S. citizens applying for e-IACS must have visited Singapore at least three times in the previous 12 months and their passport must continue to be valid for at least six months.

Singaporean citizens applying for the U.S. Trusted Traveler Program must pay a non-refundable US$100 application fee and sit for biometrics and an interview with a U.S. Customs and Border Protection official, who will determine final eligibility. Interviews at the U.S. Embassy in Singapore will be scheduled every Wednesday and may be expanded based on demand. If approved, the membership is valid for five years.

BAL Analysis: The programs will facilitate business trips for frequent travelers. The Trusted Travel Program allows faster entry clearance than APEC fast lanes, as members of the Trusted Travel Program do not need to be questioned by immigration officers. They are also eligible for TSA pre-screening at participating international airports before boarding a flight to the U.S. The program does not replace the need to obtain an appropriate visa, Electronic System for Travel Authorization or work permit before travel.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Singapore. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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