Global Entry flyers will speed through some airports even faster now

Aug 4, 2022

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If you’ve visited a Global Entry kiosk in the last year or so, you may have noticed the technology is getting savvier. Kiosks can now verify your identity with a facial scan — no passport or fingerprint check is necessary. Now, some U.S. airports are going a step further.

Last week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced Texas’ two largest international airports: Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) and George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in Houston would be the latest to also do away with paper receipts, on top of the biometric scan.

Under the new — or at least updated — process, a facial scan will confirm your identity when you arrive at a kiosk in the customs hall. Then, unlike earlier iterations of the process, the kiosk will not print a receipt for you to bring to the customs officials. Instead, you just have to show your passport.

It’s a streamlined process CBP has now rolled out to 10 U.S. airports, with others expected by the end of the month.

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(Photo by Paul Yeung/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

CBP sees this as a step toward efficiency and a step away from physical contact points and environmental impact.

This may sound quite similar to what you’ve been through if you’ve used a Global Entry kiosk of late.

As mentioned, over the last year-plus, CBP has been equipping its kiosks at international airports with facial recognition technology, in hopes of expediting the process of verifying travellers’ identities upon arrival in the U.S.

CBP confirmed to TPG earlier this week, that this technology is now in place at every international airport with Global Entry.

Related: Tips for When And How to Renew Your Global Entry Membership

Global Entry airport kiosks
(Photo by Liz Hafalia/The San Francisco Chronicle/Getty Images)

I had my first go-round with the technology while arriving at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) in May. Since I hadn’t heard of this screening capability, I was surprised to walk up to the scanner, have my picture taken and — without having to scan my passport — have my identity confirmed. The process finished when a receipt — that had an older photo of me taken when I first enrolled in the program in 2018 — printed from the machine.

The whole process took maybe 15 to 20 seconds.

Now, at DFW and IAH and 8 other airports, travellers won’t even get the receipt.

CBP sees this as the “next stage” in enhancing facial biometric kiosks, and part of a larger process to upgrade the Global Entry program, which the agency told TPG this spring, represents about 80% of the 10 million-plus members in its Trusted Traveler Programmes.

This month the agency plans to go paperless at its Global Entry facilities in Atlanta and Chicago, as well as its Aruba preclearance facilities.

Bottom line

The CBP seems to be continually looking for ways to streamline the screening process, even for Global Entry members that already have an expedited experience through the passport control process. This is certainly good news for travellers, as international trips this summer have surged to levels not seen in a few years.

More on Global Entry:

Featured photo by James Tourtellotte/CBP.

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