An anti mainstream media Twitter handle shared the above image claiming that from now on Indians will not be checked or screened at 53 airports in the United States. The info-graphic, which uses a picture of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Donald Trump, from the former’s visit to the U.S. recently, also claims that local media did not highlight this news.
Given that the entire H1-B visa issue is a sore point between the two countries., it is quite astonishing that such a supposed relaxation of entry norms towards Indian travellers headed for the U.S., would have gone unnoticed by the press.
Visas and immigration has always been a sensitive issues between India and the United States. In the past former president late APJ Abdul Kalam and actor Shah Rukh Khan’s run-ins with U.S. immigration officials have made it to the news and caused embarrassment to both countries.
So what’s really going on?
U.S. EXTENDS ITS GLOBAL ENTRY PROGRAMME TO INDIA
On July 3rd, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced the expansion of its ‘Global Entry’ programme to Indian citizens which allows for speedy clearance of pre-approved, “low-risk” travellers.
The facility is available at 53 U.S. airports and 15 preclearance locations, CBP said on its website.
1. What this means is that Global Entry members instead of queuing to clear immigration by meeting an immigration officer can bypass the step and use an automated kiosk to complete their admission to the United States.
2. Programme members present their machine-readable passport or U.S. permanent resident card, scan their fingerprints and complete a customs declaration.
3. The kiosk issues the traveller a transaction receipt and directs them to baggage claim and the exit.
Travellers must be pre-approved for the Global Entry programme. A rigorous background check and in-person interview are conducted before enrollment to the programme.
A non-refundable application fee for a five-year Global Entry membership of $100 is charged and applications must be submitted online
Steps detailing how to apply for the programme are available on CBP’s website. (How to Apply for Global Entry)
However, once enrolled a traveller can still be selected for further examination when entering the United States. Any violation of the terms and conditions of the programme can lead to revocation of the traveller’s membership privileges.
India became the 11th country overall whose citizens are eligible to enroll in the Global Entry programme joining countries such as Argentina, Colombia, Germany, Mexico, Netherlands, Panama, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
U.S. citizens, U.S nationals and U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents are also eligible to apply for the programme.
Indian Ambassador to the U.S., Navtej Sarna became the first Indian national to enroll in the program, local press reported.
The Global Entry programme found mention in a June 26th press statement by the White House during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the country. (Click here to view the statement)
“Applauding the entrepreneurship and innovation of Indians and Indian-Americans that have directly benefited both nations, President Trump welcomed India’s formal entry into the International Expedited Traveler Initiative (Global Entry program) in order to facilitate closer business and educational ties between the citizens of India and the United States. President Trump gladly accepted Prime Minister Modi’s invitation to visit India. They look forward to working together in a spirit of friendship in the years to come.” – White House
Unlike what the infographic claimed, the news was reported by several mainstream news outlets.