Govt opens up SmartGate to Americans

Flying into the United States will soon become less of a drag, with the Australian and American governments granting each other access to fast-entry schemes at Customs checkpoints.

Flying into the United States will soon become less of a drag, with the Australian and American governments granting each other access to fast-entry schemes at Customs checkpoints.

(Ah ain't long for this whorl image by
Chad Miller, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Attorney-General Nicola Roxon and Minister for Home Affairs Jason Clare has announced a bilateral project that would see Americans granted access to the SmartGate fast-entry system at Australian ports, with Australians able to use the Global Entry fast-access system.

Clare said that the project will see business people getting to their intended destinations quicker rather than standing around waiting to get into the respective countries.

"It means getting into LAX quicker, it means getting into America quicker to do business and it's another example of our close relationship, our strong partnership, working together to ensure that our borders are strong and that business people ... working here and overseas, get to do that work that they want to do as quickly and easily as possible," he said of the new bilateral project.

Both Global Entry in the US and SmartGate in Australia require passengers to insert RFID-chip-enabled passports into automated terminals that act in the place of a Customs officer manning a checkpoint.

To use Global Entry, frequent travellers must undergo what the US Customs Service calls a "rigorous" pre-screening process for a spot in the program.

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