Clearing Customs now easier for US travellers
Thursday, 01 November 2012
Joint media release with Chris Bowen MP – Minister for Immigration and Citizenship and the Hon Jason Clare MP – Minister for Home Affairs, Minister for Justice, Minister for Defence Materiel.
Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Justice Jason Clare and Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Chris Bowen today announced a trial extending Australia's automated border processing system SmartGate to US travellers.
The trial gives eligible US Global Entry Program members arriving at Australia's major international airports the opportunity to use SmartGate.
To use SmartGate US Global Entry Program members must hold a valid US ePassport, be flying into Australia and be aged 16 years or older.
US Global Entry Program members are the first non-Australians to use the self-processing solution since SmartGate was opened to New Zealand ePassport holders in 2007.
Mr Clare said the trial is part of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service's goal to securely process an increasing number of travellers arriving at Australia's international airports.
'The extension of SmartGate to US Global Entry Program members will mean more travellers than ever before will have a choice about how they are processed when they arrive in Australia,' Mr Clare said.
'SmartGate will now make it easier and more efficient for US Global Entry Program members to travel to Australia.'
SmartGate uses the data in an ePassport and facial recognition technology to perform the checks usually manually completed.
Mr Bowen said the trial reflects Australia's close relationship with the US and implements the Australian reciprocal commitment to the US made during the recent visit of US Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano.
SmartGate is an automatic border control system with sophisticated technical capabilities that verify the identity of the travellers through our borders – it is an approved computer-based system under migration law to process travellers at Australian airports,' Mr Bowen said.
'Australian and New Zealand travellers with ePassports have enjoyed the benefits of streamlined SmartGate processing for almost five years. My department is working with the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service to explore extending this facility to other nationalities in the future.'
The trial is expected to last four months and the results will be used to guide planning for the progressive introduction of SmartGate to other foreign holders of ePassports.
'After the trial is completed at the end of February 2013 we will look to extending SmartGate access to all US ePassport holders,' Mr Clare said.
The US Global Entry Program is managed by US Customs and Border Protection. It allows the expedited clearance of pre-approved, low-risk travellers arriving in the US.
Travellers have the option to use SmartGate on arrival in Australia at eight major international airports including Sydney, Melbourne, Cairns, Brisbane, Perth, the Gold Coast, Adelaide and Darwin.
US Global Entry Program members can learn more about the SmartGate self-processing option by visiting the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service website.
Last update: Thursday, 01 November 2012 at 11:38 AEST