Incidents such as the detention of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan at an American airport could be averted once India and the US begin implementing an MoU for expedited clearances of select travellers that was signed in June.
The MoU was signed days ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s latest visit to the US, and Indian security officials have said that they are drawing up a list of some 2,000 key personalities who could initially benefit from the US Customs and Border Protection’s Global Entry programme.
“We have signed the MoU with the US on June 3. Now we are completing the necessary procedures and formalities before it kicks in,” an official who did not want to be named told Hindustan Times.
The official said it could take at least eight to 11 months for things to be finalised.
During discussions with their US counterparts last year, Indian officials had suggested that several former presidents, prime ministers and ministers, top businessmen like the Ambani brothers, actors such as Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan could be among the initial beneficiaries of the Global Entry scheme.
The US Customs and Border Protection is part of the Department of Homeland Security and the Global Entry programme allows the expedited clearance of pre-approved, low-risk travellers on arrival in the United States.
Around 2,000 prominent Indians are expected to be included initially in the list, which will be gradually expanded as ordinary citizens will also be eligible to apply for the programme. After joint scrutiny and clearance by both countries, approved Indian travelers can gain expedited entry into the US through automatic kiosks at select airports.
Any individual with a criminal record or connected with a money laundering case will not be eligible for the programme. US authorities will have the final say on admitting an Indian citizen into the Global Entry programme.
India is the eighth country to enter the Global Entry programme, which is available at 40 US airports. Nearly 2 million people are currently enrolled for Global Entry.