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TravelPlan to trial Global Entry ‘e-gates’ on hold for now, CBP says

Plan to trial Global Entry ‘e-gates’ on hold for now, CBP says


A plan to bring the first electronic gates to a U.S. airport customs facility is on hold for now, TPG has learned.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is halting, at least temporarily, plans to add e-gates as part of a pilot program for Global Entry at Dulles International Airport (IAD) outside Washington, D.C., an agency spokesperson shared.

CBP is now considering alternative options.

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What are Global Entry ‘e-gates’?

Seen as a test run for a smoother, contactless — and kioskless — trip through passport control, the new high-tech process would have been a new option for Global Entry members who use the program’s new mobile app. After entering arrival information and snapping a selfie while taxiing to the gate, the Global Entry member would have proceeded right to the automatic gates, which would promptly open following a biometric facial scan.

The plan had been to begin this trial program at Dulles sometime later this summer.

In fact, as I saw in April, the agency had already cordoned off an area at the Dulles customs hall where it planned to try out its new process.

SEAN CUDAHY/THE POINTS GUY

However, those plans are on hold — for now. That comes before the pilot program even got started. In running tests leading up to the would-be program’s launch, CBP determined there may be alternative Global Entry solutions that might be more impactful, the agency told TPG this week.

“We figured there’s a way that we could impact more travelers — more Global Entry travelers — to help streamline the process for everyone,” said Sean Cowie, CBP branch chief. “The goal here is to make sure we’re streamlining things, but not sacrificing any of the security aspects.”

Still, Global Entry remains an incredibly convenient, time-saving option for travelers. On nearly every recent occasion at U.S. passport control facilities, I’ve sped through the kiosks in a matter of seconds.

SEAN CUDAHY/THE POINTS GUY

Though the program’s application fee will rise to $120 for a five-year membership this fall, it remains a great investment — particularly since the program includes TSA PreCheck access (plus, numerous travel credit cards will significantly, or entirely, offset the application fee).

And it’s clear more innovations are coming to the program.

The Global Entry mobile app is now available at 53 airports in the U.S., plus at some international preclearance facilities. CBP expects it will be available for use at all 77 airports with Global Entry by later this year.

Meanwhile, the agency isn’t entirely throwing in the towel on an innovative pilot process for the program. Though it’s too early for specifics, CBP is in “early talks” for a revamped process at some point in the not-too-distant future, the agency said, which it plans to eventually deploy at Dulles.

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