MUMBAI: Top Indian film stars, former presidents and industrialists may soon be exempt from immigration checks at US airports.
India and the US are working on a pact that will exempt a certain categories. Top immigration officials of the two countries recently held a meeting for implementation of the Global Entry, a US Customs and Border Protection programme that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travellers upon arrival in the US.
The meeting discussed what categories of people from India could be exempted from the immigration checks in the US, sources said.
In this context, the names of former president Pratibha Patil, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, industrialists Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani and film stars Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan were specifically mentioned, they said.
Significantly, Shah Rukh was once detained at a US airport because his name resembled that of somebody on the watch list.
“The US has been pressing for India’s inclusion in the Global Entry so that high dignitaries, frequent flyers and top industrialists could visit America without any hassle,” a source said.
Individuals included in the list enter the US through automatic kiosks at select airports. At airports, programme members proceed to Global Entry kiosks, present their machine-readable passport or US permanent resident card, place their fingerprints on the scanner for fingerprint verification and complete a customs declaration.
The kiosk issues the traveller a transaction receipt and directs the traveller to baggage claim and the exit.
Two foremost criteria for inclusion of the global entry programme for any individual is that he or she should not have any criminal record or anyway connected with any money laundering case.
So far, citizens of seven countries are getting benefits of America’s Global Entry programme.
The countries are The Netherlands, Panama, South Korea, Germany, Peru, Mexico, Canada. Brazil and India are likely to be part of the programme next year.