The Foreign Ministry and US Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for the Private Sector Douglas Andrew Smith agreed on Sunday that Israel should take part in an American pilot program that would facilitate shared use of the biometric database in order to ease the customs and security checks for travelers arriving at American airports.
The program, entitled Global Entry, will allow expedited clearance to some Israeli citizens upon arriving in the US. The Netherlands already takes part in the program, and a few other nations are waiting to join it as well.
According to estimations, hundreds of Israelis will be able to join the test group in the coming months, and utilized the automated biometrics checks similar to those available at Ben Gurion Airport. The US will determine the criteria by which it will decide who is qualified to enroll in the program.
According to Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon, this is the first step towards the cancellation of the US visa requirements for Israelis. Ayalon promoted the subject in a conversation with Smith.
"This meeting was very important for the cooperation in the field of homelands security," Ayalon told Ynet. "We have here an expression of trust in the citizens of Israel and its systems, and that is big news."
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