I just had a most unusual experience. Unusual in a good way. I just tried a new government program and it worked perfectly!
I landed in Detroit a few hours ago. Nothing unusual about that. The was an international flight, so I had to clear customs and immigration. Again, nothing unusual about that. What was unusual was the speed at which I got through the airport. Now, to be fair, Detroit Metro is usually one of the quicker entry ports for customs and immigration clearance (so long as you don’t make the mistake of checking baggage!). But still, from the time I exited the plane to the time I got in my car was under 5 minutes!
How? A few months ago I applied for membership in GOES, Department of Homeland Security’s Global Online Enrollment System. I had to submit all sorts of documentation and consent to full background checks, and then after tentative approval I was interviewed, photographed, had fingerprints taken, and more. And after a few weeks wait I was informed that I had been approved and could now use the GOES kiosks upon arrival.
And today I used the system for the first time. I inserted my passport into the kiosk, verified that the system had my correct inbound flight details (it did), looked at the camera, placed my fingers on the scanner when prompted, answered a few on screen questions, and then the kiosk spat out a receipt. I did not have to talk to anyone at immigration, I just walked through the designated entrance, handed the receipt to the customs official bypassing any lines, and walked out of the airport.
It was quick, simple, and just worked exactly as it was supposed to. Very impressive. And highly recommended for any frequent international travelers.
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