Trusted Travelers: Programs Provide Benefits, but Enrollment Processes Could Be Strengthened

Nearly 1 million people and $1.5 billion of trade entered the United States through 328 ports of entry (POEs) on an average day in fiscal year 2013. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has four trusted traveler programs—Global Entry, NEXUS, Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection (SENTRI), and Free and Secure Trade (FAST)—to provide for expedited travel through dedicated lanes and kiosks at POEs. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) was asked to review these programs. This report addresses (1) trends in enrollment and program use over the past 5 fiscal years, (2) the extent to which CBP has designed and implemented processes to help ensure consistent and efficient enrollment of applicants, and (3) the impacts of the programs on travelers and CBP. GAO analyzed data on enrollment and POE operations from fiscal years 2009 through 2013, reviewed documents, and visited nine POEs selected based on traveler volume and location. While information from these POEs cannot be generalized, the visits provided insights on program operations. GAO recommends, among other things, that CBP assess the feasibility of practices to improve application processing times, establish a mechanism to document types of interview questions asked, and document information on foreign countries’ procedures. DHS concurred with all recommendations but one to establish a mechanism to document interview questions asked because, among other reasons, DHS does not believe it should use scripted interview questions. As discussed in this report, GAO continues to believe in the need for such a mechanism.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 76p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01529360
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: GAO-14-483
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 30 2014 9:41AM