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City granted Global Entry program for airport

Frequent travelers from Mexico to SA will face shorter customs lines

SAN ANTONIO - The San Antonio International Airport has been approved for the Federal Global Entry program.

City and state leaders pushed hard to bring the program to San Antonio, which is expected to strengthen business ties between the city and Mexico.

The federal Global Entry Program relies on kiosks that expedite United States Customs clearance.

Frequent travelers between San Antonio and Mexico can use the machines to read their passports. It will also scan faces and fingerprints.

As a result, travelers will not have to wait in what can often be lengthy lines at Customs.

"Yes, it’s a very good idea,” said Paloma Fuente, who travels to and from Mexico often. “I have already heard about it and it sounds great."

International business travelers arriving in San Antonio on Friday said processing through the customs area only took around 20 minutes, and lines were not as long as those encountered in Dallas and Houston.

However, lines can get much longer during peak travel times.

“On this side, yes, especially around Christmas and Thanksgiving,” said Andrew Dareys, who arrived from Mexico City.

“It’s going to make their move through the airport probably go in five minutes compared to 30 to 45 minutes,” said Ramiro Cavazos, president of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

The San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce was one of the city entities that lobbied for the program to come to San Antonio.

"Global Entry from an economic development standpoint is going to be a tremendous advantage," said Cavazos.

The amount of passengers arriving from Mexico has increased significantly in the past year for the San Antonio International Airport, which now averages around 60 flights arriving from Mexico each week.

"This will hopefully encourage Mexico to also realize that we want to continue to do business and break down those barriers,” said Cavazos.

Enrolling travelers do have to get pre-screened by United States Customs and Border Protection and the fee is $100, which is good for five years.

San Antonio will be the third city in Texas with the program, behind Dallas and Houston. The kiosks are expected to be in place within six months.


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