US, Mexico to launch frequent flyer program

The U.S. and Mexico are planning a pilot program that would allow trustworthy frequent flyers easier passage through immigration and customs.

Mexico Interior Secretary Francisco Blake says the program will allow passengers who meet security requirements and fly often to the U.S. to pass faster through immigration lines at airports.

Blake and U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano met in Mexico City on Tuesday and signed an agreement of intent to launch the program.

Blake said the 84,000 Mexicans who belong to a program allowing them to drive through the border in special fast-crossing lanes will probably qualify for the new initiative.

The new system would be an expansion of Global Entry, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection program open to U.S. citizens, permanent residents and citizens of some other countries.

Applicants must undergo "robust background checks" and provide biometrics, according to a Department of Homeland Security statement. Participants can use Global Entry kiosks at U.S. airports to insert their passports or residency card, provide digital fingerprints and answer customs declaration questions on a touch-screen.

Then, they simply present a receipt of the transaction to customs officers.