President Seeks Input to Improve Entry Process into United States

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) have published a notice inviting comments on President Obama’s request for a plan to improve the entry process for international travelers arriving at U.S. airports. In the notice, the two agencies are requesting input and suggestions from the public, with the expectations that changes will be made to “expedite the arrivals process” and “enhance security.” The deadline for submitting comments is August 15, 2014.

Goal Laid Out in Presidential Memorandum

In a May 2014 presidential memorandum, President Obama expresses a desire to develop airport-specific plans that will enhance the inspection and admission process for individuals traveling to the United States. The memorandum directs the Secretaries of the DHS and the DOC to develop, within 120 days, a national goal of improving service levels at U.S. airports for arriving international travelers. It also directs each Secretary to measurably improve the entry experience for international travelers. The DHS and DOC are instructed to work closely with private industry to accomplish this national goal and to develop plans customized for individual airports. Efforts should be made to rework the inspection process implemented by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers, to focus more resources on the highest risk travelers, and thereby expedite the process for the “vast majority of legitimate travelers.”

Notice Asks for Public Comments to Address Seven Points

The public is asked to submit comments in response to seven points related to improving the admission process, including: technologies that should be incorporated; modifications to the passport and baggage inspection process; changes that should be made by airlines and airport operators; and ways to improve traveler perception. The full list of points to address, and instructions on how to submit comments, are provided in the DHS / DOC notice.


The presidential memorandum shows that the government is aware of delays at U.S. airports for international travelers and is seeking ways to make the process more efficient, while not sacrificing safety concerns. MurthyDotCom will continue to track CBP’s implementation of this directive and will update readers with significant developments.

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