Iris Cards Let Travelers Skip Customs

US signs deal with Holland, and more are on the way
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2009 8:56 AM CDT
Americans who enroll in a new US-Dutch program will be able to breeze through customs at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. New bilateral agreements are in the works.   (Flickr)
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(Newser) – A new digital card will allow Americans to skip customs lines at a foreign airport for the first time, reports USA Today. In a deal between Homeland Security officials and the Netherlands, US travelers approved for the ID card will be able to speed through Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, while Dutch citizens can do the same at JFK and LAX. The new cards contain an embedded image of the traveler's iris that verifies identity.

To participate in the Dutch plan, citizens must enroll in the Amsterdam airport's trusted-traveler program, which consists of a background check and an annual fee of $143. More bilateral agreements are in the works, and approved American travelers will eventually be able to breeze through customs in Britain, Germany, and Australia. "We fully intend to make this a global network," said a Homeland Security official.