I’ve called Miami Beach home since I was a kid, but we natives are rare. In my opinion, Miami’s diversity is what makes it the “Magic City”. Global business is the new norm, but we’ve always been an international player. That’s why I was so pleased to hear the latest report from the U.S. Travel Association highlighting recent victories in streamlining passenger visa, entry and screening processes.
This news represents the power of organization. Our very own Chamber can take pride and some ownership, as we, along withour sister chambers, have been lobbying passionately to make these changes happen. Starting this year, the State Department will step up its visa reform program, which will include reducing visa processing times in China, Brazil and India; monitoring demand from these countries and responding accordingly; accessing the benefits of waiving lengthy interviews for select parties reapplying for their visas; and pursuing technologies that will further help expedite the entire process.
The new funding and provisions also call for streamlining passenger processing at U.S. Ports of Entry. Additional Custom and Border Protection officers and staff model analysis will ensure that these ports are appropriately and efficiently manned; the transition to a biographic air exit system will more accurately verify and track foreign nationals; and a pilot program will hopefully soon lead to the elimination of duplicate screening for both passengers and baggage. Further travel recommendations aim to implement a Pre-Check risk-based screening program, provide airports the option to utilize privatized screeners, and reach the goal to keep checkpoint wait times to a 10-minute average.
This is a national feat, and a huge milestone for Miami. As a major business hub for South America, Brazil has and remains to be a crucial market for us. Yet, China and India represent a new wave of economic giants also steering the global business arena. It’s no secret that Miami is a desirable destination in which to conduct business. Why shouldn’t we make it easy for our international allies?
At your service,
Jason Loeb, Sudsies
Chairman, Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce