United States: Global Entry Trusted Traveler Program to Become Permanent
Members of Global Entry benefit from expedited customs and immigration clearance at 20 U.S. international airports. The program is open to U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and certain citizens of Mexico and the Netherlands. Children under 14 are now permitted to apply for membership.
Global Entry, a Customs and Border Protection initiative that provides expedited immigration and customs clearance to pre-approved, low-risk air travelers, will move from a pilot to a permanent program on March 7, 2012, according to a final regulation published today. CBP will also expand the program to include children under the age of 14, who were previously ineligible to participate.
Global Entry is in place at twenty international airports in the United States, as well as pre-flight inspection stations at selected airports in Canada. Program members arriving at a Global Entry airport can use a kiosk to complete immigration and customs clearance, rather than wait in line to be inspected in person by a CBP officer. A limited pilot program with the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) offers expedited security screening to Global Entry members traveling on selected airlines at seven U.S. airports.
Who Is Eligible to Participate in Global Entry?
Global Entry is open by application to U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, Mexican citizens, and Dutch citizens who are members of Privium, the Netherlands’ trusted traveler program. Expansion to other countries is anticipated as a part of President Obama’s recent executive order aimed at spurring U.S. tourism. Reports indicate that South Korean nationals may soon be eligible to participate in the initiative, and that the U.S. may enter into reciprocal agreements with several European countries to further expand the program’s availability in the near future.
Travelers who are members of the NEXUS or SENTRI trusted traveler program are also eligible to use to use Global Entry kiosks. NEXUS is open to U.S. and Canadian citizens for air, land and sea travel between the United States and Canada, while SENTRI is open to U.S. and Mexican citizens making land border crossings.
Applying for Global Entry Membership
Eligible travelers must submit an online application to CBP and pay a $100 fee. CBP screens the application and contacts the applicant to schedule an in-person interview at a Global Entry airport. At the interview, the applicant is questioned about the application, fingerprinted and photographed.
Approved applicants are admitted to the program for five years. Members receive a CBP Global Entry sticker in their passport.
Using Global Entry
Program members traveling through a participating airport can use a Global Entry kiosk to complete immigration and customs inspection. At the kiosk, the traveler scans his or her passport and fingerprints, is photographed and answers several customs clearance questions onscreen. If there are no issues, the traveler is issued a receipt that is simply turned in to a CBP officer. If the traveler’s membership cannot be verified at the kiosk or there are other issues, the traveler must be inspected in person by a CBP officer, but is allowed to go to the front of the inspection line.
What the Global Entry Program Means for Employers and Employees
Global Entry can be a significant time savings for frequent travelers by allowing them to bypass lengthy inspection lines when arriving in the United States from abroad. Though the program does not yet offer full-scale expedited airport security clearance, the CPB-TSA pilot security program could be expanded at some point in the future, offering greater benefits to frequent travelers.
Fragomen can work with employers to assist in the Global Entry application process. Please contact your designated Fragomen professional for more information.