Global Entry Program Set To Expand

The international traveler program known as Global Entry has been expanded and made permanent by President Obama, reported the New York Times. Facilitated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Global Entry is a program in which international travelers can enroll to undergo a screening process at specific kiosks, rather than participate in the thorough check-in where CBP officers are usually employed. This speeds up the amount of time it takes to get admitted into the country.

Global Entry was established in 2008, and has since expanded and increased its eligibility. On February 6, 2012, the final rule was implemented to keep Global Entry as an ongoing program.

To qualify, potential members — who consist of frequent international travelers, citizens, and residents — must fill out an application, which can be found at the Global Entry website, and pay an application fee of $100. They then participate in both a background check and an interview. During the interview, applicants will speak with a CBP officer, have their pictures taken, and have their fingerprints scanned. Once enrolled, members are granted quick entry process now implemented at 20 airports, during which their fingerprints and passports are scanned at a Global Entry kiosk.

In addition, members will make their customs declarations at the kiosk, and they will receive a transaction receipt upon being cleared. This program cuts out the time that is normally spent on communicating with CBP officers, which officials hope will speed up entry for the passengers with regular clearance. However, the Global Entry website clarifies that members may be asked to participate in a more detailed examination.

Airport locations that have Global Entry kiosks include Newark Liberty International Airport, George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, and others. The program will be expanded to include four additional airports by September 22, 2012. According to the New York Times, the addition of Minneapolis, Charlotte, Denver, and Phoenix opens the program to include airports that cater to 97% of international travelers. The starting dates for each airport will be posted on the Global entry website once they have been established.

Some airports also have an expedited program called TSA PreCheck, which is conducted in partnership by CBP and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). This program pre-screens low-risk individuals prior to their travels, and allows them to go through airport security quickly. This allows TSA to reallocate their resources to focus on screening high-risk passengers at airports.

Programs like Global Entry and TSA PreCheck continue to make airport check-ins more efficient. The expansion of these programs will allow TSA and CBP to focus on moving queues along faster, and will give them the time to pay more attention to potential threats.