CBP Expands Global Entry Program

1161062_tourists.jpgU.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the federal government agency that oversees and enforces many of the country's international trade, customs, and immigration regulations. When entering and exiting the United States, travelers will be processed by a CBP officer and questioned about the items they are bringing into the country, their immigration status, their plans during their stay in the country, etc.

In order to facilitate international travel in and out of the U.S., CBP created the Global Entry Program (GEP). The GEP allows qualified travelers to expedite their clearance into the country. Specifically, upon arrival into the U.S., GEP participants bypass traditional (and lengthy) customs/immigration processing lines and go directly to designated Global Entry kiosks. At these kiosks, the travelers present their passports and/or green card, undergo fingerprint scans, and provide a customs declaration. After this expedited processing, the kiosk provides the travelers with a receipt and instructions to go to baggage claim and the exit. (Note that any GEP participant could still be selected for secondary inspection if a CBP officer has reason to suspect the traveler may have violated immigration or customs laws). Thus, the great benefit of the GEP is the opportunity to drastically reduce the amount of time one has to spend in customs/immigration lines at airports.

To be eligible for GEP participation, the traveler must submit an application to CBP that contains biographic and criminal history data, pay the $100 application fee, and report to the CBP for a scheduled interview. While there are not many specific requirements for eligibility, the traveler will be ineligible if the traveler has any previous criminal convictions or has previously violated any immigration or customs laws of the United States. If the traveler's application is ultimately denied, CBP will inform the traveler of the denial and the reasons for the decision.

Initially, GEP was only available to U.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents (green card holders), U.S. nationals, Mexican nationals, and Dutch citizens. However, CBP recently announced that it is expanding the GEP eligibility to include certain citizens of South Korea, Germany, Qatar, and the United Kingdom. Specifically, Korean citizens may qualify for the GEP if they are already participants in that country's own traveler program, the Smart Entry System. Moreover, German citizens may qualify for the GEP if they participate in that country's Automated and Biometrics-Supported Controls Plus travel program.

While participation in the traveler's respective country's travel program is currently a prerequisite, CBP plans to eventually open GEP eligibility to all citizens of Germany, Qatar, and the United Kingdom. Additionally, U.S. citizens who participate in the GEP will also soon be able to apply for participation in Korea's and Germany's own expedited travel programs.

At the Gee Law Firm, our attorneys are available to explain the many options for visiting, working, and living in the United States that are available for foreign nationals from all countries. Even if you are not eligible for GEP participation, there may be other expedited travel options available to you. Contact our office today at 650-293-0270 to speak to a member of our legal team about your immigration and U.S. travel choices.

Additional Blog Posts

CBP Updates for Traveling with Green Cards, Silicon Valley Immigration Lawyer Blog, December 28, 2012
CBP Plans to Eliminate I-94 Card (Arrival/Departure Record), Silicon Valley Immigration Lawyer Blog, February 22, 2013

by Michelle Gee