No More Passport Checks – Global Entry
By: John Gobbels – VP, MedjetAssist
Want to forget about passport checks when coming home? Global Entry might be for you.
International frequent flyers have been raving about a program called Global Entry, a “trusted traveler” program run by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The program lets you use kiosks that take an average of 40 seconds to clear, compared to one-to-three minutes with a customs agent, plus a wait in line that can, at peak times at busy airports, take an hour or more.
U.S. Customs says Global Entry enhances security by segregating low-risk travelers from people entering the country who might be considered a risk. For passengers weary of long waits at airport security metal detectors, body scanners and X-ray machines, Global Entry appears to offer hope for a faster solution.
Global Entry is a two-year old pilot program with almost 85,000 people already enrolled. The agency plans to make it permanent by the end of the year and kiosks are setup at 20 major international airports.
So how does it work?
The process is very simple. When you land at one of the 20 airports in the program, you scan your passport and fingerprints at a kiosk and answer four questions similar to what’s on the customs form handed out on board planes entering the United States. The kiosk then prints out a receipt that you give to customs agents as you exit.
So how do I enroll?
To sign up, go to www.globalentry.gov and answer the questions with regard to criminal history and basic identifying data. After that, customs agents will conduct a background check looking for any criminal history or outstanding warrants, previous customs, immigration or agricultural violations.
Once you are pre-approved you will then schedule an appointment with a customs officer that is used to verify the individual’s identity. Fingerprints are also run against Department of Homeland Security and FBI databases. The cost to enter the program is $100.00
With all the tension regarding screening and extended wait times, it’s nice to see a program that can help alleviate some of these issues.
For a list of participating airports go to: www.globalentry.gov