Global Entry ® is a program designed by United States (US) Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to provide travellers with an expedited clearance process into the US. The CBP announced that the program will be extended to United Kingdom citizens for the first time.
Global Entry ® Program
The Global Entry Program was conceived in the 2000s from the INSPASS Program ran by the U.S.Immigration and Naturalization Service. Eligible candidates of the program first enroll in Global Online Enrollment System (GOES). Background checks and in-person interview would followed as part of the approval process. Once candidates are approved into the program, they would be able to use their machine-readable passport or US permanent resident card at dedicated Global Entry kiosks at 46 US airports and at 13 pre-clearance facilities to expedite entrance into the US (as at October 2015) (Locations with this facility implemented are listed here).
At the airport, members will place their fingerprints on the scanner for fingerprint verification and complete a customs declaration. Thekiosk issues the traveler a transaction receipt and directs the traveler to baggage claim/exit at US airports or airside at pre-clearance locations.
United Kingdom is the ninth country admitted to the Global Entry Program since its inception. The other eight are listed below:
- South Korea
- Canada (Canadian citizens are members of the NEXUS Frequent Traveler Program receive Global Entry benefits)
- Brazil (Brazilian citizens are eligible for the Global Entry and expected to join the program on first half of 2016)
Starting from December 3, 2015 onwards, UK citizens could apply for a five-year Global Entry membership in three easy steps:
- Apply via the UK Home Office website with a £42 processing fee;
- Once approved by the UK authorities, candidates would receive a “UK access code” to enter when applying for Global Entry through the Global Online Enrollment System (GOES). This part of the application costs $US100 (£65) and is non-refundable; and
- Once this is approved by the US authorities, candidates would set up an interview with US custom officials at one of the designated Enrollment Centers to finalize their application for eligibility.
Expect the entire process to take a few months to complete.
As an additional bonus, Global Entry members may be eligible to use the expedited security screening program called TSA Pre✓® in the US.
Reciprocal Expedited Access to the UK
- They have a visa (but not a Tier 5 concession (Creative and sporting), EEA family permit, discretionary leave or leave outside the rules) or
- They visited the UK 4 times in the last 52 weeks (e.g. for business, education, tourism, education or medical treatment)
It costs £70 to apply to user the service for 1 year. This fee is charged annually. Unsuccessful candidates would receive £50 back (Other fees may applied – check website for updated information).
Successful candidates will have access to the following features:
- ePassport gates if they have a biometric passport and
- Faster entry lanes at the following airports: Edinburgh (EDI), London Gatwick (LGW), Glasgow (GLA), London Heathrow(LHR), London City (LCY), London Luton (LTN), Manchester (MAN) and London Stansted (STN) airports and Eurostar train terminals at Brussels, Lille and Paris.
Governments around the world are continually working together to streamline and speed up the security clearance process for lower risk travellers. While there is no common standard used around the world today, the Global Entry Program is one with more participated countries.
Additionally, United States is exploring the expansion of its preclearance program to additional countries in the near future (News – June 4, 2015).
Automated Passport Control kiosks have been installed in more airports around the world for eligible passengers that are not members of Global Entry.
Security and Technology
When it comes to security, there are different methods being deployed currently. Biometrics techniques such as retina and fingerprint scans are continually being explored and deployed around the world. RFID passports are being issued and used.
More airports are installing e-gates with the goals to speed up the overall clearance process. Airlines and airports are also participating in IATA’s Fast Travel Program certification (News – September 8, 2015) to gain efficiency in the overall process.
While Global Entry’s goal is to speed travellers through the process, members may still be selected for further examination when entering the United States. Any violation of the program’s terms and conditions will result in the appropriate enforcement action and termination of the traveler’s membership privileges.