On November 19, 2009, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced the publication of new proposed rule that would establish Global Entry, a United States Customs and Border Protection (“USCBP”) voluntary initiative that streamlines the international arrivals and admission process at airports for trusted travelers through biometric identification, as a permanent program. The proposed rule would end the current pilot program and make Global Entry permanent, allowing USCBP to expand the program to additional U.S. international airports.
Currently, Global Entry is operating as a pilot program at selected airports. It allows pre-approved, low-risk travelers expedited clearance upon arrival into the United States. Although this program is intended for “frequent travelers” who make several international trips per year, there is no minimum number of trips an applicant must make in order to qualify.
Participants may currently enter the United States by utilizing automated kiosks located, at the following airports:
- Boston-Logan International Airport (BOS)
- Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
- Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW)
- Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW)
- Ft. Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport (FLL)
- George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston (IAH)
- Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
- Honolulu International Airport (HNL)
- John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
- McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas (LAS)
- Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
- Miami International Airport (MIA)
- Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
- Orlando International Airport (MCO)
- Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)
- San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
- San Juan-Luis Múñoz Marin International Airport (SJU)
- Orlando-Sanford International Airport (SFB)
- Seattle-Tacoma International Airport-SeaTac (SEA)
- Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD)
The process requires participants to present their machine-readable U.S. passport or permanent resident card, submit their fingerprints for biometric verification, and make a customs declaration at the kiosk’s touch-screen. Upon successful completion of the Global Entry process at the kiosk, the traveler is issued a transaction receipt and directed to baggage claim and the exit, unless chosen for a selective or random secondary referral.
Travelers must be pre-approved before they can participate in the pilot program. All applicants will undergo a rigorous background check and be interviewed by a USCBP officer before they are enrolled. Automated enforcement checks will occur each time the member uses the kiosk to enter the United States. Although pre-approved for the program and determined to be low risk, members of Global Entry may be examined at any time when entering the United States.
The current pilot program is generally limited to U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, and U.S. lawful permanent residents. However, on April 23, 2009, USCBP published a notice in the Federal Register announcing that it had expanded eligibility for participation in the Global Entry pilot to include citizens of the Netherlands who participate in Privium, an expedited travel program in the Netherlands, provided they otherwise satisfy the requirements for participation in the Global Entry pilot program.
The most significant change that would result from a permanent Global Entry program is its expansion to include nonimmigrant aliens from other countries via joint arrangements between USCBP and its respective counterparts in foreign governments. USCBP is working with other countries that operate comparable international trusted traveler programs to enter into reciprocal arrangements for the purposes of expanding eligibility for Global Entry.
Canadian and United States citizens who are already participating in NEXUS, a trusted traveler program operated jointly by USCBP and the Canadian Border Services Agency, will find the Global Entry program to be very familiar. However, unlike the NEXUS program, the permanent Global Entry program would be available to citizens of countries other than Canada and the United States. It is expected that participants in the existing NEXUS program will be among the first group included in the permanent Global Entry program, once it has been implemented.
Further information regarding Global Entry appears here.