How to Get Expedited Access to the USA With Global Entry
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After a long-haul flight, the last thing you probably want to do is wait in an hours-long queue to get through immigration. Thankfully, there are ways to bypass that waiting. And for travel to the United States, that comes in the form of a program called Global Entry. Best of all, it’s available to get as a citizen of the UK.
For those who aren’t familiar, the Global Entry program is run by the United States’ Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency, which allows expedited clearance to the US for pre-approved, low-risk travelers at select airports. For members of the program, you’ll be able to scan your passport at a kiosk upon arrival to the US, scan your fingers, have your photo taken, answer a few questions and get on your way to your final destination. Seldom does the process involve waiting in long queues, and there’s virtually no human interaction with an immigration officer.
In order to get access to the Global Entry program and use its kiosks on your next trip to the US, you must be pre-approved, which involves both an application and interview process. But before that, you’ll want to make sure you’re eligible.
US citizens, US lawful permanent residents and citizens of the following countries are eligible for a Global Entry membership:
- Mexican nationals
- South Korea
- United Kingdom
According to the CBP, you may not be eligible for Global Entry if you cannot show CBP of your low-risk status, if you provide false or incomplete information on your application, if you’ve been convicted of any criminal offense or have criminal charges or outstanding warrants. In addition, you may not be eligible if you’ve been found in violation of any customs, immigration or agriculture regulations or laws in any country or are the subject of an ongoing investigation by any federal, state or local law enforcement agency. Finally, you might not be eligible if you are inadmissible to the US immigration regulation.
How to Apply
To apply for Global Entry, you’ll need to first apply with the UK Home Office and make sure you have a valid Electronic System for Travel Authroization (ESTA) for entry into the US. UK citizens have to apply through gov.uk and pay a £42 processing fee. If you pass the UK vetting, you’ll then receive a ‘UK Access Code’, which you’ll then have to enter when applying through the CBP’s Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) website.
On the TTP website, you’ll create an account and submit your application along with a nonrefundable $100 fee. Once your application is approved, you’ll need to interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center, which are located predominantly in the US. If the CBP officer determines you’re eligible, they’ll collect your biometric information (i.e. fingerprints) and take your photo.
If you get to the point of the final interview, you’ll have to bring your passport and one other form of identification, such as a driver’s license.
Keep in mind that while in most cases Global Entry will act as a quick and seamless way to enter the US, CBP reserves the right to select passengers for further examination. Additionally, if you’re granted access to the Global Entry program, you’ll also be given membership to the TSA PreCheck program, which allows you expedited security access at select US airport.
Overall, having Global Entry is a great way to help you clear US immigration quickly. In most cases, you’ll be able to bypass the long queues that the US can be notorious for having. Best of all, if you’re accepted, your Global Entry membership is valid for five years and comes with the added bonus of TSA PreCheck.
If you frequently travel to the US, Global Entry is a program to seriously consider. Time is one of the most valuable things, and with the assistance of Global Entry, you can potentially save some.
Featured photo by Katherine Frey/The Washington Post/Getty Images.