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The Global Entry Program: An Expedited Clearance Process for Pre-Approved Travelers
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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has recently announced the publication of a final rule that would establish as a permanent program, the ‘Global Entry’, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) voluntary initiative that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers. The final rule establishes Global Entry as an ongoing voluntary regulatory program that is aimed at streamlining the international arrivals and admission process at Global Entry airports for trusted travelers through biometric identification. The final rule becomes effective on March 7, 2012.

The CBP Global Entry program offers quicker processing at select U.S. Ports of Entry for pre-approved, low-risk air travelers by providing an expedited inspection and examination process that allows them to proceed directly to automated Global Entry kiosks upon their arrival in the United States at Global Entry-equipped Ports of Entry. For the benefit of frequent travelers, we present here, an overview of the Global Entry program.


The Global Entry program has been modeled after the Global Entry pilot program, which has operated since June 6, 2008. DHS had earlier published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register on November 19, 2009, proposing to establish an international trusted traveler program called Global Entry, and this final rule adopts the same, with some changes. The only significant change is that minors under the age limit of 14 are now permitted to apply to the Global Entry program.

General Eligibility for Global Entry

The following individuals, who hold a valid, machine-readable passport, or a valid, machine-readable U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident Card (Form I–551) [Green Card], or other appropriate travel document as determined by CBP, may apply to participate in Global Entry:

  1. U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, and U.S. lawful permanent residents, who are not otherwise disqualified;

  2. Certain nonimmigrant aliens from countries that have entered into arrangements with CBP concerning international trusted traveler programs, who are not otherwise disqualified;

    Note: Individuals from a country that has entered into such an arrangement with CBP may be eligible to apply for participation in Global Entry only after CBP announces the arrangement by publication of a notice in the Federal Register.

  3. Persons under the age of 18 who meet the eligibility criteria above, must have the consent of a parent or legal guardian to participate in Global Entry and provide proof of such consent in accordance with CBP instructions.

    Note: An individual will be ineligible to participate in Global Entry if CBP, at its sole discretion, determines that the individual presents a potential risk for terrorism, criminality, or is otherwise not a low-risk traveler.

  4. Global Entry Eligibility for Qualified Citizens of the Netherlands:

    Qualified citizens of the Netherlands who participate in Privium, an expedited travel program in the Netherlands, may apply for participation in the Global Entry program. CBP is currently accepting applications from eligible citizens of the Netherlands for the Global Entry pilot and will continue to accept such applications as Global Entry becomes an ongoing program. Applicants who are citizens of the Netherlands will be required to complete the Global Entry online application, pay the non-refundable $100 applicant processing fee, and satisfy all the requirements of the Global Entry program.

    Note 1: The Netherlands is also a participant in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). The ESTA requirements will continue to be applicable to Global Entry applicants who are VWP travelers. Global Entry applicants from the Netherlands who wish to travel to the United States under the VWP must have an approved ESTA when applying for Global Entry.

    Note 2: U.S. citizens who participate in Global Entry will have the option to also apply to join Privium, an automated border passage system in the Netherlands that provides expedited entry and exit at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. Additional fees and information sharing beyond CBP’s Global Entry requirements are needed for U.S. citizens who wish to participate in Privium through Global Entry, and if approved, they would be able to take advantage of expedited travel into, and out of, the Netherlands at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

  5. Global Entry Eligibility for Qualified Mexican Nationals:

    Qualified Mexican nationals may also apply to join the Global Entry program. CBP is currently accepting applications from eligible Mexican nationals for the Global Entry pilot and will continue to accept such applications as Global Entry becomes an ongoing program. Mexican nationals will be required to complete the Global Entry online application, pay the non-refundable $100 per person applicant processing fee, and satisfy all the requirements of the Global Entry program.

    Note: U.S. citizens who participate in the Global Entry program will have the option to apply for participation in Mexico’s trusted traveler program, once such a program is developed.

  6. Global Entry Privileges for NEXUS and SENTRI Trusted Traveler Programs:

    Members in good standing of NEXUS and SENTRI are also permitted to use Global Entry kiosks as part of their NEXUS or SENTRI membership.

Global Entry Program Application

  1. Each applicant must complete and submit the program application electronically through an approved application process as determined by CBP. Each applicant must pay a prescribed non- refundable fee at the time of application.

  2. After submitting the Global Entry application, the applicant will be notified by CBP to schedule an in-person interview at a Global Entry enrollment center. Each applicant must bring to the interview with CBP the original of the identification document specified in his or her application. During the interview, CBP will collect biometric information from the applicant to conduct background checks or as otherwise required for participation in the program.

Arrival Procedures at U.S. Port-of Entry

Participants in Global Entry will use an automated kiosk to expedite their admission to the United States, and follow the on-screen instructions, and declare all articles being brought into the United States.

Note: A Global Entry participant will be redirected to the nearest open passport control primary inspection station if the participant declares any commercial samples, or items that exceed the applicable personal exemption amount; more than $10,000 or foreign equivalent in any form; or any restricted/prohibited goods, such as agricultural products, firearms, mace, pepper spray, endangered animals, birds, controlled substances, fireworks, Cuban goods, and plants.

Other Features of Global Entry Program

  1. Every applicant accepted into Global Entry is accepted for a period of 5 years provided participation is not suspended or terminated by CBP prior to the end of the 5-year period.

  2. Each applicant may apply to renew participation up to one year prior to the close of the participation period.

  3. Global Entry participants must provide fingerprint biometrics at the time of the personal interview and again at the kiosk at the airport.

  4. Current participants in the Global Entry pilot, including those citizens of the Netherlands and Mexican nationals who participate through joint arrangements with those countries, will be automatically enrolled in the Global Entry program for five years from the date of their initial enrollment in the pilot.

  5. The program will initially be limited to the twenty Global Entry airports that have participated in the Global Entry pilot, which are:

    1. John F. Kennedy International Airport, Jamaica, New York (JFK);
    2. George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston, Texas (IAH);
    3. Washington Dulles International Airport, Sterling, Virginia (IAD);
    4. Los Angeles International Airport, Los Angeles, California (LAX);
    5. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Atlanta, Georgia (ATL);
    6. Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Chicago, Illinois (ORD);
    7. Miami International Airport, Miami, Florida (MIA);
    8. Newark Liberty International Airport, Newark, New Jersey (EWR);
    9. San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco, California (SFO);
    10. Orlando International Airport, Orlando, Florida (MCO);
    11. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, Romulus, Michigan (DTW);
    12. Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, Dallas, Texas (DFW);
    13. Honolulu International Airport, Honolulu, Hawaii (HNL);
    14. Boston—Logan International Airport, Boston, Massachusetts (BOS);
    15. Las Vegas—McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas, Nevada (LAS);
    16. Sanford— Orlando International Airport, Sanford, Florida (SFB);
    17. Seattle—Tacoma International Airport-SEATAC, Seattle, Washington (SEA);
    18. Philadelphia International Airport, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (PHL);
    19. San Juan—Luis Munos Marin International Airport, San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU); and
    20. Ft. Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport, Fort Lauderdale, Florida (FLL).

    A Global Entry kiosk is also available at the private aircraft terminal, General Aviation Facility (GAF), at Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport.

  6. Each successful use of Global Entry constitutes a separate and completed inspection and application for entry by the participant on the date that Global Entry is used. However, Global Entry participants may also be subject to further CBP examination and inspection at any time during the arrival process.


It is estimated that Global Entry program would speed up the CBP processing time for participating air travelers by more than 70%, and provide an expedited inspection and examination process for pre-approved, low-risk air travelers resulting in clear savings in time for a typical participant. Participation in Global Entry program is voluntary and subject to the participant continuing to satisfy the program’s entry requirements. Considering the possibility of faster processing under the Global Entry program, it is expected that the program will mostly likely appeal to those travelers who plan to make multiple trips over 5 years from participating airports.  

Contact VisaPro if you have any questions regarding the Global Entry program or any type of employment based or family based petitions and visas. Our experienced attorneys will be happy to assist you.

The above article is brought to you by "". VisaPro’s US Immigration Lawyer Services include H-1BK-1 VisaK-3L-1Green CardE-3 and over 100 Immigration Services.

The information in this article is not intended to be legal advice. If you have questions specific to your case, we suggest that you consult with the experienced immigration attorneys at 

Visit VisaPro regularly for updates and the latest immigration news at

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