Friday, December 16, 2011

The Global Entry Program

I recently enrolled in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Global Entry program. It was a lot easier and quicker than I thought it would be.

Global Entry allows you to bypass the regular immigration line when flying into the U.S. from overseas (not including Canada or Mexico) and enter using your passport at a Kiosk (plus a scan of your fingerprints). After immigration, you can still get searched at customs, of course, but CBP puts a "CBP" sticker on your passport that's supposed to show the custom's agent and help move things more quickly there as well. We'll see.

Maybe because I lead such a boring life it's clear from the get-go that I'm a "low-risk traveler." But it took me maybe a week from application to approval - and it would have taken even a shorter time if I had been able to get to a major airport sooner than the week after I applied. (At the CBP office at the airport they took my fingerprints and my photo.)

The application asks for somewhat more information than, say, a credit card application, but it's a lot shorter than, say, a mortgage application. It took me maybe 30 minutes to fill out the application on-line.


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