Global Entry – what it is
Global Entry, simply put, is a scheme run by the US Customs and Border Protection department that allows expeditious clearance for low-risk travellers travelling into the United States. Such entry is also pre-approved. Requiring minimal manual intervention, members of the Global Entry scheme can enter the country through automatic kiosks upon arrival, without having to combat long queues and immigration lines.
This is a part of the Trusted Traveller Program schemes run by the US Customs and Border Protection department that attempts to make life easier for low-risk travellers.
How is the process any different if I have Global Entry Membership?
All you have to do, if you are a part of the Global Entry scheme is show your passport or US permanent residency card to the kiosk, and complete the biometric verification. You will also have to complete the requisite customs declaration. Once this is completed, the kiosk or the teller will issue a transaction receipt. This is pretty much the entire process! Once this is done, you can make your way to collect your bags, and then exit, without too much delay.
While the entire program is meant to make the lives of travellers easier, it is important to keep in mind that there may still be random checks upon entry into the country. Any violation of the Global Entry scheme may not only result in revocation of the membership, but may also involve institution of proceedings against the traveller depending on what the nature of the offense is.
Is it easy to get membership?
While it is not overly complicated to get Global Entry membership purely in terms of the application process, it is important to remember that a rigorous background check will be conducted. Further, a personal interview will also be conducted. Anyone who has pending criminal charges, who has been convicted of offenses, who has been denied licenses to own firearms, and who are involved in significant litigation may find it hard to clear the approval process.
What is the membership fee?
The membership fee to be a part of the Global Entry program is 100$ for a five-year period. It is important to keep in mind that this membership fee is non-refundable, even if your application gets rejected.
What are the perks of this scheme?
The obvious perk of the scheme is that you will no longer have to wait in long lines or queues at the airport. The amount of procedural paperwork that you will have to fill out also remains significantly reduced. This is an ideal plan for those who travel to the US often.