UK citizens will be very pleased to learn that US Customs and Border Protection announced this week the expansion of Global Entry to all eligible UK citizens. Global Entry, a CBP Trusted Traveler Program, allows for “expedited clearance of pre-approved, low-risk travelers,” and comes highly recommended.
“CBP is excited to expand our partnership with the United Kingdom on this flagship program by offering Global Entry to UK citizens,” said CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske in the press release. “Through this cooperation, CBP’s Global Entry and the UK Border Force Registered Traveller programs will enhance security and better facilitate travel between our two countries.”
Since nearly five million Britons visited the United States (in Fiscal Year 2015) and more than 125,000 of those visitors traveled to the United States four or more times, opening the expedited trusted traveler program to UK nationals makes perfect sense. The pilot program launched in May 2011 allowed a limited number of UK citizens to participate in Global Entry as the first phase of the Global Entry partnership.
Beginning December 3, UK citizens can register for Global Entry. To register, UK citizens should do the following:
- Apply through the UK Home Office website and pay a £42 processing fee for the vetting process;
- If the applicant passes, they will receive a “UK Access Code,” which applicants will enter when applying for Global Entry through CBP’s Global Online Enrollment System (GOES);
- Apply online and pay the $100 non-refundable application fee for a five-year Global Entry membership;
- If the application is approved, a CBP officer will conduct a scheduled interview with the applicant and then make a final eligibility determination.
Global Entry is currently available at forty-six US airports and thirteen preclearance locations (including in Shannon and Dublin, Ireland, the closest preclearance locations to the UK) and has over 2.5 million members. While the goal of Global Entry is to speed qualified travelers through the screening process, no Global Entry member is guaranteed expedited screening and members may be selected for further examination when entering the United States. Moreover, any violation of the program’s terms and conditions will result in “appropriate enforcement action and revocation of the traveler’s membership privileges.”
Upon arrival at an airport, members can head directly to a Global Entry kiosk and do not have to complete any forms on the plane. Once they scan their passport into the kiosk, the computer pulls up the flight information (which the applicant must verify), scans fingerprints, and captures a photo. The member answers a few questions about whether they are bringing in any banned items and the machine prints out a piece of paper with the member’s photo, indicating that the member has been cleared. (If a traveler is not cleared, the machine will provide a receipt with a big “X” on it, indicating the passenger requires additional inspection.) With the white paper in hand, applicants can use a separate line at Customs after picking up their luggage.
In addition to US and UK nationals, the Global Entry program is open to lawful permanent residents (i.e. Green Card holders), Dutch citizens, South Korean citizens, and Mexican nationals. Canadian citizens and residents may enjoy Global Entry benefits through membership in the NEXUS program.
US citizens who travel at least four times to the UK per year should note they can enroll in Registered Traveller, the UK trusted traveler program. The service costs £70 to apply and an additional £50 a year thereafter; however, if the application is unsuccessful, the applicant will receive £50 back. Members enrolled in Registered Traveller may use E-gates at airports in the United Kingdom. Which will leave them more time to have a pint and a Shepherd’s pie.