Global Entry: How to get it and keep it for faster entry into the United States

BY Rachel S. Winkler

Global Entry is a discretionary program offered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as part of their Trusted Traveler Programs, allowing for an expedited immigration customs process upon entering the United States. CBP's Trusted Traveler Programs are risk-based programs to facilitate the entry of pre-approved travelers. Global Entry is specifically geared towards "low-risk" international travelers. Instead of waiting in a long customs line, Global Entry members proceed to designated kiosks, present their machine-readable passport or U.S. permanent resident card, place their fingerprints on the scanner for fingerprint verification and complete a customs declaration all at once, and within seconds receive a transaction receipt and move onto baggage claim.

What constitutes a low-risk traveler?

CBP takes a hardline stance on what constitutes "low-risk." All applicants must pass a rigorous process including a thorough background check against criminal, law enforcement, customs, immigration, agriculture, and terrorist indices to include biometric fingerprint checks, and a personal interview with a CBP officer. Even meeting all of the eligibility criteria does not guarantee approval or continued participation in the program. Once approved, global entry membership may be revoked if your circumstances change. Specifically, you may be denied membership in the Global Entry program or your approved membership may be revoked if you:

  • Provide false or incomplete information on any visa or customs application;
  • Have been convicted of any criminal offense or have pending criminal charges or outstanding warrants (to include driving under the influence);
  • Have been found in violation of any customs, immigration, or agriculture regulations or laws in any country;
  • Are the subject of an ongoing investigation by any federal, state, or local law enforcement agency;
  • Are inadmissible to the United States under immigration regulation, including applicants with approved waivers of inadmissibility or parole documentation; or
  • Cannot satisfy CBP of your low-risk status.

Eligibility for Global Entry

In order to apply for Global Entry membership, you must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. lawful permanent resident, or a citizen of the following countries:

How to apply

Eligible individuals apply for Global Entry membership through CBP's Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) online account system. Each applicant, regardless of age, must have their own account and must submit a detailed application including travel, personal, family, and professional information along with a $100 application fee. CBP will review each application and if conditionally approved, an applicant will be required to schedule an interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center or through "Enrollment upon Arrival (EoA)" and interview during the applicant's next admissibility inspection when landing in an participating international terminal. To complete the interview, an applicant must be in possession of the following documents:

  • A valid passport. If you travel using more than one passport, please bring them all to the interview so that the information can be added to your file. This provides you with the ability to use multiple passports at the Global Entry kiosk. 
  • One additional form of identification (e.g., Driver's License, National ID Card).
  • Documents providing evidence of residency. Examples are: driver's license (if the address is current), mortgage statement, rental payment statement, utility bill, etc. This is not required for minors.
  • A permanent resident card (if applicable).

Denials or revocations

Because of the discretionary nature of admission into the program, revocations or denials of Global Entry membership applications may be difficult to overcome and can take months to process through government channels with little or no substantive response. However, if you believe the decision was based upon inaccurate or incomplete information, you may request reconsideration through the Trusted Traveler Program application website.

How we can help

Nixon Peabody has successfully helped our clients navigate this bureaucratic process, both to ensure approval with initial membership applications and to overcome denials or revocations in a time sensitive manner through strategic engagement with DHS and CBP authorities when requesting review. Our unique experience at DHS creates a definitive advantage when determining what issues or derogatory information may be impacting an applicant's eligibility or readmission.

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Rachel S. Winkler


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