Starting December 29, 2010, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) expanded its international trusted traveler pilot program, known as Global Entry, to qualified Mexican nationals. Global Entry allows for the expedited clearance of pre- approved, low-risk travelers into the United States. The program is operational at several major U.S. airports. The program is not for the faint of heart, however, as it involves more elaborate security checks and biometrics features (fingerprints and photos) and zero tolerance for false statements or mistakes in declarations or carrying unauthorized goods. Until now, eligibility has been limited to U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, U.S. lawful permanent residents (LPRs), and certain eligible citizens of the Netherlands. Now, qualified nationals of Mexico who otherwise satisfy the requirements for participation can participate in the Global Entry pilot. Citizens from the Netherlands who participate in Privium, an expedited travel program in the Netherlands, can participate in Global Entry Pilot. Interested persons can submit applications online directly to CBP in order to participate in the program.
In the meantime, there is a comment period as part of the notice and publication process in the Federal Register. Comments should be sent using this label, ”USCBP-2006-0037,” by mail to: Border Security Regulations Branch, Regulations and Rulings, Office of International Trade, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Mint Annex, 799 9th Street, NW., Washington, DC 20229, or comments can be posted online at http://www.regulations.gov (be sure to refer to the same label number above).
Airports with Global Entry kiosks include John F. Kennedy International Airport, Jamaica, New York, Terminal 4 (JFK); the George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston, Texas (IAH); and the Washington Dulles International Airport, Sterling, Virginia (IAD), Los Angeles International Airport, Los Angeles, California (LAX); Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Atlanta, Georgia (ATL); Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Chicago, Illinois (ORD); and Miami International Airport, Miami, Florida (MIA). Newark Liberty International Airport, Newark, New Jersey (EWR); San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco, California (SFO); Orlando International Airport, Orlando, Florida (MCO); Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, Romulus, Michigan (DTW); Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, Dallas, Texas (DFW); Honolulu International Airport, Honolulu, Hawaii (HNL); Boston-Logan International Airport, Boston, Massachusetts (BOS); Las Vegas-McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas, Nevada (LAS); Sanford-Orlando International Airport, Sanford, Florida (SSB); Seattle-Tacoma International Airport-SEATAC, Seattle, Washington (STT); Philadelphia International Airport, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (PHL); San Juan-Luis Munos Marin International Airport, San Juan, Puerto Rico (SAJ) and Ft. Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport, Fort Lauderdale, Florida (FLL).
How the Program Works
Application is made online and security checks are done. Once approved, Global Entry participants become eligible for expedited entry into the United States at any of the designated airport locations by using automated kiosks located in the Federal Inspection Services (FIS) area of each airport. The Global Entry pilot uses fingerprint biometrics technology to verify a participant’s identity and confirm his or her status as a participant.
Global Entry pilot participants do not have to wait in the regular passport control primary inspection lines. After arriving at the FIS area, participants proceed directly to the Global Entry kiosk. A sticker affixed to the participant’s passport at the time of acceptance in the Global Entry pilot provides visual identification that the individual can be referred to the kiosk.
After arriving at the kiosk, participants activate the system by inserting either a machine-readable passport or a machine-readable U.S. permanent resident card (Form I-551) into the document reader. On- screen instructions guide participants to provide fingerprints electronically. These fingerprints are compared with the fingerprint biometrics on file to validate identity and confirm that the individual is a member of the program. Participants are also prompted to look at the camera for a digital photograph and to respond to several customs declaration questions by use of a touch-screen.
When the procedures at the kiosk have been successfully completed, participants are issued a transaction receipt. This receipt must be provided along with the passport or permanent resident card to the CBP Officer at the exit control area who will examine and inspect these documents. CBP officers stationed in booths next to the kiosk lanes also oversee activities at the kiosk.
When using the Global Entry kiosks, Global Entry pilot participants are required to declare all articles being brought into the U.S. pursuant to regulation. If a Global Entry pilot participant declares any of the following, the kiosk redirects that user to the head of the line at the nearest, open passport control, primary inspection station:
(a) Commercial merchandise or commercial samples, or items that exceed the applicable personal exemption amount;
(b) More than $10,000 in currency or other monetary instruments (checks, money orders, etc.), or foreign equivalent in any form; or
(c) Restricted/prohibited goods, such as agricultural products, firearms, mace, pepper spray, endangered animals, birds, controlled substances, fireworks, Cuban goods, and plants.
Global Entry pilot participants may also be subject to further examination and inspection as determined by CBP Officers at any time during the arrival process.
Eventually, CBP plans to extend the program to various nonimmigrant categories. In the meantime, the expansion of the program to Mexican nationals is actually a bi-national agreement between the U.S. and Mexico as Mexico develops a similar program for U.S. citizens visiting that country. The U.S. program will occur in two phases: the first phase offers expedited travel into the United States for Mexican nationals who meet CBP Global Entry program requirements following screening of applicants by both countries. The second phase will be Mexico’s Trusted Traveler Program offering Americans and Mexican nationals expedited travel. Global Entry will not be available to anyone who has any grounds of inadmissibility, and both countries will conduct security checks. Specific details and application procedures can be found on the CBP website’s Global Online Enrollment site for Global Entry.