San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Too much time in U.S. customs? Border protection has solution

Those wading through United States customs this holiday season may have noticed fellow travelers bypassing the line by swiping their passport at a Global Entry kiosk.

The Global Entry program, which has been expanded to 20 United States airports, is quickly becoming ‘the fast pass’ for frequent international travelers. The purpose of the program is to help frequent fliers pass through customs quickly.

In order to qualify, travelers must submit an application online, be present for an interview and pay a $100 fee. Once approved, the traveler may use Global Entry for a period of five years.

The application process itself is a tedious, multi-step process that asks applicants to record five-year employment history, a five-year history on places lived and a list of countries visited in the past five years, among other information. During the interview, applicants will have a digital photo and fingerprints taken.

According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website, Global Entry is intended to expedite “clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States.” The program is open to U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents and citizens of other countries.  

Similar programs have long-existed for border crossings from Mexico and Canada. The more global ‘fast pass’ was preceded by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service-operated INSPASS during the 1990s and early 2000s.  

Look for Global Entry at Boston-Logan International Airport (BOS), Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW), Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW), Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport (FLL), George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston (IAH), Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Honolulu International Airport (HNL), John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York (JFK), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas (LAS), Miami International Airport (MIA), Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), Orlando International Airport (MCO), Orlando-Sanford International Airport (SFB), Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), San Francisco International Airport (SFO), San Juan-Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport (SJU), Seattle-Tacoma International Airport-SeaTac (SEA) and the Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD).

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