Many travelers from the US have noticed that traveling has become far more complicated in recent years. Due to security concerns, travelers are scrutinized more carefully than ever before, which sometimes lead to travel delays. Even green card holders and those with US citizenship sometimes face long delays and close inspection. Those who are just going through US immigration applications or have US visas are subject to even closer scrutiny. While many travelers are aware that security measures are needed in response to a continued terrorism threat, the delays can be a problem, especially for business travelers and for travelers who travel often.
As well, the truth is that not every traveler is the same threat. Many travelers are in fact very low risk and these travelers can feel harassed and upset at long delays getting back home into the US. A new U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program recognizes this. The program, known as the Global Entry program, allows low-risk travelers to get pre-approved for faster clearance.
Those who are approved for the program can re-enter the US by using a kiosk at an airport to get authorization to re-enter the US. The kiosk reads the traveler’s passport or green card. The screen of the kiosk is used as a fingerprint scanner to verify identity. At the kiosk, the traveler is asked whether they have anything to declare at customs. Once the session is complete, usually in just a few minutes, the machine prints a transaction receipt and the traveler can then exit the airport or claim their baggage and then exit. This is much faster than having to go through customs each time and also frees up U.S. Customs and Border Protection authorities to focus on higher-risk passengers. This can actually help enhance safety for everyone.
The program is intended for those who travel often and internationally. However, you do not have to take a specific number of trips to qualify. If you are a low-risk traveler, you may qualify for the Global Entry program and may be able to get home that much sooner. To qualify for the Global Entry program, participants must attend an interview and pass a background check. To find out if you qualify and how to apply, visit the CBP website for the program (http://www.globalentry.gov/).
Those who take part in the program can still be asked to step aside for further inspection. Therefore, participation in the program does not guarantee a faster processing time at the airport.