OK, I admit I am not very good at the “Flash to bang” on this story since several of the Boarding Area bloggers have already published this story. However, since it applies to so many countries where Service Members live, I thought it worthy to bring to your attention.
First of all, for those of you who have not heard of the Global Entry program, it is a recently established U.S. program to expedite your re-entry through Customs. For a $100 fee, background check, and a personal TSA interview you get a card good for five years. This is a pretty good deal because for $20/ year you not only get to bypass Customs by going to a special kiosk and answering a few questions, but you can also use TSA Pre-Check at all 40 airports where it currently exists.
Now the program is growing. Here is a great summary of the changes from the NY Times.
Global Entry Program ExpandsBy TANYA MOHN
“Global Entry, a program that allows preapproved, low-risk travelers entering the United States to bypass customs agents and be screened at automated kiosks, has expanded to include more international travelers.
Qualified citizens from the United Kingdom, Germany, the Republic of Korea and Qatar are now eligible to apply for Global Entry membership, one of several United States “trusted traveler” programs to expedite security screening.
In addition, some current Global Entry members can now apply for similar streamlined entry programs offered by Korea and Germany.
Created as a pilot program in 2008 to facilitate international travelers as quickly and securely as possible, Global Entry is administered by United States Customs and Border Protection, part of the Department of Homeland Security.
Before the addition of four new countries that formally began Aug. 9, United States citizens, legal permanent residents and some citizens of the Netherlands, Mexico and Canada were eligible to apply or have benefits. Currently, nearly 300 Global Entry kiosks are available at 34 American airports and 10 preclearance locations in Ireland and Canada, serving 98 percent of all incoming air travelers, said Stephanie Malin, a spokeswoman for the agency.”
The reason that this is applicable to a lot of Service Members is that many are married to citizens of the UK, Germany, and South Korea. Getting this program for a spouse from one of these countries will probably be very welcomed as it eliminates an enormous amount of waiting. With Sequestration, U.S. CBP is really slowing down the time to get through all entry points although I understand they are assigning priority to some heavy ports of entry such as LAX and Miami.
I should also note that if you qualify for United 1K, United will pay the $100 fee. That’s how I got mine.