Federal immigration authorities have made some steps towards streamlining the travel process for U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and select foreign nationals through the Global Entry program. Individuals who pass a background check and meet other criteria may receive expedited service from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) when entering the United States. After an initial trial period at several major airports, CBP expanded the program to include some foreign nationals. CBP has now announced that it is expanding Global Entry again to include certain citizens of four countries: Germany, Qatar, South Korea, and the United Kingdom. The program does not confer any immigration benefit itself. Travelers from participating countries must still obtain visas authorizing entry. In this way, Global Entry is different from the Visa Waiver program, which allows individuals from approved countries to enter without first obtaining a visa.
Enrollment in Global Entry requires submission of an application to CBP, payment of a $100 fee, an interview, and a background check. Approved participants may bypass parts of the customs inspection process upon their arrival at certain U.S. airports, and instead may check in at a Global Entry kiosk. Enrollment lasts five years, after which individuals may pay an additional fee to continue. Initially, only U.S. citizens and permanent residents could participate, and CBP only operated kiosks at a few airports, including New York City’s JFK International Airport. It now has Global Entry kiosks at Newark Liberty International Airport and other airports around the country. It expanded the program several years ago to include certain citizens of the Netherlands and qualifying Mexican nationals.
CBP announced in August 2013 that it is adding four more countries to the Global Entry program, although enrollment will be limited to qualifying individuals. Individuals from Germany and the Republic of Korea, commonly known as South Korea, may apply to participate in Global Entry if they qualify for similar programs in their own countries. Citizens of the United Kingdom who regularly travel to the United States may also apply, as may certain citizens of Qatar. CBP states that it plans on expanding access to Global Entry to all British, German, and Qatari citizens. It also expects Germany and South Korea to open access to its programs to U.S. citizens enrolled in Global Entry.
The Global Entry program should not be confused with the Visa Waiver program, which allows individuals from select countries to travel to the U.S. for up to ninety days for business or tourism. The Department of State currently lists thirty-seven countries included in the Visa Waiver program, including Germany, the Netherlands, South Korea, and the United Kingdom. People traveling to the U.S. with a visa waiver from these four countries may be able to apply separately to the Global Entry program.
The immigration attorneys at Samuel C. Berger, P.C. represent immigrants who live in New York and New Jersey, prospective immigrants who wish to move here, family members who want to bring a loved one to the U.S., and employers seeking to hire talent from abroad. We help immigrants obtain visas and green cards, and we advise families and businesses on how to help immigrants come here. Contact us today online or at (212) 380-8117 to schedule a confidential consultation with a member of our legal team.
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Benefits of Immigration Reform to New Jersey’s Economy, New York & New Jersey Immigration Lawyer Blog, July 11, 2013
Requesting Expedited Processing of an EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Petition, New York & New Jersey Immigration Lawyer Blog, May 15, 2013
Photo credit: By James R. Tourtellotte [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.