USA: Australians to get US Global Entry?
The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) runs a program for expedited clearance of low-risk travellers using electronic kiosks at select USA and overseas airports. You need to be pre-approved for this process, and only citizens of certain countries are eligible.
Quoting from the CBP website:
‘At airports, program members proceed to Global Entry kiosks, present their machine-readable passport or U.S. permanent resident card, place their fingerprints on the scanner for fingerprint verification and complete a customs declaration. The kiosk issues the traveler a transaction receipt and directs the traveler to baggage claim and the exit.’US Customs and Border Protection website
You need to be pre-approved, and even if you qualify, you can still be subject to ‘further examination’ on entering the USA.
For anyone who has entered the USA in the last 20 years, you will know it can be a time consuming, and unpleasant process, so the ability to avoid long queues, filling in paperwork, and be eligible for TSA PreCheck is quite attractive.
You need to apply and be pre-approved for the Global Entry program. Its a little more complicated than putting your hand up though. There is a rigorous background check and a face to face interview before you can be enrolled in the Global Entry program. Sometimes this interview will be done the next time you enter the USA.
To be eligible for the program, as well as having a qualifying nationality (Australians don’t qualify at the moment) you need to be clean of criminal record, customs or immigration incidents as well as a whole bunch of other stuff.
This program is the way to fast-track your security screening. For a US$100 fee, you get 5 years of membership which means you no longer have to remove your shoes, laptops, liquids, belts and jackets when heading through security at selected airports.
Global Entry trial for 500 Australians
A pilot of the scheme for Australians was originally announced for 2019, but now it is reported that the Australian Border Force (ABF) has come to an agreement with CBP in the US on the steps required to implement the trial in 2020.
There is no publicly available timetable for the trial as yet or details of how and who can apply. Maybe a call to Peter Dutton’s office if you’re that keen?
The USA Global Entry program has been running for more than 10 years, and UK citizens, for example, have been eligible since 2015. In my opinion, it’s way beyond time for Australian eligibility for Global Entry and TSA PreCheck, especially as we are one of the USA’s most faithful (sheepdog like, even) allies.