US: Global Entry program opens to all eligible citizens of Germany

Beginning February 16, 2016, qualified German citizens can apply for membership in the Global Entry trusted traveller program, according to a Federal Register notice slated for publication next week. Successful applicants benefit from expedited immigration and customs clearance when they enter the United States through a participating airport.

Global Entry membership was previously open to a limited number of German citizens who participated in ABG Plus, Germany’s former trusted traveller program, through a pilot conducted in 2013. 

Qualified U.S. citizens are now eligible to apply for membership in EasyPASS, Germany’s expedited entry program for pre-screened travellers.

How to Apply for Global Entry Membership

German citizens interested in Global Entry membership must visit an EasyPASS enrolment centre in Germany and complete a risk assessment by the German Federal Police. The Federal Police will vet each applicant and notify both U.S. Customs and Border Control (CBP) and the individual of eligibility to apply for Global Entry. The individual will then set up an account in GOES (CBP’s online application portal), complete an application, and pay a $100 non-refundable fee. 

Applicants are subject to background checks and an in-person interview conducted by CBP. Once the background check is complete, CBP will notify applicants whether or not they have been accepted into the program. 

Global Entry membership is valid for five years, though a violation of program rules could result in revocation of membership privileges. After the second year of membership, German citizens will be notified by CBP that they must revisit an EasyPASS enrolment centre to be vetted once again by the German Federal Police.

German citizens who participated in the former pilot program will continue their Global Entry membership through the initial five-year validity period, and are not subject to revetting during this period.  

Using Global Entry

Upon arrival to the United States, Global Entry members use an automated airport kiosk to undergo customs and immigration inspection. Members scan their passports, are fingerprinted and photographed, and complete an on-screen customs declaration. If a traveller clears automated inspection, the kiosk issues a transaction receipt and directs the traveller to baggage claim. Non-immigrants receive an I-94 arrival record from the kiosk. Those who do not clear automated inspection are referred to a CBP officer. 

What This Means for Foreign Nationals

The long-awaited expansion of Global Entry will allow eligible German citizens to avoid long inspection lines and benefit from faster customs and immigration processing upon entry to the United States. They may also be eligible to be selected for expedited security screening at U.S. airports through the TSA Pre-Check program.