On August 9, 2013, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that eligibility for the Global Entry program will be expanded to include certain citizens of the Republic of Korea, Germany, Qatar and the United Kingdom. The program was previously limited to U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, U.S. lawful permanent residents, Mexican nationals and certain eligible citizens from the Netherlands. Additional details of the August 9 announcement are detailed in the Federal Register Notice.

Global Entry is a voluntary program that allows expedited clearance of pre-approved, low-risk travelers arriving in the United States at Global Entry kiosks located at designated airports. Program participants proceed to Global Entry kiosks, present their machine-readable passport or U.S. permanent resident card, place their fingertips on the scanner for fingerprint verification, and make a customs declaration. The kiosk issues the traveler a transaction receipt and directs the traveler to baggage claim and the exit.

CBP's expansion of eligibility for the Global Entry program includes the following:

  • Citizens of the Republic of Korea who participate in Korea's Smart Entry System (SES) traveler program
  • A limited number of German citizens who participate in Germany's Automated and Biometrics-Supported Border Controls (ABG) Plus traveler program*
  • A limited number of citizens of the State of Qatar*
  • A limited number of citizens of the United Kingdom who frequently travel to the United States*

* Although eligibility is limited to certain citizens of Germany, Qatar and the United Kingdom, CBP has noted that it expects to expand eligibility to all citizens of these countries at a later date. 

For example, the limited expansion to citizens of the UK is part of the International Expedited Travelers (IET) Initiative, an international trusted traveler program entered into among the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, CBP and the United Kingdom Home Office, and the United Kingdom Border Agency of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (United Kingdom Border Agency). In furtherance of the IET initiative and now through the August 9 announcement, CBP is expanding eligibility for Global Entry to only certain citizens of the United Kingdom at this time. This limited class will include those UK citizens identified as frequent travelers to the United States and who receive special enrollment information, including a CBP promotional code from a British airline carrier, the U.S. Embassy or CBP.

The IET Initiative is intended to offer expedited travel for low-risk citizens of the United Kingdom into the United States and low-risk U.S. citizens into the United Kingdom, who meet the program requirements, including the successful completion of a thorough risk assessment by both CBP and the United Kingdom Border Agency. In the August 9 Federal Register Notice, after receiving the promotional code, the UK citizen may then apply for Global Entry as follows:

  • In order to participate, those individuals will be required to complete the online application located on the GOES website, pay the non-refundable Global Entry fee, and satisfy all the requirements of Global Entry, including an in-person interview with CBP. These applicants will be required to enter the code during the application process. The code must be used within the specified time period and can only be used once. Citizens of the UK also must obtain a police certificate to be presented to a CBP officer at the time of the interview to demonstrate that they have no criminal history.
  • Applicants will be permitted to participate in Global Entry only upon successful completion of a thorough risk assessment by both CBP and the United Kingdom Border Agency and completion of an interview with CBP. The vetting criteria have been mutually agreed upon by both agencies and are consistent with applicable domestic laws and policies. CBP will notify the applicants regarding whether or not they have been accepted into Global Entry.
  • Although CBP is expanding Global Entry to permit a limited number of citizens of the UK  to apply for Global Entry at this time to allow for the development of the program's infrastructure, CBP expects to be able to expand eligibility to apply for Global Entry to include all British citizens in the near future. CBP will announce such expansion by notice in the Federal Register and on http://www.globalentry.gov/.

See the August 9, 2013, Federal Register Notice for more information.

Travelers who wish to participate in the Global Entry program must be pre-approved. All applicants undergo a rigorous background check and interview before enrollment. The eligibility criteria for the Global Entry program are set forth in detail at http://www.globalentry.gov/. Individuals deemed inadmissible to the United States under U.S. immigration law are ineligible to participate, and applications from individuals that have been convicted of a criminal offense or found in violation of customs or immigration law, or of any criminal law, may be rejected. Furthermore, if CBP determines that an applicant presents a potential risk of terrorism or criminality, the application will not be accepted.

In addition, CBP announced that U.S. citizens who participate in Global Entry may apply for membership in Korea's SES program, while a limited number of U.S. citizens participating in Global Entry will have the option to apply for membership in Germany's ABG Plus traveler program. U.S. citizens participating in Global Entry will have the option to apply for participation in Qatar and the United Kingdom's respective trusted travel programs, once such programs are established.