Colombia to Join Global Entry Program that Allows Foreign Visitors to Cut Travel Time Through U.S. Airports
Colombia has joined a small list of countries whose citizens are eligible to apply for the Global Entry program that allows travelers to more quickly pass through customs and security in U.S. airports. Beginning today, any Colombian can fill out an application to become pre-approved and therefore be permitted to go directly to an automated kiosk when entering the nation as opposed to waiting in long lines.
Previously, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) only offered its Global Entry program to citizens from Mexico, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Panama, South Korea, and Singapore. Canadians can also use the same kiosks upon entering the country through another “trusted traveler” program offered by the United States. The process of Colombia being added to the list of included nations began in 2014, according to Colombian Foreign Affairs Minister María Ángela Holguín, and was announced as nearing reality last June.
“We’re confident that together, CBP and Colombia can enhance security and facilitate travel between our two countries and together transform the international arrivals process to make it more secure, efficient, and welcoming,” said R. Gil Kerlikowske, commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Colombians can apply for Global Entry online. There is a nonrefundable application fee of $100 USD and processing time can take up to 30 days. Before getting approval, travelers must conduct a 30-minute, in-person interview at one of the agency’s enrollment centers. Though CBP recently opened a temporary center in London, the others are all located in U.S. airports (with one in Puerto Rico), requiring any Colombian traveler who wants to join the program to schedule and arrive at an interview outside of their home country. Anyone with a criminal record, pending investigation, or prior customs violation will be denied, according to CBP.
In addition to Global Entry, approved travelers can become a part of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration’s TSA Precheck program. Those pre-screened passengers who become enrolled don’t have to remove their shoes, belts, or light jackets and can leave their laptops and liquids inside their carry-on luggage as they pass through the screening checkpoint on their way to their gate. It costs $85 USD to enroll in TSA Precheck for five years, according to agency.
Global Entry kiosks are located at 49 different airports within the 50 U.S. states, as well as more than a dozen other locations (including several U.S. territories, Canada, Ireland, Abu Dhabi, and various Caribbean islands). CBP says the program has more than three million members and receives another 100,000 new applications each month.
Photo Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection / James Tourtellotte