There has a decent amount of press over the past year on the new registered traveler program, launched by U.S. Customs and Border Protection to move pre-vetted international travelers more quickly through immigration processing upon return to the U.S.
Global Entry was launched in the summer at three airports and has now expanded to seven locations: New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Washington Dulles International Airport, Los Angeles International, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, Chicago O’Hare International and Miami International. CBP plans on having 20 airports operational by the end of 2009.
However, despite the solid nature of the program, enrollment numbers have been quite low – around 5000 at last count. To CBP’s great credit, they have recognized that bringing in one traveler at a time to the CBP offices in the basement of airports is not a way to grow the program quickly. So they have purchased and customized about a dozen “jump kits” to bring the interview and fingerprinting process directly to the customer.
Last week, CBP conducted the first actual on-site Global Entry enrollment at a National Business Travel Association committee meeting in Old Town Alexandria. Each applicant had to fill out the application on-line ahead of time, but the quick interview and fingerprint was done by bringing meeting participants out one a time to a controlled interview environment. The participants found the process friendly and much less disruptive than coordinating an interview at an airport location.
CBP envisions taking the Global Entry enrollment to large conventions or to corporations whose travel managers can deliver a large batch of customers at once. At $100 for a five-year enrollment period, Global Entry is a good deal, especially if the enrollment process comes to you. For more information, see here.