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Global Entry Trusted Traveler Program Hits Major Milestone

By / Nov 20, 2013 (photo via U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Facebook page)

Three months after U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced an expansion of the international “trusted traveler” program, its enrollment has reached 1 million. Travel groups say the program’s benefits—both economic and in convenience—are clear.

If you’re using a kiosk upon re-entry into the U.S., you’re one in a million (literally).

A program designed to pre-approve low-risk international passengers who travel heavily (think globe-hopping meetings pros) and want to save a few minutes getting through U.S. Customs just hit the 1 million traveler mark. More details below:

A growth milestone: Last week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that the Global Entry program had signed up its 1 millionth “trusted traveler” since the program’s start in 2008. Participants pay a $100 application fee and go through an online survey, background check, and in-person interview in exchange for an easier customs process. Enrollment is valid for five years and automatically enters travelers into the TSA Pre-Check program. According to CBP Acting Commissioner Thomas S. Winkowski, the milestone reflects the program’s success: “Global Entry is a vital part of CBP’s efforts to maximize resources to facilitate the thousands of travelers that enter the country every day while enhancing border security at airports,” Winkowski said in a statement.

Travel groups excited: Two leading travel associations were among the groups cheering Global Entry’s success. The Global Business Travel Association noted that the program is perfectly suited for its target audience. “Low-risk, high-frequency international business travelers are the perfect fit for quick, secure customs clearance on arrival at U.S. airports and at preclearance airports,” GBTA Executive Director Michael W. McCormick said. “That means one less travel hassle for these busy road warriors and one more win for the nation’s economy. Innovative trusted traveler programs like Global Entry that encourage, rather than discourage, business travel to the United States are essential to our ability to compete in the global marketplace.” The U.S. Travel Association (USTA), meanwhile, said the news suggests a long future for the program. “Global Entry works,” said USTA President Roger Dow. “It simultaneously improves security and efficiency and should be expanded by making travelers from more countries eligible for enrollment.”

CBP expanded the Global Entry program three months ago to include additional countries, including the United Kingdom, Qatar, Germany, and South Korea.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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