Grand Portage Pigeon River border crossing offers Global Entry Protection program

For the cost of $100 and a clean background check one can make traveling through U.S. borders much quicker and less stressful when entering the United States at larger international airports, said Brian King, port director/public affairs liaison for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency.  King, who is located in Warroad, Minnesota, was in Grand Portage on Thursday, May 29 to unveil the Global Entry Protection program to the staff at the Pigeon River border crossing.

Begun in April 2008 as a pilot program at the John F. Kennedy International airport in Jamaica, New York, and two other airports, Global Entry is one of four “Trusted Traveler” programs U.S. Customs and Border Protection uses throughout the country and abroad to screen pre-identified, lower risk populations.

“These programs allow our CBP officers to quickly process low risk travelers,” King explained.

Interested individuals must apply online, said King, and undergo a background investigation and complete an in-person interview with a CBP officer. If no disqualifying information is found, travelers will get a Global Entry card they can use at nearly 300 kiosks located at 34 U.S. airports and 10 preclearance locations in Canada and Ireland.

The $100 application fee allows for a five years of membership, “but if the applicant doesn’t pass the security check, it’s non-refundable,” said King.

CBP Officers at Grand Portage will each receive several days of training to learn the new protocol. In Warroad, all of the agents have been trained in the Global Entry Program, said King.

Global Entry has reduced wait times more than 70 percent with more than 75 percent of travelers using their cards to pass through the check-in gate in less than five minutes.

Some other advantages of using the pre-check expedited screening lanes include bypassing the passport line, keeping your shoes, belt, and light outerwear jacket on. You can leave your laptop in your bag too, said King.

While the  program aid travelers, they also cut the costs to the government. As of May 7, 2013, Global Entry kiosks had been used 4,624,544 times by GEP members, saving approximately 20,580 inspection hours for CBP officers.