U.S. citizens need not apply. Seriously. It’s really too bad I can’t commence this entire post in a British accent, but I would if I could, so let’s cue David Tennant’s rendition of Doctor Who for good effect.
Starting last month, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is finally allowing British citizens to sign up for Global Entry, which is this glorious thing that lets you walk through customs in the blink of an eye and keep your shoes on. The only thing is, at this current stage in the game, not only do you have to go through a background check similar to the ones that American citizens have to go through, but you’ll also need access to a promo code in order to apply.
Just to be clear, this is not a code for a discount off the $100 Global Entry application fee (I totally wish!), but a code that enables UK citizens to sign up for the program. (It’s actually been in trial for a while, but this is the first time it’s been “officially” available, whatever that means.)
Obtaining the code seems to be pretty straightforward. While it seems to be available for frequent fliers who have Gold status or above on British Airways (you have to be Gold status or above), it also seems like the offer is available to any Joe Schmoe as long as he holds a UK passport. Basically, you’ll have to email Larry Panetta, the Global Entry program manager, at Larry.Panetta@dhs.gov explaining that you are a British citizen who frequently travels to the U.S. and would like to enroll in the program.
While I didn’t e-mail Larry personally myself (first, I already have Global Entry, and second, I don’t like messing with the government), response seems to fairly quick and straightforward by all accounts. Sample e-mails being sent out from the U.S. Customs office look like this:
CBP would like to invite you to participate in this pilot program. To apply, please go to the Global Entry web site (www.globalentry.gov) and click on the “Apply Now” button. In order to submit your application, you will need a promotional code. Your promotional code is [redacted]. Please note that promotional codes are unique, and can only be used once. The code will expire on December 31, 2013, so you must apply before that date.
It generally seems that you’ll have to apply before the end of the year to qualify for the program. I’m not sure if this is when the homeland will start removing the code restriction, though word on the street is that CBP plans to expand PreCheck to at least 25% of all travelers by the end of the year.
Anyone who is a citizen of the Republic of Korea, Germany, and Qatar is also eligible to apply, though I’m not sure what the exact hoops are to get in.
UPDATE: Commenter Mr. Grumpy has reported this avenue is no longer available.
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