On February 16, 2016, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will announce that participation in the Global Entry program is open to German citizens traveling to the U.S. in nonimmigrant status. Global Entry is a CBP Trusted Traveler program that allows for expedited clearance of pre-approved, low-risk travelers, and it significantly speeds processing through immigration when returning to the United States. German citizens who want to apply for Global Entry will apply first through an EasyPASS enrollment center in Germany and complete a risk assessment. The German Federal Police will then review the background of each applicant and will notify CBP and the individual of eligibility if that individual is cleared to apply for Global Entry. At that point, the applicant can submit a Global Entry application through CBP’s Global Online Enrollment System (GOES).
Prior to this change, only certain German citizens who had been part of Germany’s ABG Plus trusted traveler program could participate in Global Entry. In addition to German citizens affected by this change, participation in Global Entry is available to U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, as well as nonimmigrants from the UK, the Netherlands, Panama, South Korea, and Mexico. Canadian citizens can obtain Global Entry benefits through the NEXUS program. This expansion of Global Entry should ease travel by German nonimmigrants to the United States, and is part of the gradual expansion of the Global Entry program. Global Entry membership lasts five years, but does not replace the need for ESTA registration or a U.S. visa. If you have questions about Global Entry or travel to the United States, please contact SPS Immigration PLLC.