Frequently asked questions and answers on the U.S. Global Entry Program

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) introduced the Global Entry Program to facilitate entry to the U.S.A. at select airports for frequent travelers. On admittance to the program travelers can enter the country using an automatic kiosk.

To participate in the Global Entry Program you must undergo a security check. First, fedpol runs a check on you in various police databases. Afterwards, the U.S. authorities run their own security check and decide independently on your admission to the program. You can read about the application procedure here.

The application procedure involves time and money. Therefore, it is only worthwhile if you travel to the U.S.A. several times a year. You must also be aware that participation in the program means that you must undergo a security check by the police in Switzerland and the U.S.A., and that you must consent to your personal data being transmitted to the U.S. authorities. U.S. data protection regulations are not as strict as in Switzerland.

For the pre-clearance check in Switzerland fedpol charges a fee of CHF 100. The U.S. authorities charge USD 100 for participating in the program.

Your personal data is checked against the RIPOL and SIS databases. You must give fedpol your consent to undertake this check. You can find the appropriate Declaration of Consent here, which explains the application procedure.

If you are not registered in any of the police databases fedpol discloses your surname, first name(s), date of birth and passport number to the appropriate U.S. authority.

U.S. data protection laws are not as comprehensive as in Switzerland. Participants in the program must be aware that any personal data disclosed to the U.S. authorities is no longer under the control of fedpol or the program participant. Under U.S. legislation the data may be transmitted to other U.S. agencies or used by CBP for other purposes.

Applications are processed on receipt. Security checks are carried out on an individual basis. The procedure generally takes a few weeks.

No. You can only register for the U.S. security check once you have a (positive) reply from fedpol.

Yes. The Global Entry Program expedites entry into the U.S.A. but does not replace a U.S. visa or ESTA travel authorization.

You can order an extract from the Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) here.

Yes. Minors are subject to an individual security check. The procedure is the same as for adults. The Declaration of Consent for minors must be signed by the minorʼs legal guardian. And minors also require a criminal records’ extract.

On admission to the program participation is valid for five years. It expires five years after the participant’s next birthday following acceptance onto the program.

Participation in the Global Entry Program does not expire if your passport, visa or ESTA expires. Your personal data can be updated online via the member’s Global Online Enrollment System (GOES) account or at an enrollment center at any time.

Once you register on the CBP website you have 120 days to make an appointment with the U.S. authorities. If you do not fix an appointment within this time limit, participation in the program expires.

No. The Global Entry Program is only open to citizens of the states admitted to the program by the U.S.A.

Besides participation by Swiss nationals, the citizens of the following countries are admitted to the program: Argentina, India, USA, Germany, Great Britain, Colombia, Panama, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. Citizens of these countries must apply for admission to the program in their own country.

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