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.
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 allows expedited entry to the United States, but it is not a substitute for ESTA travel authorisation or a visa (necessary for stays of more than 90 days).
Yes. Every child must undergo a security check. The procedure is the same as for adults. The declaration of consent must be signed by the child’s legal guardian. Children under the age of ten, however, do not require an extract from the criminal records.
Membership in the program is valid for five years from the time of admission to the United States.
The expiry of your passport, ESTA authorisation or visa does not cancel your Global Entry Program membership. Personal data can be updated at any time, either online via the Global Online Enrolment System (GOES) or at an enrolment centre in the United States.
You have 365 days after registering on the website to fix an appointment with the U.S. authorities.
No. The Global Entry Program is only open to citizens of the states admitted to the program by the U.S.A.
Besides Switzerland, the following countries have been admitted to the Global Entry Program: United States, Argentina, India, Colombia, United Kingdom, Germany, Panama, Singapore, South Korea, Mexico and Taiwan. Nationals of these countries who wish to participate in the program must following the admission procedure of their own country.
The list of countries admitted to the program is available on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website and is updated at regular intervals.
Last modification 18.02.2021