Indian Passport Holders Will Soon Have Access To Global Entry

Filed Under: Security/TSA

Given how much I travel internationally, Global Entry has saved me dozens and dozens of hours over the years. For those of you not familiar with Global Entry, it’s a trusted traveler program that offers expedited immigration in the United States to pre-screened passengers.

In order to be eligible you have to join Global Entry, pay a fee, get interviewed, etc., but it’s well worth it.

Since Global Entry was introduced, other countries have joined the International Expedited Traveler Initiative, which in some cases has allowed for reciprocal privileges for citizens of other countries. For example, citizens of Colombia, Germany, Mexico, Panama, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom are also eligible for Global Entry now, though the exact terms and requirements vary by country.

For a couple of years now we’ve heard rumors of Indian citizens being eligible for Global Entry, though it hasn’t materialized yet. Oddly when they were first going to introduce this, India was going to create a list of 2,000 people who should be eligible, who they can vouch for personally (presumably politicians, celebrities, etc.), which seems like an odd way of going about it.

Then in June 2016, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the US and India, regarding India joining Global Entry. Nothing ever came of that, though.

Well, with India Prime Minister Modi and US President Trump having met this week in the US, it looks like we might finally see some progress here. The Indian Express reports that Trump formally welcomed India into the International Expedited Traveler Initiative, which should see Indian citizens being eligible for Global Entry:

Applauding the entrepreneurship and innovation of Indians and Indian-Americans that have directly benefitted both nations, President Trump welcomed India’s formal entry into the International Expedited Traveler Initiative (Global Entry program) in order to facilitate closer business and educational ties between the citizens of India and the United States.

This is certainly a step in the right direction, though I still wouldn’t assume that we’ll see this implemented overnight, unfortunately. It could still be weeks, months, or possibly even years, before this is implemented, given the pace at which things move. However, something being “formal” is at least good news. 😉

Are any Indian citizens excited at the prospect of signing up for Global Entry?

(Tip of the hat to Live from a Lounge)

  1. Great news! I travel frequently to the US and my wife and kid are American, so we always end up in separate lines.

  2. Strange that many visa waiver countries aren’t eligible for global entry, and many visa countries have global entry

  3. I see a potential abuse of this system , this works very convinient for the H1B visa holder maybe others not to interact with the CBP officer who can vet their current status and deny entry to the USA.

    What’s to say the h1b holder was a top engineer when he got his global entry vetted initially and approved, but in the near future, he is now layed off and working in low cost IT job with a shady consulting company to maintain status by replacing an American worker at one of their clients. Typically these guys would be sent back to India if discovered so at the port of US (re)entry. Now it’s like we are creating a system where these abusers can show their talent in sneaking in legally and displace an American worker.

  4. @Modi, IF you change your jobs you need to re apply for your H1B. Maybe you should do a bit of research before spreading xenophobic comments.

  5. @Nuts, actually you don’t re-apply. The new company files a form (can’t remember the name of the form) and pays the fee. Takes about a week.

  6. @Felix That’s correct and the new company has to produce a lot of documentation. These days it takes a month sometime. Also if you are going outside the country you need to get it stamped in an American consulate. So this idea that just providing global entry will allow abuse is completely nuts.

  7. It is nice to see this cooperation between countries. I just don’t understand why they can be part of the global entry program coming in here, but we can’t have Visa free travel there?

  8. @Jason global entry doesn’t not mean visa free travel. In fact we have to go leaps and bounds to get a us visa

  9. Jason, Global-entry does not mean visa-free travel. Btw, India allows eVisas that can be applied online as low as 4 days in advance of the date of arrival. The last time I checked, my American friends applied for their visas in the evening and got it next morning. It’s super easy now.

  10. @Nuts – You think a person who transfers his H1B to another company is still legit , all they have to do is join a bodyshop consulting company, goto Jamaica/canada, get the visa stamped and comeback to the US and pass through global entry without getting vetted by a CBP officer.

    Even if they went out of the country to India and got it stamped there, ask any H1B person, its a total YMMV case everytime for the applicant, some get denied for no reason, some totally bogus cases with made up documents get approved.

    Nonetheless there is always a vetting at the US port of entry to ensure the H1B individual’s documents and employment info is what it is. If the CBP officer suspects any foul play they take them to additional screening and/or reject them right on the spot.

    so YES, The global entry can be abused by means of allowing these individuals to avoid CBP officer interaction and pass through with documents that were once valid but not anymore.

  11. Yes! Yes! A thousand times yes! The amount of time spent in immigration queues in the US is ridiculous.

  12. @Modi, the H1B system is broken. Absolutely no doubt about it. There are too many people who dont deserve the visa who get it, and there are too many business and immigrants who need it badly who dont get it. And this disproportionately benefits Indian consulting companies. No doubt about it. But my point is that global entry should not be a way of weeding out these cases. The process when you change your employer to body shop is following:

    1) You need to intimate uscis of change of employer and file documentation showcasing your work. If uscis determines foul play they will decline your change of employer.

    2) Even if you go to jamaica or mexico, you go to US consulate to get your visa. US consulate officer, who are american citizens, not from a third world, can deny you a visa if they suspect foul play.

    3) After all of these steps taken, I have not heard of anyone being denied entry at airport just because of fact that they are in these body shopping firms. Airport officials do not have that authority period. They have authority to deport in case of criminal intent or if law changed in a way which deems them unfit to enter (trump immigration ban is an example).

    So this idea that a routine procedural change at airport can help weed out body shops is not true. We have to make immigration system easier for genuine cases and tougher for people who misuse it. Preventing an entire country from global entry doesn’t help either.

  13. @Nuts – Just google “H1B denied at port of entry” and read those discussions why these guys were denied.

    I rest my case on this subject on why the Global Entry for H1B Indians need to be carefully looked before granting them and close loopholes for the same concerns I mentioned.

  14. @Modi, I am an immigration lawyer and I know about those cases. Most of them were not justified and later on were allowed in. And these happen much rarely than what you think. And it hurts people who genuinely come in to us than bad apples.

    Again this idea that somehow making things tougher for everyone will weed out the bad apples is whats causing the mess. Immigration system needs to be easy and fair at the same time.

  15. If someone is eligible to enroll in Global Entry but not directly in TSA Precheck, would they still get Precheck when flying domestically?

  16. I am an Indian citizen and I am happy and excited about the prospects, after hearing this news. Thanks Ben!

  17. @Sebastian Australia has APEC.
    @Nuts is it true that a verification has to be done in India before CBP will consider your application? How would an Indian living in USA so long time on visa will get it? Travel back India and wait for verification?

  18. @Not Nuts if you change your employer and travel outside usa. You need to get your visa stamped in a us consulate. Verification is NOT done by indian govt. Indian living in usa for a long time need to get their visa renewed every 3 years at least. Every time you renew it and travel outside you need to go to us consulate to stamp it. There is an extensive process already.

  19. @Anon: Canadians are NOT eligible for global entry. That’s probably why he didn’t mention it.

    However, there is another program that Canadians can participate in, which includes many of the same benefits. It is called NEXUS.

  20. I got an email from Indian Passport office that I have to schedule an appointment at a local police station in India for verification, after I applied and paid $100 for Global entry. I’ve been living in the US since 2008. I don’t have a permanent address in India, and don’t have any plans to visit India this year. All my history (addresses, employers, driver’s license, car registration) is in the US since the last 9 years. I don’t understand how and why will the Indian passport office do my background verification.

  21. @Mohit, how did you apply already ? India is officially not listed yet on global entry site

  22. @c and @mohit the site allows applications from India now even though it is not advertised. The problem is the verification is being done by passport office in India where one needs to schedule appointment. I got a similar email and no idea if there is an alternative for people living in US

  23. @ same here applied last night and got an email from passport office to apply for background verification.. no where this is mentioned in the process… please advise if you guys had any update on this

  24. Received email from india passport office to apple for background verification. But no option to select an appointment in any of Indian embassy in USA. I have been living in USA since 2007 and have no plans to visit India in the near future. Wasted $100 by applying for GEP 🙁

  25. Same here as well…. got an email from indian passport seva kendra to apply for verification and options are India only and I live in USA. However, one anomaly I noticed was my GOES application id in the verification email was different than on the GOES website. So I am just wondering whether its spam. Did anyone else have same issue?

  26. Yeah, I applied too without knowing about the requirement to visit India to get the background check done. This sounds like a terrible idea, since the point of this program is to help frequent travelers, many of whom are currently resident in the US. I hope they change the system to allow consular processing soon.

  27. wasted 100 same as others!!

    The whole verification process in india requires you to have permanent residence status in india and requires 2 references who can vouch for your residence in india, along with documents required to prove current residence in india.

    So until they change verification process, GE enrollment will not work for any one waiting in GC queues.

  28. Wasted $100 too. The USCIS website was just updated today with this information. Wondering if we can ask for a refund based on the fact that the complete information was not published or provided when the GEP form was filled out?

  29. I’d called the passport seva helpline yesterday, they said it’ll be handled by the consulate for people resident in the US.
    I also got a reply from the vice consul at the San Francisco consulate, saying they are awaiting information from MEA. Let’s hope that they fix this soon!

  30. Hi Shashank
    Thanks for this. This is helpful. Question – did you apply on the passport seva website or did you just leave it as there was no option to choose a consulate in USA? I am asking because I didn’t do anything on the passport seva website and wondering whether I need to do anything for MEA to move this to a consulate!

  31. I just left it, as even after choosing the PSK as per my permanent address, it wouldn’t let me enter a current address outside of India.

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