While the travel experience has become more and more unpleasant for the average traveler over the years, I can’t even begin to say how much more pleasant my security and immigration experience has become.
Obviously there’s TSA PreCheck and Global Entry, but beyond that I have a German passport, so in the UK and many places in the EU I can just use the automated border control machines. I just slide in my passport and look at the camera, and I’m through in no time.
Well, it looks like the immigration experience is about to get better for those in the US and Germany, thanks to the announcement of a new reciprocal agreement between the Trusted Traveler programs of both countries.
Via the CBP:
U.S. Customs and Border Protection announces a reciprocal arrangement with Germany for each nation’s trusted traveler program—the U.S. Global Entry program and the German EasyPASS. Global Entry and EasyPASS allow expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers.
To register for EasyPASS, U.S. citizens must visit an enrollment center operated by the German Federal Police in Germany. Enrollment centers for EasyPASS can be found in Terminal 1 at Frankfurt Airport and in Terminal 2 at Munich Airport. To qualify, U.S. citizens must have an electronic passport (epassport) and be at least 18 years of age.
To register for Global Entry, German citizens must first preregister with the German Federal Police at an EasyPASS enrollment center in Germany. After preregistering, the German Federal Police will notify CBP that the applicant is eligible to apply for Global Entry using the Global Online Enrollment System (GOES). The non-refundable application fee for a five-year Global Entry membership is $100 and applications must be made online. Once the application is approved, the applicant will schedule an interview with a CBP officer to determine the applicant’s eligibility. German citizen Global Entry members will have to reregister for Global Entry with the German Federal Police after their second year of membership.
Now, initially I was quite excited about this, but after reading it over a couple of times it doesn’t sound quite as exciting as I initially hoped.
This isn’t like the agreement between the US and Australia, whereby Global Entry members can use the SmartGates in Australia.
Instead, this is simply an agreement whereby Americans can register for Germany’s EasyPASS program, and Germans can register for the United States’ Global Entry program.
Don’t get me wrong, that’s still great. US immigration queues are often horrendous, so if you’re German it can totally be worth getting Global Entry. That being said, I don’t find immigration queues in Germany to usually be too bad, so it might not be worth it for Americans, unless you travel to Germany often.
Still, it’s nice to see countries work together to make the immigration experience more pleasant for low risk travelers.