Wednesday, February 26, 2014

US: Short Waiting List for Global Entry Pass Interviews Can be Found in Albuquerque International Sunport Airport

According to The Associated Press, low-risk travelers in the US can potentially by-pass the US' waiting in long lines by applying for America's "Global Entry Pass" at  Albuquerque, NM's International Sunport Airport where scheduled interviews for the coveted pass can be  obtained quickly in a matter of days not weeks or months.
According to AP, obtaining a "Global Entry Pass" can reduce waiting time in security checkpoints by up to 70%. 
Some visitors are taking advantage of the quick turnaround by also squeezing in a mini vacation to popular NM hotspots like Santa Fe and Taos, according to customs agents.
US citizens and permanent residents can apply for a pass by filling out an application online and paying a $100 fee.
COMMENT: Federal officials then perform a background check and book appointments with travelers who earn initial approval. That's where travelers can see which locations have the earliest openings. Often, it's Albuquerque, according to http://www.globalentry.gov.
With the passes, which are good for five years, travelers can use around 300 kiosks at more than 30 US airports. Travelers just scan their fingerprints and a receipt is generated for easy exit through customs and immigration.
Nevertheless, getting a pass often can take weeks or months, since travelers are required to schedule an in-person interview with customs agents from one of nearly 40 enrollment centers across the county. Most centers are in major hubs, and federal officials have opened satellite offices in some cities like Atlanta and Houston to help reduce waiting times for appointments.
It's a different story Albuquerque, where officials can sometimes book interview appointments within a day of an application's approval, said Tracy Thorpe, Albuquerque director for US Customs and Border Patrol.
The Albuquerque site also has another advantage: When travelers have questions about pending passes, phone calls are answered by people rather than recorded messages since the office doesn't receive much traffic.
According to US Customs and Border Patrol, more than 1 million "Global Entry Passes" have been approved nationwide since the program began. Of those, only around 3,000 have been processed at the Albuquerque office, which opened in June.
Global Entry also provides access to the "Transportation Security Administration PreCheck" initiative, which allows passengers to speed through special security lanes without taking off shoes or belts.