Trusted traveler programs that expedite the process of getting through immigration and security lines at U.S. airports are gaining members, including in Puerto Rico.
The federal government operates four trusted-traveler programs through U.S. Customs and Border Protection and one expedited security screening program through the Transportation Security Administration. Both agencies are part of the Department of Homeland Security.
Global Entry is the only Trusted Traveler program available in Puerto Rico. This program is geared to people who travel frequently to foreign countries and want to move quickly through CBP processing when re-entering the U.S.
As of the quarter ending July 31, the San Juan Enrollment Center has enlisted 22,789 members into Global Entry, according to CBP Public Affairs Officer Jeffrey Quiñones.
The fee for a five-year membership (non refundable in case your application is denied) is $100.
This is how the program works: once at the airport, program members proceed to Global Entry automated kiosks, present their passport or U.S. permanent resident card, go through fingerprint verification and complete a customs declaration. The kiosk issues a receipt and you’re off to baggage claim and the exit.
Global Entry applicants pre-enroll online and then go for an interview that usually takes less than 15 minutes. The person will be asked questions about their application, travel document, previous violations or criminal record. Fingerprints are taken.
Interviews in Puerto Rico are held at the San Juan Enrollment Center located at CPB facilities at Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport (Terminal D).
Another advantage of Global Entry is that it includes the benefits of TSA PreCheck, an expedited screening program that lets you breeze through a security point while keeping your shoes and belt on. The passenger does go through standard metal detectors but can avoid the full-body scanner.
Puerto Rico travelers interested in a TSA Pre Check membership can pre-enroll online and then go through the enrollment center interview process. The fee is $85 for a five-year membership.