The British are Coming! And They’re Getting a Fast Pass!


Coming soon to an airport near you: speedy U.S. customs clearance for UK citizens. (Photo: Shutterstock/Andrey_Popov)

Over 5 million United Kingdom citizens cross the pond each year and, starting on December 3, it’ll be much easier for them to clear U.S. Customs. After successful vetting by their own government, UK citizens can apply for the Global Entry program, administered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Enrollment in Global Entry permits travelers to avoid long airport lines and clear customs via automated kiosks. Participants are also eligible to bounce through airport security using TSA Pre-Check lanes. I recently enrolled in the program and recommend it for travelers who fly more than once a year.

The intent of the program is two-fold. In announcing the launch on November 3, CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske says, “Through this cooperation, CBP’s Global Entry and the UK Board Force Registered Traveller programs will enhance security and better facilitate travel between our two countries.” Meaning, we’ll roll out the welcome mat, but you’ll have to surrender your fingerprints and personal profile.

U.S. citizens can apply for similar clearance in the UK through their Registered Traveller program, but it requires at least 4 trips a year, essentially excluding leisure travelers.

But this may be the start of additional cooperative efforts between our two countries. If so, put me on the waiting list for these UK perks: free medical care, EU mobility for travel and work, and the world’s sexiest accent.

What about you?

Great British food in a great British setting.

Great British food in a great British setting. (Photo: Garry Knight/The Fish and Chip Bus)


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