Nearly six months ago, J.J. and I sent in our online applications for Global Entry card. The approvals came in the form of emails instructing us to request for interview the next time we enter the USA from an overseas trip.
On November 29th, upon arrival at JFK International Airport in New York, we informed one of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents that we needed to report for Global Entry interviews.
Irregardless of how frequently one travels, I believe that most of us feel tension when going through immigration and customs. Although mostly formality, one never knows when there could be a mistake. With J.J.’s surname rather common in Hispanic countries, raises the possibility of a criminal with the same name.
Especially after being on the road for more than 16 hours, both of us we’re fatigued, lacked sleep and not as alert. The interviews took place in a sparse, unadorned room with two tables, rather antiquated computers with ID photo machines.
There wasn’t even a customary photo of the president smiling at you. Actually, the room is used for secondary interviews whenever the passport or visa or intent of the traveler is questionable.
The agent was pleasant but behind his benign smile, there was astuteness, sharpness that if you try to lie, I will catch you. One thing we learn is not to be funny but maintain a serious demeanor. My full name, date and place of birth followed by “Were you ever arrested?” Then back to more pleasant questions of what kind of work did I do prior to retirement, where are you returning from, then “Are you in possession of any of these contraband items?” He has a copy of our application with all the answers, but primary purpose is to determine if our answers match. It took less than 5 minutes for the face-to-face interview, fingerprints and biometric photo. Whenever we return to the USA, a machine will match our facial features with the photo.
For more info go to:www.globalentry.gov
With Global Entry card, we are also TSA Pre®
Aloha -- Cathi