The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

Entry into the United States can be time consuming. Aiming to make the process easier for business travelers, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has announced that its Global Entry (GE) program now allows for Enrollment on Arrival (EOA), eliminating the need for a GE applicant to schedule an interview at an enrollment center to complete the application process.

The first step to gaining access to EOA and making trips to the United States easier is to become a member of GE. For this, an initial interview is required. CBP officers will be coming to Japan in September for the purpose of conducting these in-person enrollment interviews, which will take place at the American Center Japan in Akasaka September 10–13 and at the Tokyo office of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) on September 14.

WHAT IS GE?
Designed to be quick and efficient, GE provides convenience and added security for travelers. The goal is to speed up the process of entering the United States and to allow participation in the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Pre-Check program, which expedites screening through TSA checkpoints at participating airports.

The special GE enrollment in Japan is open to US citizens and lawful permanent residents (US Green Card holders) and Japanese citizens over the age of 14. Japanese citizens that do not hold a Green Card will need to obtain a promotional code from the CBP Attaché office.

Created and administered by CBP, GE allows pre-approved travelers to bypass the regular US passport control line and proceed directly to a GE kiosk. GE travelers activate the kiosk by inserting their passport or US permanent resident card into a document reader. The kiosk will prompt the traveler to provide fingerprints, which will be compared with information on file, and to answer all customs declaration questions using the touchscreen. A photograph will also be taken. GE members are not required to fill out a paper customs declaration form. Upon completion of the automated processing, the kiosk will generate a transaction receipt, which must be presented to a CBP officer when exiting the inspection area.

Key highlights of GE membership are:

  • Automated and quick CBP entry processing
  • No more paper customs declaration forms
  • Mutual benefits with Japan and some other countries
  • Availability at all major US international airports
  • Eligibility to participate in the TSA’s Pre-Check program

APEC BUSINESS TRAVELER CARD
Once approved as a GE member, bona fide US businesspersons engaged in business in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) region—and US government officials actively engaged in APEC business within the APEC region—are eligible for the US APEC Business Traveler Card (ABTC). This voluntary program allows participants to access fast-track immigration lanes at participating airports in foreign APEC member economies. The US ABTC is valid for three years and costs $70.

Those wishing to receive an ABTC must be a member of a CBP-trusted traveler program such as GE. Participation in both GE and ABTC can be applied for at the same time. Current GE members may apply for the ABTC through their GE account and take advantage of the in-person interview enrollment events to have their signatures captured.

Note that the United States is currently not participating in the pre-clearance/visa aspect of the card, so US ABTC cardholders will not be able to use that feature at this time and will continue to be responsible for getting appropriate visas, where required.

The ACCJ is pleased to be hosting interviews for applicants of the CBP and ABTC programs, both of which provide great benefit to our US citizen, US permanent-resident, and Japanese members.

For questions about Global Entry and the APEC Business Traveler Card, contact CBP Attaché Brendan O’ Hearn at: brendan.ohearn@dhs.gov.

Christopher Bryan Jones is Editor-in-Chief of The ACCJ Journal. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, he has lived in Japan since 1997.