Here’s Why People are Losing Global Entry

Melanie Lieberman offered several reasons that someone might have their Global Entry participation revoked: bringing snacks into the U.S. that you fail to declare, being investigated for or convicted of a crime, or bringing people with you through Global Entry who aren’t in the program.

This is a good summary of general categories, but lets revisit some of the actual things that Customs and Border Protection has used to kick people out.

Global Entry is Valuable

Global Entry is fantastic skipping the immigration and customs queues when you return to the U.S.

I didn’t love the fingerprinting or background check that went along with it, but I figured all my cell phone data was being logged anyway long before Edward Snowden was cool. So if the surveillance was inevitable I figured I might as well at least get the convenience.

Now that I have it, it’s hard to imagine life without it — and not just queuing up at immigration, but also that I always get PreCheck at TSA now (except when I’ve been “SSSS’d”) rather than having it be hit-or-miss through my airline elite status.

Copyright: andreyuu / 123RF Stock Photo

Four Programs Provide Expedited Airport Security

Nexus is the cheapest and most comprehensive. It’s expedited immigration for Canada, but gets you Global Entry and TSA PreCheck. It’s $50. But credit card and other fee credits don’t advertise rebating the signup cost. It takes approvals on both the US and Canadian sides and while appointments aren’t super-tough to get, it can take 2-4 months to be approved.

Global Entry is expedited immigration. The fee is $100 and comes with TSA PreCheck. It’s open to US citizens and permament residents, UK citizens, German citizens and Mexican nationals. UK and German citizens have pre-registration requirements through their home country.

TSA PreCheck is $85 and doesn’t come with any border benefits.

Sentri is for US-Mexico land crossings, costs $122.50, and includes Global Entry (and PreCheck).

Most US citizens want Global Entry because it includes PreCheck, for an extra $15 gets expedited immigration (of decreasing importance as immigration kiosks roll out), and is reimbursed by more premium credit cards than PreCheck.

Frequent Canadian visitors should get Nexus, and it’s cheaper, but the waits and dual approvals may discourage. If you don’t have a US passport you can still get TSA PreCheck.

Copyright: prestonia / 123RF Stock Photo

You Can Lose Your Global Entry

US Customs and Border Protection responded to a FOIA request detailing each instance where Global Entry was revoked between November 6, 2016 and June 6, 2017.

They don’t provide details of who lost it, just the date, citizenship, country of birth, and reason.

Here are some examples of reasons why Global Entry was revoked:

  • They uncovered a conviction for a misdemeanor after approving Global Entry.

    In my understanding you want to disclose everything on your application, and usually incidents like DUIs are fine if they’re over 10 years old. However some older convictions are permanently disqualifying,

    You do not meet the requirements for this program due to 1985 weapons-related conviction

  • Conviction while in the program. (“A recent criminal conviction disqualifies you from this
    program.”) Some people had DUIs, others beat up someone or were found with child porn.

  • Derogatory information from another government. A US citizen born in Japan is flagged as “Canadian Cancel Membership Message was received…”

  • Breaking program rules or rules in the immigration hall such as failing to declare items or bringing ineligible family members with you into the Global Entry queues.

    On 11/6/2016 you attempted to bring your spouse who is not a member of the Trusted Traveler Program through the Global Entry lines at Philadelphia International Aiport without her being cleared by a CBP officer. In addition, you failed to properly declare purchases made overseas. Both constitute violations of program rules and your membership is therefore revoked

  • Don’t steal liquor from the plane and then not declare it. “Failure to declare liquor from aircraft- Crewmember”

While it’s not obvious why a DUI makes someone more likely to violate US customers laws, the US government views themselves as bestowing a privilege rather than respecting a right and there’s little scrutiny of the criteria used for approvals, denials, or revocations.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Gary,

    I’ve had Global Entry and therefore, Pre-Check for a couple of years. End of last year I flew out of O’Hare domestically and didn’t get Pre-Check stamped on my boarding pass. Even after going to customer service desk and providing my information, they said I wasn’t eligible. I thought it was automatic and every time. Could the reason for it have been because I added/updated my middle name on my ticket/profile a few days prior? Or any other possible reason why?

  2. They also revoke it for no apparent reason at all sometimes from people who have done absolutely nothing wrong , and just tell you you no longer meet the requirements of the program.

  3. I should add that I’ve not had a problem getting TSA Precheck stamped on boarding passes since then.

  4. I have GE paid for by my credit card. Is there anyway to get a credit card to pay for Nexus when I am up for renewal? It would save the credit card company $50.

  5. btw, global entry is actually open to citizens of quite a few other countries — many (all?) have reciprocal programs that US citizens can access. In addition to canadian and mexicans (who should probably apply for nexus/sentri, but can get global entry), I know rok and indian citizens are also eligible. I think there are others, too.

  6. “You are no longer eligible for program membership as you did
    not follow proper procedures during U.S CBP processing and
    went under multiple rope barriers in order to bypass the exit
    egress. because of the above security violation your Global
    Entry membership has been revoked.”

    Wow. This list is very helpful in realizing that it takes very little to lose GE.

  7. We once brought back half a package of US-purchased uncooked bacon and one US-purchased raw egg from a weekend trip to Canada, in the Nexus lane. They searched our cooler and told us they could have pulled our Nexus cards for that, since bacon and eggs from Canada are no-no’s. But they had mercy and just took them.

    Also, the current list of banned uncooked foods is both hard to find and vague if you do find it. Best tip from those CBP agents is just eat it all before you come back.

  8. (To be clear, we did not know anything about those rules, weren’t ever told even to check, and never tried to conceal anything. Also, it was food purchased in the US.)

  9. After having read the doc, it really doesn’t tell you very much. One may argue whether certain criminal convictions (like DUI) have any bearing on customs or immigration violations, but the rules are clear from the beginning: no criminal convictions allowed. It’s obvious that someone who commits a customs violation, or attempts to circumvent screening breaks the rules. What would be more interesting (but, no doubt classified) is what leads to the general “no longer meet program requirements.” Basically, cbp must believe that you are at low risk of violating entry laws, but these revocations say nothing about what specific behaviors led them to downgrade risk profile. (countries visited? length of visits? tax audit? there’s only so much info they have automated access to.)

  10. There are some gems if you keep reading. I like this one. Sounds like an entitled crewmember.

    “Your membership into the Global Entry Trusted Travelers
    Program is being revoked at this time due to your
    uncooperative behavior upon your entry into the U.S. on
    January 1, 2017 at the port of Atlanta. The Global Entry Trusted
    Travelers program is a privilege, not a right and all passengers,
    including flight crew are subject to search. The purpose of the
    Trusted Travelers program is to expedite your entry into the
    U.S. by using the Global Entry Kiosk, not to bypass inspection
    by a Customs and Border Protection Officer.”

  11. I think the January 31, 2017 mass revoking activity is the most interesting — all with passports from the so-called “terrorism” countries revoked in one fell swoop.

  12. Pre check line at LAX is as long or longer than the line I get as lowly AA Gold. Why bother.

  13. @Andy 11235 Canadians actually cannot get global entry, but they can get NEXUS which gives them all of the same benefits.

  14. Gary, you hit on this a little, but was wondering if you could expand: now with the kiosks for non-GE folks, and no customs lines anymore (it seems they pull people aside like the European system), what’s the point of GE itself (ie, not including the PreCheck benefits)?


  15. There are still a huge number of airports that don’t have the automated kiosks. Plus, the GE kiosks don’t have a line (or at least I’ve never seen one, even with 3x 777s and a 747 arriving at the same time in the tiny Seatac airport), while the automated kiosks can get backed up.

  16. Mobile Passport is faster than Global Entry because you get the receipt to give to CBP on your phone on the plane after landing. No need to visit a kiosk as with Global Entry. Plus Mobile Passport is free and there is no interview, background check, or fingerprinting. Just download the app.

    Mobile Passport does not include TSA Pre but you can get that separately and the benefits of TSA Pre are diminishing as more people get it.

  17. Over the 7 month period, I can find only 1 approved reinstatement. (1-31-17 08:59 – does anyone find others?)

  18. @ PJ – I think that the airline also needs be participating in TSA-Pre. Some airlines still don’t e.g. Spirit.

  19. An interesting one was “Did not have the proper OFAC license to travel to Cuba as a
    U.S. Citizen.” in 2016 – when restrictions didn’t seem to be as strict

  20. I had PreCheck revoked for one year for bringing a gas inflatable vest through security, which is allowed (, but the local TSA agents weren’t aware of the policy.

    I complied with everything, signed their incident report, and they threw the cartridges in the trash and I went on my way.

    I had to call in to find out I was suspended after not getting PreCheck on the next 3 boarding passes. They told me I’d violated policy and could reapply after one year. I pointed out that the item was allowable and that the local agents were actually incorrect, but they didn’t care. I applied for reinstatement after one year and have been fine since…

  21. Your name MUST match whatever you used on your application. If you did not use a middle initial on the application, you cannot decide to use it on your ticket…the TSA Precheck computer will not recognize it. They tell you this when you are confirmed.

  22. The CBP cowboys clearly enjoy throwing around their ability to rescind GE. I was threatened with its loss at SFO a few years ago by a miserly clerk when I expressed surprise that my 8 month old infant had to attend an interview to enter with me.

  23. The terms of revocation have been super secret so reading the pdf was fascinating. Interesting that convictions from as far back as 1970 are still haunting people.

  24. I am a dual US/Canadian citizen. I have GE, but since I fly to Canada quite often, I thought it would be nice to have Nexus as well since GE does not give me access to Nexus lines. I had to book an appointment through the GE web site, and I had to appear in person in Canada. When I arrived at the Nexus office in Halifax, I was surprised to see a US CBP officer. He checked my info, then passed me over to a Canadian CBP officer.

  25. I’ve only used it a couple of times and one time I thought I was told that my spouse and I should go through immigration together (although she does not have GE) – but from the above it seems that we should go through separately (I will check carefully next time with the greeters) …

  26. My wife and I have Global Entry . It paid for itself the first time we reentered USA . Looked like a thousand people waiting in lines at ORD . I definitely don’t want to lose my GE status so I am careful to avoid any complications . Just cleared customs at SFO last week after about 25 hours traveling . It took about three minutes .
    I will be studying the report to avoid problems .

  27. I am traveling around the world for 2 months at the end of this year. I don’t typically travel a lot anymore but this is a big one. Should I get Global Entry to get through other countries? ( Ireland, England, France, Spain, Sicily, Italy, Japan, Thailand, New Zealand and back to US) I have heard both ways if this is valuable for me or not? Thoughts?

  28. Here’s a fun one:


    Yeah, you probably want to cooperate with CBP during your interview….

    The ones that get me are the court cases that are decades old:

    Upon further review, it appears you no longer meet the program’s eligibility requirements at this time. This is due to your arrest in 1970 for DUI and your arrest in 2002 for DUI. The final dispositions of these arrests were not recorded by the court. Subsequently, this program requires you to provide certified court documentation stating the charge, severity, and the final disposition of the arrests. These court documents are required to be scanned, uploaded, and attached to your profile for final review. Failure to provide these documents will result in the arrests being recognized as convictions. These convictions will disqualify you from this program at this time

    Good luck getting those records from 1970.

  29. “Don’t steal liquor from the plane and then not declare it. “Failure to declare liquor from aircraft- Crewmember”??? OMG, I don’t use alcohol, so I never thing about this. But one time, a flight attendant gave me 2 bottles of wine. Was I supposed to declare that? I had no idea I thought you were allowed to bring in EtOH.

  30. Agree with the comment about Mobile Passport. I have Global Entry and the Mobile Passport on my phone. My last arrival at O’Hare had so many Global Entry people that you had to wait for a kiosk–and some of them seemed to be very buggy as a lot of people were getting “x”-ed (I think this happens when the machines don’t recognize your fingerprints). I decided to go the Mobile Passport route and was the first person from my flight to leave the immigration area. While Global Entry can be a time saver in many circumstances (and I fly enough that the TSA precheck benefit is crucial), if you don’t fly a lot but occasionally fly internationally, Mobile Passport is the way to go.

  31. thanks folks . . . just downloaded mobile passport for my wife and myself on my phone. Hope it works as well as everyone says.

  32. You can also be denied GE if someone in your household has been charged with a crime (charged, not convicted). My 18 and 20 year old nieces were recently denied GE because their father (who was recently estranged but still showed the same legal address) was charged with federal crimes for illegally selling controlled substance prescriptions (he’s a physician). His trial is upcoming.

  33. i got to the kiosk, and it asked me if I had fruit. I remembered I had one in my lunch bag so took it out, took a quick bite and threw it out right behind the kiosk. I then answered the question no fruit, and entered the line to customs. When i got to the counter, the customs officer asked me what I was chewing when I was in line. I told her honestly that I was finishing my apple and threw it out before I got in line because the kisok reminded me that I coukdn’t bring in fruit. She said she was putting a violation on my global pass. She said I should have declared the apple. I thought customs would prefer it if I just threw it out before I got to the customs agent. Does that mean I lose my global pass? is there a way to appeal and try to explain that I didnt realize I had the apple until I was asked the wuestion and as soon as I was asked, I threw it out to comply?

  34. I love our country. And some times I love our government just like I love my siblings. In all these cases, I’m still allowed to say they’re awesome some times and some times they’re just plain stupid. America, this time you’re pretty dumb and I feel pathetic being a part of you. Another time you’re time is for banning hemp fibers because you say you can’t tell the difference between that and marijuana. How dumb are you? One good about you though is, you’re not corrupted…at the surface. You charge $300-500 tickets for infractions and us citizens are cool with it but when we go to mexico and make an infraction of the like, they want to squeeze $50-150 from our pockets and we cry because they didn’t let us know first. How dumb are we? How dumb am I. The only thing good about America is the voting system that they manage to convince everyone it’s not rigged. WE ARE SOOOO DUMB.

  35. Mobile passport is limited as to ports (26 airports/3 seaports) and airlines(some do not participate).
    Also only good for US and Canadian citizens.
    No comparable program for TSA pre-check.

  36. The problem with most CBP officers is, that they are often not knowledgeable. And when that becomes obvious, they get aggressive and go into power play mode. Very few, if any, of them working at the front line have higher education. I understand they get a lot of crap from passengers everyday. But if you read through frequent flyer forums, you will find countless stories where travelers, for example, have been forced to wait for three hours at secondary screening and then simply were told that they could go now without any additional screening at all. Only because they had dared to say to a customs officer beforehand that they indeed are allowed to, say, bring milk from a certain country (which they had declared) as per official US customs rules, and the officer didn’t know. Pure harassment.
    The GE program has been expanded massively over the last ten years. Canadians come in with NEXUS, Mexicans with SENTRI. Other foreigners are allowed to participate, some of whom have work visas for entry into the US. All that has to be correctly linked under their GE profile. Lots of rules and regulations. I’ve heard stories from Houston airport earlier this year where Dutch GE members (who have had GE for almost ten years) were asked by local CBP officers how in the world they obtained a GE membership number. Or where Brits in DC were told that their passports had to be stamped (not correct).
    If it were not the CBP, I would suggest to try it out and test their knowledge next time you come back home to the US. But you would probably end up at secondary screening, with some high school dropout throwing your belongings out of your suitcase onto the metal table after his co-workers made you wait for four hours and rescinded your GE membership without reason. Welcome to the retaliatory lawless zone.

  37. Asdf got nailed Nexus with bacon..

    I have read dept. Agriculture rules on bringing in food from Canada. It can be car only. You can bring in all you want with uncooked pork/bacon. You must declare it. And bringing back illegally imported food from U. S. To Canada is a no no.

    I have done this at least a dozen times because B.C. Has fantastic pork products and bacon.

  38. I don’t understand all the fuss. I watched the debate last week and I heard that entering the US at any time for any reason with any type of background was a human right. And I get free health care as a bonus. What are we doing waiting in line with documents?

  39. Application for GE denied with reason “You have been convicted and/or arrested for a criminal offense – no comment entered”. I had an arrest that was dismissed at prelim hearing back in 1975 at age 20. I had forgot about that and didn’t put it down on the application. Apparently it was only discoverable when they had my fingerprints. I believe that all other (non-fingerprint) criminal databases don’t have it and thus my application got all the way to the interview/fingerprinting stage. I submitted an appeal but the comments here aren’t giving me any reason for optimism.

  40. Hi Gary, Trusted Traveler Programs site no longer indicates that Nexus includes Global Entry. It used to state it, but I realized it was updated. Do you know if Nexus still includes Global Entry? Thanks!

  41. “others beat up someone”

    I, almost always want to kick someone’s ass. I have to practice extreme resilience from doing so…

  42. @PJ – a DOB or name mismatch can cause it to not happen…has happened to me 2 times out of my last ~1,000 or so flights…both times something got screwed up when my TA booked my ticket. Went to the counter to address it, then it showed up.

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