CBP to Fix Broken Feature for Global Entry & Other Programs’ Applicants

by SharonKurheg

All told, the U.S. currently offers 5 variations of trusted traveler programs:

  • TSA PreCheck
  • Global Entry
  • Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection (SENTRI)
  • Free and Secure Trade (FAST)

Although different in nature, all 5 programs allow for expedited screening or inspection of preapproved, low-risk travelers at certain domestic and international airports and at select land and sea ports of entry.

Anyone who applies for any of the programs is vetted and runs the risk of being denied membership. We’ve gone over some of these situations in the past:

TSA PreCheck is run by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). In fiscal year 2020 through the second quarter of fiscal year 2023, TSA enrolled or renewed TSA PreCheck memberships for over 99% of applications. However, for the 1% of applicants that were denied, TSA has a process in place where an applicant can request a reconsideration of their decision. If the applicants feel the denial was due to incorrect or incomplete information (for example, they have the same name as someone on the No Fly list and they feel it’s possible there was a mix up of the two people), they can follow the instructions that TSA sends with the emailed denial letter.

The other 4 programs are run by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and they approved 97% of the applications into the programs during that same FY 2020 through 2nd quarter 2023 time frame. However, when CBP emails letters to the 3% who are denied, the online portal doesn’t include the reason for denial or instructions for seeking additional information.

And get this – it used to include all that information. But in 2018, they updated the portal and inadvertently removed the instructions for recourse.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently completed an audit of all 5 Trusted Traveler programs. That’s how they discovered that CBP wasn’t including the information on how to request additional information for the reason of its denial decision – something that was required by regulation but had been overlooked for the 6 years since it had been removed from the portal in 2018.

From GAO:

GAO recommends that the CBP Commissioner include written instructions in trusted traveler program denial and revocation decision letters on how travelers can seek additional information regarding the specific reason(s) for the decision. DHS concurred and identified steps to implement the recommendation.

It’s horrendous that it took SIX YEARS for someone important enough to realize people with denials for Global Entry, NEXUS, etc. were given no recourse. But hey, that’s the government for ya, I guess. At least the problem can be fixed now.

You can click here for the full 64-page GAO report.

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