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In another question, someone brought fruit into the country's physical territory, and immigration threatened to revoke their Global Entry status. Any novice traveler could do the same thing as an honest mistake.

So why was this Global Entry privilege holder being held to a higher standard?

When you sign up for Global Entry, do you agree to educate yourself on the rules of travel, and follow them to a higher level of accountability than an ordinary traveler is held to?

Does the application process make you explicitly agree to do or avoid certain things which are common traveler mistakes?

Is there a higher consequence for violations?

I reviewed the application process as far as was possible using public online resources, but it appears the actual application process is an interactive web app, so you can't even see an application page until you've filled out the page before.

Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Willeke Nov 15 at 21:30
38

Looking at the reasons for ineligibility they list on their website, I think there are 2 items that may fit the case you describe. I would assume that you can become ineligible at any time, not just during the application process.

  • Provide false or incomplete information on the application;
  • Have been convicted of any criminal offense or have pending criminal charges or outstanding warrants (to include driving under the influence);
  • Have been found in violation of any customs, immigration or agriculture regulations or laws in any country;
  • Are the subject of an ongoing investigation by any federal, state or local law enforcement agency;
  • Are inadmissible to the United States under immigration regulation, including applicants with approved waivers of inadmissibility or parole documentation; or
  • Cannot satisfy CBP of your low-risk status.

I think lying to the customs officer (by checking this on the form) about not having fruit, but actually having it, would be considered a violation of customs laws. It could also be argues that CBP may think that the person's act of lying to the office / lying on the form, makes them look like not such a low-risk traveler. That last point can obviously be interpreted pretty broadly, which would fit the "higher standard of conduct" assumption.

As noted by phoog in a comment, another way to look at it would be that members of the Global Entry program are held to standards (in order to maintain their membership, not for other reasons) that general travelers are not held to. Global Entry membership should be seen as a privilege, and as such, it can be revoked pretty easily by the agency which administers the program (CBP).

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    This is a great answer. I would paraphrase it thus: the answer to the question "why was this Global Entry privilege holder being held to a higher standard?" is that people who aren't members of Global Entry are not held to the standards of conduct required to maintain membership in Global Entry. – phoog Nov 13 at 19:26
  • Interesting how they call out agriculture laws specifically even though it's a subset of customs. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Nov 14 at 15:30
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    @Harper-ReinstateMonica: Agriculture is generally called out by many countries because of the sanitary risks. The reason you cannot bring fruit into the US is not because they want to force you to buy American fruits, but because they fear (rightly) that a foreign disease or parasite could sneak in and destroy the American plantations. Australia is even more stringent. – Matthieu M. Nov 14 at 15:44
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Yes. When you go for your interview for Global Entry, you are explicitly told that you will be held to a higher standard and will be held responsible for "novice traveler mistakes," since in exchange for not having as much direct inspection to ensure that you follow the rules, you have to know how to and agree to follow them yourself.

Source: my Global Entry interview last year.

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    Hmm. When I had my interview a few years ago, I don't recall being told anything except "put your fingers on the scanner here". I certainly don't remember any lecture like what you describe. – Nate Eldredge Nov 13 at 17:25
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    My interview was also for NEXUS, so that could have been part of it. – ajd Nov 13 at 18:07
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    I had a Global Entry interview a few weeks ago and definitely wasn't told anything such as "you will be held to a higher standard and will be held responsible for novice traveler mistakes". – Franck Dernoncourt Nov 14 at 2:59
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    @Harper-ReinstateMonica: I don't recall whether there was a warning in these words in any of the written documentation. I'm just saying that unlike ajd, I never received a verbal warning to this effect. So at the least, it seems that such a verbal warning is not given consistently to every applicant. – Nate Eldredge Nov 14 at 21:11
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    This matches my experience: almost the entirety of the interview for me was “are you aware that XYZ is a rule that you must follow?” for a variety of rules. – KRyan Nov 15 at 13:28
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See the Global Entry Information Guide.

"If you violate any condition of Global Entry or any law or regulation of the U.S., officers may:" is followed by a list of possible penalties beginning with "Revoke your Global Entry privileges". The remaining penalties would also apply to a non-GE traveler.

It also calls out specifically "You must declare any fruits, vegetables, plants, insects, meats or meat products, dairy products, animals or animals/wildlife products, disease agents, cell cultures, snails, or soil."

I don't remember my Global Entry interview in detail, but I certainly got the impression that, by using Global Entry, I am taking personal responsibility for monitoring and checking my own conformance to customs and immigration rules, and in exchange CBP reduces the amount of their monitoring and checking. It is not a difference in the rules, but a higher standard of care. If I did not feel sufficiently familiar with the relevant rules to take that responsibility, I would not have applied for Global Entry.

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Yes.

I've got Nexus, which is is Canada specific, but is a superset of Global Entry and I was given a warning when I didn't have the exact dollar amount of the goods that I was bringing into the country ready on hand with the receipts(I just knew they were below that duty free limit) and told that my Nexus would be revoked next time. The explanation was: Nexus(and Global Entry) is a TRUSTED traveler program, i.e. they TRUST you to know the rules and not slow down the express lanes. If you can't do that, you're welcome to go back to using the normal lanes.

  • Interesting. I've never had anyone ask for the exact dollar amount (let alone receipts,) though I've only brought in low-value items that were obviously nowhere close to the duty-free limit. Especially when visiting less-developed countries, it's completely normal for smaller purchases to not involve receipts. My experiences are mostly entering the U.S. at airports, not at the Canadian border, though. – reirab Nov 16 at 5:45
  • I that case, I had calculated my amount to be just under the $800 CAD duty free limit by searching for "X usd to cad", but they used a slightly different exchange rate, so it came to be slightly over, so the process of digging up receipts, figuring out the exchange rate, etc. held up the express lane and pissed off the agent. I think that "You are TRUSTED to know the rules and not hold up the express lane" is a good rule of thumb for being a trusted traveler. – Eugene Nov 18 at 22:52

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