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A couple of years ago, somebody (a US citizen) arriving in the USA from France got pulled over by Customs because of carrying an apple in her hand baggage. She was prosecuted (fined around $500) and had her Global Entry status revoked. As the Global Entry only pertains to Immigration and not Customs, one would expect the withdrawal of Global Entry to be because of an Immigration violation (e.g. misuse of Global Entry) rather than a Customs violation.

Actually I also believe that she was subjected to the requirement for increased TSA screening on future flights (even domestic). But TSA has nothing whatsoever to do with Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and nor do they have the remit to enforce CBP rulings. So how did Customs and TSA end up being dragged into this, when it is purely an Immigration issue? Would she subjected to comparable restrictions when crossing the border by land?

And on a related matter, now imagine that she subsequently tries to enter a foreign country having acquired this criminal record: We know very well that Immigration violations committed anywhere in the world will automatically show up on our passport record, and any country reserves the right to refuse entry to non-citizens.

Do Customs violations also automatically show up on our passport record, and can therefore also result in entry being refused to non-citizens? Or are Customs violations treated as a purely domestic matter (like any other domestic crime), and for the (foreign) Immigration department to find out this information they have to make a special request to the government database of the relevant country (in this case USA)?

Apologies for the lengthy post, but this is a very grey area that needs clarifying, and thanks in advance to those who can answer this.

( This is the source for my question: https://edition.cnn.com/2018/04/23/us/apple-delta-fine-customs-flight-500-trnd/index.html )

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    Who is this 'somebody'? Do you have a reliable source for this story? Are you sure it isn't just some urban myth? – user105640 Apr 26 at 13:55
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    Are you sure it is a criminal record, not just a civil penalty? – zhantongz Apr 26 at 13:59
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    "Immigration violations commited anywhere in the World will automatically show up on our passport record": This assumption is incorrect. There is no worldwide system of immigration violation reporting. Furthermore, failing to declare an apple is not an immigration violation. Finally, the story that forms the basis of the question seems suspect: a $500 fine for failing to declare an apple does not match my experiences with US customs officers. I would expect such a fine to be imposed if the traveler were obstinate in refusing to give up the apple or deceptive in the wake of its discovery. – phoog Apr 26 at 14:57
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    The story you link to notes that the consequences were so severe because the traveler was in the Global Entry program, participants of which are held to a higher standard. In addition to the link posted above, see What is the last point where one can throw away fruits if one has indicated "not bringing any fruit" on the US customs form when flying to the US? – phoog Apr 26 at 15:03
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    @Pat-S Your link says pretty clearly "This is a civil violation." – zhantongz Apr 26 at 15:13
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As the Global Entry only pertains to Immigration and not Customs

I'm not sure where you get this impression from. It is a program run by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and as part of your privileges, you can complete your customs declaration on the kiosks and subject to less immigration and customs inspection.

one would expect the withdrawl of Global Entry to be because of an Immigration violation (e.g. misuse of Global Entry) rather than a Customs violation.

Customs violation can also be a misuse of Global Entry. Usually, one would have made a false customs declaration (in your cited case, the customs form asks if you are bringing any fruits to the U.S.).

The eligibility criteria also specifies you could be ineligible if you

Have been found in violation of any customs, immigration or agriculture regulations or laws in any country;


Actually I also believe that she was subjected to the requirement for increased TSA screening on future flights (even domestic).

I find this unlikely that she is flagged for additional screening (compared to most non-GE passengers) for simple customs violations, e.g. carrying an apple, that usually only carry civil penalties.

However, she would lose her TSA PreCheck privilege, which would have entitled her to less screening at TSA, that was linked to her GE membership.

She can still apply for TSA PreCheck offered separately from Global Entry, which to my knowledge does not bar people with civil customs violations. But if she has a criminal record like you said (but I find that unlikely), then she might have difficulties.


And on a related matter, now imagine that she subsequently tries to enter a foreign Country having acquired this Criminal Record:

Besides the fact that I doubt she has a criminal record from simply carrying an apple, assuming she does, then she would be ineligible for some visa-waiver programs, e.g. Canada.

Many countries ask about criminal record but also civil customs or immigration violations on visa application forms. Countries do care about customs violations (that's why many countries merged immigration and customs). She will have a more difficult time obtaining a visa; but it might not be too difficult if she can provide adequate explanation and show she has learnt from this.

We know very well that Immigration violations commited anywhere in the World will automatically show up on our passport record,

I don't find any basis for this assertion. There are data sharing agreements with immigration violations and sometimes also criminal records (e.g. US-Canada, or to an unkown extent, Five Eyes in general); but in general it is not true other countries have automatic access to backgrounds of foreign nationals.

But it is a bad idea to lie to visa or border officers since they can and do ask other countries for confirmation in case of doubt or in need of random controls. Lying (by ommission or even mistakenly) can cause you to be banned for a long time.

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