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When you are approved for Global Entry, U.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents and Mexican nationals are posted a Global Entry card. Everyone else only has an electronic record of their Global Entry status.

Recently, a number of additional countries have become eligible to jump through all the hoops + pay to apply for Global Entry, the UK amongst them. This applies to myself.

Earlier I passed through the US pre-clearance facility at Vancouver YVR airport. That featured a separate security line that then fed into the Global Entry and Nexus machines, which was signposted as being for Global Entry holders, Nexus holders and diplomats.

Unfortunately, because I don't have a Global Entry card, they wouldn't let me use it. They seemed unable to comprehend of how someone could have Global Entry but no card, and kept saying "but you must show us the card you were issued or the sticker". I offered to show them the status online, but they wouldn't go for it, so I was forced to make the walk of shame back to the end of the normal security lane, then much later duck under a barrier to get over to the Global Entry machines.

Should I have done something different? Is there something I could've shown the Canadian staff manning the security checkpoint that would've let me use the Global Entry line as someone who genuinely has it and is entitled to use it? Printout from the DOES site perhaps? Calling the site up on my phone? Anything else?

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    I've used the GE entrances to Toronto and Montreal preclearance without anyone asking to see the card so either this is a Vancouver thing or the person you were talking to was confused. That the latter is a possibility is fairly easy to imagine given that there are NEXUS lanes at security before the domestic/international gates in Canadian airports that the card is required for one to use. A person who had been standing at the queue at domestic security who was moved to the queue at preclearance could very well misunderstand the new job for a while. – Dennis May 16 '16 at 1:21
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    There are a few posts on FT saying that you need a physical GE card at Canadian CATSA lines since the information is not on the BP in that case. I can't find an official requirement for this though. – Berwyn Jun 3 '16 at 10:15
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    After trying to decipher the CBP faq, I have the feeling that using the kiosks and using the SENTRI/NEXUS lanes are two different things: Must I obtain a Global Entry card? No, it is not necessary to obtain a Global Entry card to continue using Global Entry at airport kiosks. A card is only required for expedited entry at the SENTRI and NEXUS lanes coming into the United States. In general, I think you will find a lot of information in this faq, and especially you will understand it better than me – Vince Jun 7 '16 at 21:27
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+50

As said in the comments, the person you were talking to was probably confused. Chances are that you would never have the same problem again, but this should help if you did;

  • Have a print off of the relevant documents
  • Try and explain the situation of how you gained the Global Entry
  • Ask to speak to someone in senior position - without trying to cause trouble

When the system settles and the Global entry is more commonly used by citizens of other countries, there should be no problems.

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