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Old May 22, 13, 3:00 pm   #1
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Global Entry Denial Recourse

I've recently begun flying a lot more for work, and I have an international vacation coming up, so I decided to splurge and apply for Global Entry. While I knew it wouldn't matter much for my work travel, which is mostly domestic, I figured it'd help me qualify for TSA Pre-Check more consistently.

I submitted my application, paid my $100, was conditionally approved, and had my interview, which was not at all what I was expecting. While others being interviewed were asked perfunctory questions and then dismissed within a few minutes, my (very young) interviewer kept asking questions seemingly designed to "trip me up" and elicit inconsistencies. I flew El Al once in college, and had the same sort of questions asked of me, so I figured that was all it was ... but it was still odd to note that I seemed to be getting a much deeper level of interview than others. All interviews took place in public, in the single open office that the SFO Global Entry staff use.

Ten days pass, and I receive an email today saying that I've been denied because I "do not meet the strict standards of the program."

I'm floored! Absolutely floored! A few stats about me: I'm 44 years old, an American citizen born in the US, and have Premier Silver status on United. I traveled extensively abroad as a professional singer when I was younger, though not to any countries that would raise eyebrows among border officials. I'm Caucasian, and I've never been in the slightest legal trouble -- heck, I've never even been pulled over by a cop while driving.

The letter I received lists the following as likely reasons why some are denied:

* Providing false or incomplete information on the application;
* Convictions for any criminal offense or pending criminal charges to include outstanding warrants;
* Violations of any customs, immigration, or agriculture regulations or laws in any country;
* Inadmissibility to the United States under immigration laws;
* Receipt of a criminal pardon from any country; or
* Other circumstances that indicate to CBP that you have not qualified as "low risk."

I suppose my denial is based on the nebulous final bullet.

The *only* remotely unusual thing about me is that I'm gay. I mentioned my partner in passing during the interview because the interviewer asked who my travel companions were during a recent trip abroad. In fact after I mentioned him, the interviewer began asking me all sorts of questions about him. He even called my mobile number after the interview to confirm my partner's name, in order to "flag" the application, which was made weeks after mine. At the time I assumed he meant to flag it in the positive sense, but now I am simply bewildered as to why he would ask such a thing.

Have others on this forum been similarly denied without explanation? Can anyone shed any light on what might have gone awry, either at my interview or elsewhere in the process? I don't think I seemed remotely nervous or evasive, though I am a naturally fidgety person.

Thanks for any help.

Cheers,
Eric.

Last edited by RandomBaritone; May 22, 13 at 3:20 pm
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Old May 22, 13, 3:10 pm   #2
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Did you forget to list a destination? Previous address?

Did your partner get a follow up call or anything?

I doubt that your orientation had anything to do with it, but who knows what goes on behind the scenes. There are other threads in this forum and the Policy forum about denials, as well as revocations.

You can appeal to the Ombudsman in the meantime.
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Old May 22, 13, 3:21 pm   #3
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1. The fact that you are caucasian is neither here nor there.
2. The fact that you are gay is neither here nor there.
3. Don't torture yourself over the "why". It could be anything and from the sound of the path your interview took, it sounds as though threre was some detail which did not match up with government records.
4. You can appeal to the ombudsman and should make it short and sweet, namely that there is nothing in your background which ought to concern CBP one bit. And, further, if there is any detail which does concern CBP, you are ready, willing & able to clear anything up.

Last edited by Often1; May 22, 13 at 4:03 pm
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Old May 22, 13, 3:25 pm   #4
  
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If you did not let all the countries you had visited when asked then you could be denied. I had forgotten that I went to Italy when completing my application and during my interview they asked if I was sure I listed everything. Afterwards he told me had I left something out I be denied.

To imply its because you are gay is really ridiculous. I know several openly gay people that have GE.
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Old May 22, 13, 3:44 pm   #5
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To imply its because you are gay is really ridiculous. I know several openly gay people that have GE.
With all due respect, I wasn't implying a blanket denial of all gay folks. I was relating the fact that my interviewer's demeanor changed when he learned of my partner. He seemed to grow even more inquisitive.

That's great that you know several openly gay people.
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Old May 22, 13, 3:47 pm   #6
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You can appeal to the ombudsman and should make it short and sweet, namely that there is nothing in your background which ought to concern CBP one bit. And, further, if there is any detail which does concern CBP, you are ready, willing & able to clear anything up.
Great advice, thanks! I haven't written a paper letter in about ten years, but I guess I'll give it a whirl.
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Old May 22, 13, 3:50 pm   #7
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Did you forget to list a destination? Previous address?

Did your partner get a follow up call or anything?
I was scrupulous about past addresses. I've only traveled abroad once in the period about which they asked, so that one was easy. I've been to dozens of countries, but most of that travel was decades ago.

My partner hasn't had his interview yet. He'd find it hilarious if he were approved and I were denied, given that I travel 20x more than he does. Then again, he's an Episcopal priest, so when he shows up at his interview in his clerical attire, they won't be able to turn him down.

Last edited by RandomBaritone; May 22, 13 at 4:51 pm
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Old May 22, 13, 5:58 pm   #8
  
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I've only traveled abroad once in the period about which they asked, so that one was easy. I've been to dozens of countries, but most of that travel was decades ago.
They ask for five years of travel history. Have you really only been outside the U.S., Canada and Mexico once in the last five years? That would certainly make yours a very unusual GE application.
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Old May 22, 13, 6:15 pm   #9
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They ask for five years of travel history. Have you really only been outside the U.S., Canada and Mexico once in the last five years? That would certainly make yours a very unusual GE application.
Great point, and that did occur to me. I made it clear to the interviewer that I had plans to travel abroad more often and had traveled internationally far more in the past, but that over the past five years I'd been out of the US just the once.

Surely that wouldn't flag my application for denial, though? How does that make me more of a risk?
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Old May 22, 13, 6:23 pm   #10
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There are people here who applied without traveling anywhere, and were approved.
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Old May 22, 13, 6:25 pm   #11
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They ask for five years of travel history. Have you really only been outside the U.S., Canada and Mexico once in the last five years? That would certainly make yours a very unusual GE application.
It's less and less unusual than it was before.

The fact of the matter is that GlobalEntry has seen a huge increase in demand from domestic-only/primarily-domestic frequent flyers due to the domestic situation with the PreCheck nonsense.

The spike in, and likely growing demand for, "domestic" PreCheck "benefit" enrollment is in part a reason why DHS/TSA is looking to contract out the background checking for it to private companies, perhaps even a company affiliated with former DHS head Chertoff.
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Old May 22, 13, 6:32 pm   #12
  
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There are people here who applied without traveling anywhere, and were approved.
I only had one international trip (and it was after I applied and my interview so it wasn't stated on my application), yet I was approved. I do have several more international trips coming up which I was asked about, however not in detail. I think I got a really laid back interviewer because we breezed through the questions while I could hear the person next to me getting grilled by another agent.

I really thought I would have a tough time getting approved with my lack of international travel, but that didn't seem to be the case.
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Old May 23, 13, 5:28 am   #13
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Originally Posted by MR_MAMA View Post
If you did not let all the countries you had visited when asked then you could be denied. I had forgotten that I went to Italy when completing my application and during my interview they asked if I was sure I listed everything. Afterwards he told me had I left something out I be denied.

To imply its because you are gay is really ridiculous. I know several openly gay people that have GE.
Suppose someone flew to Paris (France = EU), and then using a railpass (say) went to lots of other EU countries, and then returned to the US via Paris. Since crossing between EU countries (in most instances) is not subject PP controls, if one left out some or all of those other countries, how could CBP know? [Back in the 60's and 70's when I traveled to Europe, I did the routing above (long before EU), and even then, stamping passports (except for your air arrival and departure points) was a rarity--from my recollection Denmark was the only place that stamped pps when you arrived by train (and boat).]
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Old May 23, 13, 8:08 am   #14
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And again just so we're clear, I mentioned in my interview at least twice that I had visited dozens of countries in my teens, 20s, and 30s. The interviewer asked for absolutely no details on those trips. It would make zero sense if a failure to disclose that travel were somehow at the heart of my denial, since there was no place for me to disclose it.
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Old May 23, 13, 10:07 am   #15
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Originally Posted by nrr View Post
Suppose someone flew to Paris (France = EU), and then using a railpass (say) went to lots of other EU countries, and then returned to the US via Paris. Since crossing between EU countries (in most instances) is not subject PP controls, if one left out some or all of those other countries, how could CBP know? [Back in the 60's and 70's when I traveled to Europe, I did the routing above (long before EU), and even then, stamping passports (except for your air arrival and departure points) was a rarity--from my recollection Denmark was the only place that stamped pps when you arrived by train (and boat).]
In this case, you would be required to list the countries visited on your blue customs form when re-entering the USA. If this information is entered into the computer, it would be associated with your passport number and could be retrieved.
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