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The Many Ways Formerly Trusted Travelers Can Lose Global Entry Privileges

The Many Ways Formerly Trusted Travelers Can Lose Global Entry Privileges
Jeff Edwards

Homeland security published a comprehensive list of the wide variety of reasons “trusted travelers” have had their Global Entry revoked and in a few rare cases, reinstated.

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Global Entry Trusted Traveler Program allows vetted passengers to speed through the airport after arriving on many international flights, but while membership in the program has definite perks, it also has clearly defined requirements. Trusted travelers who no longer meet those requirements are likely to soon find themselves standing in long processing lines with everyone else on their next international flight.

In what could be considered either a series of cautionary tales or a delicious opportunity for schadenfreude, Homeland Security recently published a master list of every Global Entry revocation from November of 2016 through June of last year. More importantly, the document lists the reason that each passenger lost the ability to take advantage of the program. Names were, of course, withheld to protect the innocent.

Screenshot of reasons for Global Entry revocations.

A large number of travelers lost Global Entry privileges simply because their payment did not process. The CBP is apparently fairly forgiving in these situations and in the vast majority of these cases, Global Entry was reinstated once payments were made.

The feds were much less forgiving about criminal infractions that changed a passenger’s status as a Trusted Traveler. Over the most recently available six-month period, dozens of individuals lost Global Entry following drunk driving arrests. Many others had memberships revoked after previously unreported arrests and convictions came to light. One former Trusted Traveler had Global Entry revoked when officials discovered DUI arrests dating from 1981 and 2012. There were also a handful of travelers with permissions revoked following serious felonies such as weapons violations, assault and in one case, possessing child pornography.

It seems that more than a few Trusted Travelers thought their status would allow them to skirt customs regulations. Passengers had their status revoked for small infractions such as “failing to declare two whole pummelo fruits” and more substantial lapses such as an incident involving “US Customs penalty and drug possession at LAX on 11/17/16.”

Most often, the agency lists the reason for revoked Global Entry simply as, “You no longer meet program eligibility requirements.” In other cases, the CBP is oddly specific.

“On 11/6/2016 you attempted to bring your spouse who is not a member of the Trusted Traveler Program through the Global Entry lines at Philadelphia International Airport without her being cleared by a CBP officer,” the agency informed one unfortunate traveler. “In addition, you failed to properly declare purchases made overseas. Both constitute violations of program rules and your membership is therefore revoked.”

Apparently, even lapses in decorum can cause a traveler to fall from grace. In one case, a passenger lost Global Entry after first losing his temper with a CBP agent and loudly announcing, “This is f—ing bull—-.”

View Comments (8)


  1. ContinentalFan

    April 5, 2018 at 6:48 am

    Nice article. Do you know if they penalize for an arrest or is it based on a conviction? An arrest seems harsh.


  2. Taker Park

    April 5, 2018 at 10:27 am

    Names were not entirely withheld or in one case, full name and DOB. This was a sloppy job.

  3. QT31415

    April 5, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    In Seattle, I was sidelined, searched, threatened with revocation of Global Entry, and almost fined $10,000 for taking in a chocolate croissant. The croissant was purchased at CDG airport prior to boarding, but not declared. I was told I had to declare every stick of gum, tea bag, mint or even sugar pack (I’m diabetic).

    After that, I declare everything, and since then I’ve only had rolling eyes and laughter from the CBP agents.

  4. manstein58

    April 6, 2018 at 4:27 am

    This article is dead on. Once I had an apple from United’s inflight snack in my travel bag and Snoopy the Customs Dog sniffed it out. For the next 4 entries, I was taken aside and specially searched. Hard reminder that GE is a privilege

  5. Cat Man Do

    April 6, 2018 at 7:20 am

    It’s in the document. Yes, they do.

  6. pdquick

    April 6, 2018 at 3:06 pm

    You can also lose status for *departing* the U.S. with prescription controlled substances that you fail to report to Customs on departure. They look at you like you have two heads when you show up at the back door of the Customs area to tell them you’re leaving the country with some Ambien, but that’s the law.

  7. mczlaw

    April 6, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    To the prior poster: are you aware of an actual example of someone having GE revoked for departing with a schedule III-V prescription med? Frankly, sounds pretty farfetched…especially considering the lack of contact with CBP outbound.

  8. bostontraveler

    April 7, 2018 at 1:16 pm

    Typical overexaggeration by US authorities. Really can’t stand CBP and their police-state mentality. Why should someone continue to be penalized years after a DUI or an arrest? Isn’t the penalty they paid the first time around enough? But alas it is not… these things haunt you forever in life in the US. Except if you’re a politician or a police officer, of course.

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