Make us your home page
Instagram

Global Entry customs program expands at TIA

TAMPA — A background check, fingerprints and a 15 minute interview.

That's all it takes to join the Global Entry program, which allows international travelers to be prescreened so they can get through customs within a matter of minutes when they arrive back on U.S. soil.

But at Tampa International Airport there was a problem: Travelers couldn't be interviewed in Tampa. They had to go to Orlando or Miami or elsewhere.

Not anymore. Now Global Entry interviews can be conducted at Tampa International. That will make it more convenient for Tampa's overseas travelers while boosting the airport's efforts to attract more international flights.

"This is, for the moment, the big missing piece," said Tampa International CEO Joe Lopano. "It will make getting off your plane and getting through customs so easy."

It costs $100 to go through the screening process. Start by applying online at cbp.gov or globalentry.gov. Qualified fliers will answer a series of questions, then be asked to come to the Tampa airport for a personal interview with a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer.

"Its very user friendly," said Gary McClelland, the area port director for CBP, which is under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. "You select the date and time based on what we have available."

The new interview rooms are located in the red arrivals baggage claim area.

Generally, CBP's goal is to get international travelers through customs in an hour or so. The estimated average wait at Tampa International is around half that time.

Once fliers are enrolled in Global Entry, they'll be able to get through customs in just minutes. A Global Entry flier can get off the plane, approach a special kiosk, have their passport and fingerprints automatically scanned, ask and answer declaration questions on a touch-screen, then be given a paper confirmation that will allow them to leave the airside's last exit point.

Last month the airport also unveiled its refurbished and expanded Airside F for international travelers. That's where the kiosks will be located.

"That is our state of the art," McClelland said. "Our latest and greatest."

Tampa International is the latest airport to join the program, which has 34 member airports in the United States. CBP screens around 160,000 international passengers annually at Tampa International. The program is open to U.S. citizens, permanent residents and citizens of Mexico. Fliers from Canada, South Korea and the Netherlands who participate in prescreening programs in their own nations can also enroll in Global Entry.

CBP will divert two of the officers assigned to the Tampa airport to conduct the interviews. But the agency expects that to pay off later as more travelers enroll and fewer need to go through the international security lines.

"It's going to save not only the individual time," McClelland said, "but it saves time by allowing us to focus on higher-risk passengers, so the cost benefit is worth it."

There's another benefit: Anyone who qualifies for Global Entry also gets to join the Transportation Security Administration's similarly expedited prescreening program for domestic travelers. That's currently available for Delta fliers at Tampa's Airside E.

It was the airport's aggressive efforts to add international flights that convinced CBP to finally open an interview office here.

"They definitely had the need," McClelland said. "They worked at their passenger counts and that determines the pecking order."

Jamal Thalji can be reached at thalji@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3404.

Global Entry customs program expands at TIA 06/06/13 [Last modified: Thursday, June 6, 2013 5:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Heights Public Market to host two Tampa Bay food trucks

    Business

    TAMPA — The Heights Public Market announced the first two food trucks for its "rotating stall," which will feature new restaurants every four months. Surf and Turf and Empamamas will be rolled out first.

    Heights Public Market is opening this summer inside the Tampa Armature Works building.
[SKIP O'ROURKE   |   Times file photo]

  2. Author Randy Wayne White could open St. Pete's biggest restaurant on the pier

    Food & Dining

    ST. PETERSBURG — The story begins with Yucatan shrimp.

    St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin, pilot Mark Futch, Boca Grande, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, and author and businessman Randy Wayne White,  Sanibel, exit a Maule Super Rocket seaplane after taking a fight around Tampa Bay off the St. Petersburg waterfront, 6/28/17.  White and his business partners are in negotiations with the City of St. Petersburg to build a fourth Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille on the approach to the St. Petersburg Pier with a second event space on the pier according to White. The group met near Spa Beach after a ground breaking ceremony for the new pier. "We want to have our business open by the time the pier opens," said White. Other Dr. Ford restaurants are located on Sanibel, Captiva and Ft. Myers Beach. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times
  3. Guilty plea for WellCare Health Plans former counsel Thaddeus Bereday

    Business

    Former WellCare Health Plans general counsel Thaddeus M.S. Bereday pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to the Florida Medicaid program, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set, acting U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow of the Middle District …

    WellCare Health Plans former general counsel Thaddeus M.S. Bereday, pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to the Florida Medicaid program, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set, acting U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow of the Middle District of Florida stated Wednesday. [LinkedIn handout]
  4. DOT shows alternatives to former Tampa Bay Express toll lanes

    Transportation

    TAMPA — State transportation officials are evaluating at least a half-dozen alternatives to the controversial Tampa Bay interstate plan that they will workshop with the community over the next 18 months.

    Florida Department of Transportation consultant Brad Flom explains potential alternatives to adding toll lanes to Interstate 275 during a meeting Wednesday at DOT's Tampa office. Flom presented seven diagrams, all of which swapped toll lanes for transit, such as light rail or express bus, in the I-275 corridor from downtown Tampa to Bearss Ave. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON | Times]
  5. Claim: State pressured CFO, used secret recordings to shut down Universal Health Care

    Banking

    ST. PETERSBURG — The founder of St. Petersburg's Universal Health Care alleges that Florida regulators conspired with the company's chief financial officer to drive the once high-flying Medicare insurer out of business.

    Federal agents raided the headquarters of Universal Health Care in 2013, ordering employees to leave the building. The insolvent St. Petersburg Medicare insurer was then in the process of being liquidated by state regulators.
[DIRK SHADD   |   Times file photo]