Welcome to Offshore Living Letter, Your #1 Resource for Offshore Diversification

Why Did I Consider Global Entry?

05 Oct
Border Crossing

Why I'm Applying For Global Entry

Traveling to and through the United States are among my least favorite things thanks to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy spending time in the States. It’s the coming and the going that I dread.

They run propaganda videos while you’re standing in line telling you about the process you’re currently suffering through, assuring you it’s all in your best interest, making you and America safer from terrorism and the illegal movement of people and goods, etc. Those points are debatable. However, I don’t see how being rude and obnoxious helps ICE officers wage their battles.

Flying back to Panama from Europe about a month ago, an ICE officer was incredulous when we told him we didn’t have anything to declare. He sent us off with a scowl to the secondary inspection area.

Every time we come or go, it’s something. A big “X” on the printout from the automatic immigration kiosks, an additional search, a litany of questions…

Finally, I’ve grown tired enough of the various low levels of harassment the typical traveler is subjected to every time he crosses the U.S. border to give Global Entry a try. I’ve resisted the program for years, but now I’m signing up with the hope that it’ll mean less interaction with ICE personnel.

A friend who has been using Global Entry for a couple years now says it’s great. The biggest benefit, according to him, is, indeed, that you rarely have to interact with an ICE officer. I have my fingers crossed.

That same friend sent me information today about the U.K.’s Registered Travel Service, which has added the United States to the list of countries whose citizens can apply. However, unlike the U.S. Global Entry program, which doesn’t stipulate any minimum required number of U.S. border crossings, to be eligible to apply for the U.K. program, you must have made 4 visits to that country in the last 52 weeks.

The U.K. program also allows Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and Japanese citizens (if eligible). Germans, Dutch, Panamanians, South Koreans, and Mexicans can apply for Global Entry.

Panama started a program similar to Global Entry called Global Pass. However, this program is only for Americans coming and going from Panama; not Panamanians.

Other countries have started using automated immigration systems, including Australia, New Zealand, and some airports in Europe. The European kiosks are available for EU citizens only, but the Australian and New Zealand ones are open to a long list of countries as long as you have a new e-passport, which you probably have by now.

I’m awaiting word from Global Entry. I’ll let you know if I pass muster.

Lief Simon

Mailbag

“Lief, from all the material I have read and the banks I have checked in Belize, they have fees on everything, which are extremely high compared to the banks in the United States. Why are they so high?”

R.P.

Yes, bank fees overseas are higher than for U.S. banks, especially when dealing with a private bank. This is only going to get worse as banks around the world continue to struggle with the costs of becoming and remaining FATCA-compliant. All those costs, unfortunately, are being passed along to account-holders.