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Global Entry: Trusted Traveler Protection

by Lux Joseph 11. August 2013

If you are a frequent traveler you are probably well aware of some of the long lines you stand in at customs, immigrations, and TSA. Even as the US Government provides additional funding, waiting in line is not going to disappear on its own. These long lines can affect a traveler by missing a connection, late for a meeting, or simply extra aggravation after traveling 16 hours from Asia. One of the government programs that have been in existence since 2008 is the Global Entry Program and it is something that we encourage you to look into if you travel frequently to alleviate some of this stress.

Try not to get the Global Entry Program confused with the TSA PreCheck program. Transport Security Administration piggybacked on the Global Entry Program. The Global Entry Program was piloted in 2008 at John F. Kennedy International Airport, George Bush Intercontinental Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport. Today there are Global Entry kiosks at over 40 airports. Enrolling in this program is only $100, but if you are an American Express Platinum cardholder AMEX will reimburse you. By enrolling in this program you will complete an application which goes through a rigorous background check and screening followed by an interview to determine if you are a low-risk traveler. It may take several months to get an appointment, but once you do you are solid for five years.

Once you have completed your interview and you have received your Global Entry card, you are set for international travel. No more struggling to find that pen at the bottom of your backpack or having to ask another traveler for one to simply complete the customs forms upon arrival into the USA. With this program, you no longer have to complete any of those forms. You will bypass the regular customs line and proceed right to the kiosk where your fingerprints will be scanned to compare with biometric data, a digital photo will be taken, and you answer a few declaration questions on the screen.  Once that is completed you will be issued a receipt to present to the CBP officer and you can proceed to your final destination.

If you accepted into the program, you are automatically qualified for the program I mentioned earlier, TSA PreCheck. Many of you may be familiar with this or already enrolled by your frequent traveler programs like Delta Skymiles, American Advantage, and United MileagePlus. This program enables you to go through TSA screening without having to remove your belt, shoes, laptop, or even taking out your liquids. As a traveler, it is important to keep up to date with these types of programs to ensure stress free travel. 

At the end of the month I will go to the Miami International Airport for my interview. Below is the timeline of the typical process:

  • July 3, 2013- Applied online for the program and paid the $100 application fee.
  • July 27, 2013- Application was accepted and interview date selection was available. The soonest date available was August 23, 2013.

As the process continues, I will keep you informed so you know what to expect when you go for your interview.

To enroll in the Global Entry Program visit the following website: http://www.globalentry.gov

Worldwide Travel Alert

by Lux Joseph 5. August 2013

The United States issued a worldwide travel alert on Friday warning Americans that al Qaeda may be planning attacks in August, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa. Yesterday the US Department of State has closed 21 US Embassies and Consulates around the world due to recent intelligence. This global warning has an affect on all Americans and we want you to know that CME is using caution and the highest level of safety when transporting our patients throughout this travel warning.

On a day-to-day basis, CME is transporting patients around the world with nurses and physicians in an effort to bring them back home with safe and sound. When a travel alert, such as this one is announced to US citizens, remember that safety is our number one priority in every transport. CME would like to remind our clients and patients that the following items are exercised thoroughly to maintain a safe and secure transport:

Ground Transportation

Upon arrival into any country, our medical escorts will be escorted via ground transportation that has been pre-arranged. At this time we encourage our team to not use public transportation when not absolutely necessary. When transporting our patients from the facility to the airport for departure we will also have ground transportation arranged in advance. Each of our ground transportation providers ensure only the highest quality of vendors are utilized for transport. If you are traveling abroad, we suggest you contact the concierge at your hotel to have pre-arranged cars to take you to your destination.

STEP

Each of our medical escorts will be enrolled in the Department of Travel STEP program. The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program is strongly recommended for anyone traveling outside of the country. Even if there is no active threat alert it is encouraged that you enroll in this program. By enrolling in STEP you will receive the latest security updates and your information is on file with the US Embassies and Consulates so they may contact you during an emergency. Ever time a nurse is traveling abroad their trip will be registered. We encourage you to register today at: https://step.state.gov/step/

Know your Surroundings

CME picks up patients from different destinations every week. There is always a significant amount of transports to your major destinations like Paris, London, Frankfurt, Prague, and Amsterdam. However, there are also a variety of new destinations that are unfamiliar to our medical team. It is encouraged that you always be well aware of your surroundings when traveling abroad.  At CME, we will do our best to select American hotels when available for our medical team. We always select hotels that have a restaurant within the hotel therefore our medical team does not need to leave the hotel to find a restaurant. You should also select a hotel with an excellent concierge so they can assist you in making smart decisions. The concierge is the most knowledgeable individual in the area. The concierge can explain to you the safety do's and don'ts for the area around the hotel.

Monitoring Travel

CME closely monitors the latest news and weather updates, as well as the U.S. Department of State website, for travel alerts and travel warnings for all destinations, including those that are most popular with our clients. Should we become aware of an issue for a specific destination, we alert clients and our medical team who may be planning to travel there so they can determine for themselves if they still wish to travel. If CME becomes aware of an issue for a specific destination where a client is currently located, we try to immediately contact the clinician, patient, and client to check on their well-being and work to assist them if they require alternate travel arrangements.

Working with the US Embassies Around the World

CME has established a great working relationship with several of the US Embassies and Consulates around the world. We have worked with many of their emergency personnel in addition to assisting some of our patients and companions acquire the necessary documents to return back to the USA. When traveling abroad, the US Embassies and Consulates are your emergency hotline 24/7. Even with the recent closures of many US Embassies, the emergency contact number is still active. The closures affect routine public services like passport and visa issues.  

CME is here to assist our clients; their safety and well-being is our top priority. We provide the facts so our clients can make an informed decision about their travel plans. This travel warning is in effect until August 31, but analyzing and adjusting CME safely measures is an ongoing effort within our office. When transporting our patients we always look at the most direct routing based on availability. As updated information becomes available, CME will continue to make adjustments to our safety guidelines. You can also stay informed through the following social media channels:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/travelgov

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/travelgov


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