Travel Advice - expediting US Immigration & Customs
Eventually, I will pull my travel tips together into a single piece. However, at this moment, I wanted to share a tip about something that I have found to be very helpful.
The US Customs & Border Protection organization has a program that is not well known. It is called the Trusted Traveller Program. It allows you to essentially bypass the lines for immigration and customs. Technically, you don't skip the immigration piece - it's just automated (I've never had to even wait for 1 second). When it comes to the customs part, the manual part is still in place, but you get to walk to the front of the line, hand them your ticket from step 1 and your done. Essentially, you can get through the process as quickly as flight crews.
The program is not free. It costs $100 for 5 years. Depending upon your budget and how often you travel internationally, that may or may not be cost effective for you. However, as I've said before, I travel a lot and because of that, the cost of the program works out to be about $10 per trip for me. It also will get you similar expedited processing through customs and immigration in a few other countries (but read the fine print before you apply).
If you want to learn more, go to this URL: Global Entry
There are companion programs and you can learn about them here:U.S. Customs and Border Protection - Travel
If you want to apply, go to this URL: Global Entry