How will Global Entry work at Tri-Cities Airport?

Hank Hayes • Jan 1, 2018 at 8:30 AM

BLOUNTVILLE – The former game room next to the airport service counter at Tri-Cities Airport is headed toward a new mission with an international flavor.

It’s going to be a Global Entry Enrollment Center.

What is a Global Entry Enrollment Center?

In April 2016, U.S. Customs and Border Protection approached airport officials about locating a Global Entry Enrollment Center at the airport. Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low risk travelers upon arrival in the United States.

How does the center work?

At airports, program members proceed to Global Entry kiosks, present their machine-readable passport or U.S. permanent resident card, place their fingerprints on the scanner for fingerprint verification and complete a customs declaration. The kiosk then issues the traveler a transaction receipt and directs the traveler to baggage claim and the exit. The service will work similar to the pre-check program run by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). When you come into the office, they will do a background check, finger printing and take your picture. The cost is around $100 and will also cover the TSA pre-check that is around $85. It will cover both domestic and international travel.

When will the program be ready for travelers at Tri-Cities Airport?

The kiosk is expected to be installed soon and the program is expected to begin this January.

“Technically it is a done deal,” Kristi Haulsee, airport marketing and air service development director, said in an email. “They are in the process of setting up the office - waiting on furniture to be delivered, etc. We only know they will be open sometime in January and don’t know specific days and times of the week yet.”

How will the center impact the airport?

The airport is expecting a positive economic impact.

“It is expected to increase the traffic at the airport more than we can imagine, since this will be a huge draw of people wanting to get this service,” said an airport internal document. “ … The only other airports that have this service close to this area are Charlotte and Nashville.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Tri-Cities Airport Executive Director Patrick Wilson told Airport Authority commissioners last year, feels the airport is geographically suited to service these international travelers compared to where they have their other centers.

“Because there are a limited number of the centers and many centers have a significant backlog of applicants, a center located at (the airport) would also bring travelers into the region for the specific purpose of completing the Global Entry process,” Wilson concluded.