Global Entry Denied- A Mileaholic Guest Story
To kick off Mileaholic's new guest stories, I want to share with you what happened with one of my friends in registering for global entry. Global Entry is $100 and is covered by most premium credit cards. This guest writer wanted to stay anonymous. Here is his story...
Before I tell you my story let me start with some background information. I have no arrest record. I was born and raised in the United States. My mother was too. My father moved to the United States from Pakistan when he was 16 and hasn’t traveled since. Other than a few speeding tickets, I’m a model citizen.
My life is rolling right now. I have a solid job and saved up enough vacation for my first big boy trip with the wife. I can’t complain. We are finally able to take some time off for a European vacation. I figured it was time to apply for Global Entry.
After hours of literally refreshing the GOES website (it crashes a lot, at least it does on my computer), I was able to finally submit all of my information. Arrest record? None. Travel? Just once to the Dominican Republican for my honeymoon a few years back. Employment? I can be fuzzy on exact months so I printed out my Employment Data Report online to be as accurate as possible. Easy stuff. Every “I” was dotted and every “t” was crossed.
I already have TSA Precheck, so this should be simple enough. Just my luck, an appointment opened up a month before my big vacation! I will easily get approved and have Global Entry in time for my vacation.
(Side note: My wife is of Afghan descent. She moved here 17 years ago and went to middle school, high school, and college here in the United States. Her “conditional approval” still hasn’t processed and her application was filled out well before mine. Such is life.)
I walk to the interview with my lease, my phone bill, my electric bill, my Employment Data report, pay stubs, marriage license, you name it. I brought anything and everything they could possibly need. The CBP Officer didn’t ask many questions at all. She said she didn’t need my documents and that she would have me out of there in no time.
I felt comfortable enough to ask her if my wife’s nationality slows down her process.
She replied, “It certainly does, and for good reason too.”
I wanted to take some offense to that, but I appreciated her honesty. Rather than debate her about geopolitical history, I opted to leave it alone. After all, the power to accept or deny my pristine application was in her hands.
She told me to go back in the waiting room before I could be officially done with the process. After a 10 minute wait, she came back and asked me for my passport again. I thought that was odd, but she did mention her system was having trouble with the computer so I figured she just needed to make another copy. Again, I have nothing to hide. She returned my passport promptly and I was on my way.
A week went by and I was frantically checking my application status. It still said “Interview Scheduled” and allowed me to change my appointment. My wife finally got her conditional approval so I figured maybe we can see if she can do a walk-in appointment and I can ask what’s going on with my application. We walked into the center and the same officer happened to be in the room. I asked her why my application was still pending.
She replied “I haven’t finished yours yet. Trust me, I remember you.”
She was also pretty quick to tell us to leave and that my wife can’t do a walk-in appointment.
It was worth a shot.
By the time I got to work I received a notification.
I was seriously shocked. I have friends who are goons that have Global Entry. How could I be denied such a simple privilege, especially with my background?
The reason listed on my application was: “Inconsistencies with travel and employment history.”
I went back the next day to gain some clarity so that I may appeal. As soon as I walked up to the window, the officer spotted me.“I’ll handle this situation,” she said, waving off the other officers and keeping her hand on her holstered gun.
She proceeded to tell me to have a seat in the waiting area and she will be right with me and began texting. To each their own, I guess.
I waited patiently and smiled as much as I could. She came out and asked what I needed, hand on her gun.
“I received my denial letter,” I said.
“And…?” she remarked.
“And the letter says that I can ask for some clarity at my local office and then appeal,” I said.
“It says there is inconsistency with my travel and employment history. I brought all of my documents. I am not sure what was inconsistent. If you can clear that up, I can properly file an appeal and dispel any inconsistencies.”
“What it says on your paper is all I can tell you,” she remarked, hand still on gun and security watching. That’s frustrating. She wouldn’t go into any detail so that I could actually understand what was going on. She asked me if I wanted to speak to her supervisor. I didn’t want to leave without some clarity, so that was an easy call.
The supervisor brought me and the officer into a conference room, again, hands on guns.
“I am going to support my officer’s decision,” said the supervisor. “You can point out what was wrong in your appeal.”
“I can’t point out anything if you guys don’t tell me what was wrong with my application,” I said.
“Given your employment history, we couldn’t understand how you could afford a trip to the Dominican in 2014,” said the officer.
Bingo. Now I got some information.
“It was my honeymoon. The Dominican is one of the cheaper destinations. I was employed for an entire year before that trip,” I said.
“We can’t divulge any more information. Thank you for your time,” the supervisor said.
I had to say it.
“Is it because of my race or nationality? Or my wife’s?” I asked.
“Leave the premises,” the supervisor said.
This was infuriating. I followed every step to a tee and left nothing behind closed doors, yet I was still denied. The only recourse is to send out a letter to the CBP Ombudsman, which is a stretch. It will take months for that appeal to (maybe) get answered.I will now have to wait in lines like everybody else.
What a waste of $100.