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Global Entry: Costa Ricans could soon apply for a fast pass through US customs

March 4, 2020

Costa Rica could soon join the short list of countries whose citizens can apply for customs and immigration pre-approval for low-risk travelers to the United States. If approved, the expedited process could ease travel for the more than 300,000 Costa Rica residents who visited the U.S. last year.

The Costa Rican Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that both countries have advanced negotiations that would allow Costa Ricans to apply for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Global Entry program.

The Global Entry Trusted Traveler Network claims that its process reduces wait times, expedites entry into the country and keeps travelers out of long processing lines with the use of designated electronic kiosks. Applicants must submit to a background check and in-person interview before enrollment.

Costa Ricans have been increasingly traveling to the United States during the last decade. The number of Costa Rica residents who visited the United States rose from 170,000 in 2011 to 316,000 in 2018, according to the latest data from the U.S. National Travel and Tourism Office.

Other countries that have been approved for the expedited customs procedure include Argentina, Colombia, Germany, India, Mexico, the Netherlands, Panama, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. U.S. citizens and permanent residents are eligible for Global Entry.

The Foreign Ministry said it expects joining the Global Entry network will benefit Costa Rica’s business and tourism sectors.

A version of this story was first published in 2015, when Global Entry discussions began.

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