Customs agents enroll former TRI Customs Port Director George Faron, the first TRI-based traveler in the Global Entry program, May 22.
International travelers seeking to take part in the US Customs/TSA Global Entry program can now make their applications at Tri-Cities Airport. Previously, travelers in the region had to drive for hours to make the mandatory in-person application. The closest enrollment centers prior to the opening of the center at the TRI were in Nashville and Charlotte, with others available at Atlanta and Washington-Dulles.
Judging from the response, the addition of the service at the TRI is a popular move. Before the office officially opened its doors May 22, it had already filled its appointment calendar for the next 60 days. Port Director Thomas Cook says consideration is already being given to expanding the hours of operation for the enrollment center, which currently run from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays.
The Global Entry program allows low risk international travelers to use kiosks to handle their Customs obligations when re-entering the U.S., rather than taking the time to go through the traditional one-on-one interaction with a Customs agent. The program also includes TSA PreCheck at no additional charge.
It’s expected that Tri-Cities residents will be joined in utilizing the enrollment center by travelers based in Knoxville, Roanoke, Asheville and anywhere else closer to the TRI than to Nashville and/or Charlotte.