How I got my Global Entry revoked, or why you should actually declare your goods or avoid bringing food through customs

August 22, 2016

by — Posted in Case Study

Title basically says it all. Never thought this would happen, but had the strangest experience coming back from New Zealand the other day.

Tried to use the Global Entry kiosk, got a giant X and a notification on the receipt to “report to passport control”.

Lesson learned: at this point, do a completely thorough and truthful declaration of everything you have in your luggage.

I decided to just screw it and go through though, and got through immigration just fine.

Then when I hit customs, they set me aside to be *really* thoroughly examined. Was asked everything from everyone I was traveling with to the birthdays of everyone I was traveling with to what I do for work to the address of my workplace to who I was with in New Zealand and just about every other question imaginable.

Then they went through every part of my luggage, saw all the honey and vegemite and food I had brought with me, but were totally ok with everything and eventually let me go without anything happening.

Then I arrive home, and get this letter in my email:


Thank you for your participation in the Global Entry program of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Global Entry is a voluntary program available to travelers that pass a comprehensive background investigation. Applicants found to be ineligible for Global Entry participation may still be permitted to enter into the United States although they will not be permitted to use the Global Entry dedicated lanes.

We regret to inform you that your membership in Global Entry has been revoked for the following reason:

You no longer meet program eligibility requirements due to your recent CBP violation.

If you believe the decision was based upon inaccurate information, you may contact the local trusted traveler Enrollment Center to schedule an appointment to speak with a supervisor. A list of locations can be found

If necessary, you may also write to the CBP Trusted Traveler Ombudsman at:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection
PO Box 946
Williston, VT 05495
Attention: CBP Ombudsman

The review by either the Enrollment Center or the Ombudsman will be based on the information provided by you and should include any information to further clarify a record, explain an incident or arrest, or show the disposition of criminal charges. Please remember that the following circumstances may make you ineligible for participation:

  • Providing false or incomplete information on the application;
  • Convictions for any criminal offense or pending criminal charges to include outstanding warrants;
  • Violations of any customs, immigration, or agriculture regulations or laws in any country;
  • Inadmissibility to the United States under immigration laws;
  • Receipt of a criminal pardon from any country; or
  • Other circumstances that indicate to CBP that you have not qualified as “low risk.”

Supervisor, Global Entry Enrollment Center
U.S. Customs and Border Protection


Hardcore, huh? The only thing I can imagine is they later checked my declaration form and saw that I had marked I hadn’t had any food or gifts and stuff acquired abroad, which they determined to not be true.

Or this is just a total complete mistake. I still have no idea why I got the giant X. Will write and see what happens – but until then, actually err on the side of caution, all! Even if you have Global Entry, shit can go comically and bewilderingly wrong.

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