The UK has recently been added to the countries eligible for the US Global Entry program. As part of the Global Entry application, background checks are done to ensure that you're a "low risk traveller", and normally those involve checks with where you live.

On the CBP eligibility page, it says that GE is open to US citizens, without making mention of their country of residency. It also (as of quite recently) says it's open to British citizens.

To apply as a British (UK) citizen, you have to first get the UK government to complete background checks on you, and only then are you allowed to apply through the US GOES system. The UK application site for the background check says it's for British Citizens only.

What's the situation for US citizens living in the UK, can they still apply for Global Entry? And if so, do they skip the need for the UK background check, or if not then when process do they need to follow to get it done?


You could also apply for NEXUS, which provides the same Global Entry benefits when entering the US as well as equivalent benefits when entering Canada. At $50 for 5 years it is half the price of Global Entry alone, though the cost is that the in-person interview can only be done at the subset of Global Entry locations where CBSA officers are also present (mostly at land border crossings and Canadian airports with US pre-clearance).

The reason this is relevant to your question is that, while NEXUS used to have a residence requirement for members, it is now explicitly open to Canadians and Americans no matter where they live as indicated by the CBSA web site:

To be eligible for the NEXUS, you must be a citizen or permanent resident of Canada or the United States.

Effective June 30, 2012, Canadian and American citizens living outside of Canada or the United States or who have recently returned to either country and have not previously been able to meet the three-year residency requirement are now eligible to apply.

Note that NEXUS used to be a program separate from Global Entry (NEXUS members couldn't use the Global Entry kiosks at US airports) but got turned into GE+Canada when the US opened GE to foreigners. I believe the change to eliminate the residence requirement was done to make it match what GE allowed for Americans already; it is certainly clear that the US would not allow Canadians living in random countries to use GE machines when entering the US if they denied Americans the same privilege.

So if you are a US citizen you can apply for Global Entry where ever you reside without a prior requirement for a background check from that country. I had an American co-worker living in Hong Kong who joined Global Entry while there, so I'm sure even residence in a place with privacy laws that likely preclude such checks from abroad doesn't disqualify an American. While it could be that there are certain countries of residence which would cause them to decline a GE application from a US citizen, it is pretty certain that the UK won't be one of them.


Global entry membership eligibility is based primarily on citizenship. Permanent residents of the US are eligible for the program regardless of their citizenship, but US citizens (and others who qualify based on their citizenship) are not rendered ineligible by virtue of taking up residence in some other country.

U.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents and citizens of a few other countries are eligible for Global Entry membership. Global Entry is also available to:

  • Citizens of Germany
  • Citizens of the Netherlands
  • Citizens of Panama
  • Citizens of South Korea
  • Mexican nationals


You may not be eligible for participation in the Global Entry program if you:

  • Provide false or incomplete information on the application;
  • Have been convicted of any criminal offense or have pending criminal charges or outstanding warrants (to include driving under the influence);
  • Have been found in violation of any customs, immigration or agriculture regulations or laws in any country;
  • Are the subject of an ongoing investigation by any federal, state or local law enforcement agency;
  • Are inadmissible to the United States under immigration regulation, including applicants with approved waivers of inadmissibility or parole documentation; or
  • Cannot satisfy CBP of your low-risk status.

(Source: http://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry/eligibility)

For a US citizen, the next-to-last item would not be applicable.

It is not clear why anyone would think a US citizen resident in the UK would need a UK background check to apply. That is a requirement for British citizens, and a US citizen resident in the UK is not a British citizen. (Even if that person is a dual national, he is not a British citizen in the eyes of the US government.)

  • 2
    I think one of the the question is whether a US citizen living abroad would be able to get themselves background checked successfully, as they might not have enough information in the US database for a complete background check – SztupY Dec 4 '15 at 19:57
  • @SztupY that is an interesting question, but only secondary here. I suppose there are two possibilities: either the US authorities do the best they can in the way of a background check (and perhaps there is a risk that they would be less likely to conclude that the subject is a low risk), or foreign-resident US citizens are excluded from the program and the website has neglected to mention that. It wouldn't be the first time for a government web site or program to overlook certain categories of people that nobody thought about at first. Unfortunately, it seems that finding out costs $100. – phoog Dec 4 '15 at 21:55

Yes, a US Citizen may apply for US Global entry.

Your problem will be in getting the interview appointment. I have not seen mention of any US Consulate offices (or other facilities) having this capability overseas.

Meaning you will probably need to coordinate the Global Entry in-person interview with a trip home to the US.

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