The Travisa Connection
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|May 28, 2014|
India Alert:The Indian government is transitioning to a new outsourcing service; this has resulted in changes in fees, additional requirements, and is causing severe delays. Travisa will continue to do everything possible to expedite processing for our clients, and we are following up on every visa application in process several times per day.
Weekly Feature - Global Entry vs. TSA PreCheckWe all want to speed through the long, unpleasant lines at airport security and customs, but what can you do about it?
You might not realize it, but U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has more than one program designed to expedite your trip though the airport. Trusted Traveler options include: FAST, FLUX, NEXUS, SENTRI, SES, Smart Gate and STEP. The TSA also offers TSA PreCheck.
That's a lot of acronyms! Let's break which ones matter for you and which ones don't. FLUX, SES and Smart Gate all apply to frequent travelers to/from the Netherlands, Korea, and Australia. New Zealand has a similar program that's missing the catchy name. These programs expedite and secure international travel with an automated border passage program. For North America, the State Department also has the NEXUS and SENTRI programs, which apply to border crossings between the U.S. and Canada and Mexico, both by land and sea.
The good news is members of those programs can also participate in Global Entry. Global Entry helps you clear U.S. customs and Border patrol faster regardless of where you are traveling from. The program is designed for low-risk travelers to receive expedited clearance upon arriving arrival into the United States. To receive Global Entry, you must submit an application that includes an in-person interview, background check, and fingerprinting. Once you pass, Global Entry members can then skip the lines at Customs and Border Protection and instead use touch-screen kiosks in the arrivals area of airports.
Side Note: It can take months to get an appointment for an interview - but don't get discouraged! It seems that the Global Entry program has gotten so popular that appointments are now being filled up months in advance at many locations. As of May 6, there were 88,000 appointments scheduled for the 35 enrollment centers, so the math is not on your side. However, as one frequent traveler blogged:
"After I completed my application earlier this year, I contacted a Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) office to see if there was any way to get an earlier appointment, and I was told to keep checking their web sites for cancellations. To my surprise, an appointment opened up the following week and I was in. It appears as if the typical GOES applicant travels frequently on business but often needs to cancel their appointments with little notice. So don't get discouraged - there are plenty of ways to get around the appointment backlog including just walking into an appointment office. After all, someone might miss their flight and their appointment and you can slip in. Another tip, don't confine your search to your home airport, browse the airports at the destinations that you are already scheduled to visit."
Skipping the lines can help at customs, but what about the lines at security when you get to the airport? Here's where TSA's PreCheck program enters the game. Qualified fliers go through an expedited TSA security line, where they don't have to remove their shoes, belts, coats, and laptops. Initially you had to have frequent-flier status or be a member of a Trusted Traveler program (so if you have Global Entry you have PreCheck) to qualify for the program. However, starting last September, you can apply online to be eligible for the PreCheck program.
So, should travelers invest in Global Entry or TSA PreCheck and how do these programs compare? Let's break it down:
What the Program Offers -
Global Entry members skip the lines at Customs and Border Protection and instead use touch - screen kiosks in the arrivals area of airports. Global Entry members are automatically eligible to the TSA PreCheck program at no additional fee.
With TSA PreCheck, qualified fliers go through an expedited TSA security line, where they don't have to remove their shoes, belts, coats, and laptops.
Global Entry has a $100 fee that must be paid when you send in your application.
TSA PreCheck has an $85 fee that must be paid online.
Application Process -
Global Entry starts with an online application, which if approved results in an in person interview where a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer asks questions, take a photo and scans fingerprints.
TSA Pre-Check requires an online application. Then you are required to verify identity and provide fingerprints at a TSA PreCheck and enrollment center.
How Long Is Membership Active?
Both TSA PreCheck and Global Entry memberships are valid for 5 years.
There are currently 45 airports in the Global Entry program, including outposts in Canada, Guam, and Shannon, Ireland.
TSA PreCheck is currently available in 115 airports across the US for passengers traveling on Alaska, American, Delta, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest, United, US Airways and Virgin America.
It is important to note Kids must have Global Entry to bypass customs with their parents. Just as all children, regardless of age, must have a passport to travel internationally, all passport holders must have GE in order to skip the standard line when entering the country. For maximum inconvenience, each child needs to have a separate appointment, so it is important to be very calm through this process! And yes, your 10 month old baby will need their own appointment! However, children do not have to have Global Entry to go through TSA PreCheck with their parents.
It will also be necessary to re-visit an airport Customs and Border Patrol office when you get a new passport. So if your passport is expiring in the next few months it is recommended you renew your passport before applying for Global Entry or PreCheck!
The final result of the application process is credit card sized picture ID. This card also happens to be a Federal ID that can be valid at the TSA, DMV, and the federal courts. So keep your card separate from your driver's license and passport, and don't forget this fact if you need an extra form of identification in a pinch!
Consular UpdatesBrazil Notice:
Several Brazilian Consulates are currently experiencing delays in visa processing, in part due to high volume of applications for attendees of the FIFA World Cup this summer. In some cases, an appointment is required (Travisa can set the appointment) in order for processing to begin. Consulates may prioritize applications based on departure date, and therefore processing time may be unpredictable. If planning travel to other countries prior to visiting Brazil, please contact Travisa for advice on planning.
Schengen Visa Notice:
Schengen Consulates will now require a personal appearance for biometric information to be taken as part of the visa application process.
FIFA is going to Brazil!
In the Arena de Sao Paulo on June 12th the first of several exhilarating soccer matches will take place - don't miss your chance to see the World Cup in Brazil - Live! For Soccer Fans around the Globe, Brazil is offering Visas options specifically for World Cup Spectators that will be available through the duration of the event. You can start and finish your application process with Travisa. Click here for the step by step instructions and information you will need to get your adventure on track!
Conde Nast Traveler: Five Things Every Smart Traveler Should Do in June
These are the five things smart travelers should be doing this month:
1. Book your domestic flights for Labor Day weekend. The biggest bargains are on coast-to-coast routes, as well as those to Seattle, Boston, Denver, and Los Angeles.
2. Snap up a deal at a resort in Mexico or the Caribbean for any time until December 19. In June, resorts study their low-season bookings and feature offers of the stay-five-nights-for-the-price-of-three variety. Look closely at the Puerto Vallarta/Punta Mita area and the Mayan Riviera - just remember that August through October can mean hurricanes.
3. Consider getting an American Express Platinum Card. Sign up now and you'll have free access to more than 700,000 Boingo Wireless hot spots in airports, hotels, and restaurants worldwide (this is especially great for travelers who find themselves stuck overseas with overpriced or nonexistent Wi-Fi). You'll also be reimbursed the $85 application fee for TSA Precheck, which will minimize your airport-security wait times.
Read more by clicking here!
Great Features from TravisaVisa Widget
Give visitors to your website instant access to visa requirement information. Travisa's complimentary Visa Widget allows travelers to choose their destination country, citizenship, and purpose of travel to see if a visa is required, with the added convenience of never leaving your site. You can customize your Widget with a company logo or simply leave it the way it is. Your account code can also be embedded within, ensuring that travelers will have access to correct pricing and account details. We can even save a default destination and citizenship if your travelers have a common preference. Adding the widget is easy. Just visit the widget set-up page. If you have any questions about how this can be of benefit to your travelers, you may also contact Travisa's Account Management Team for more assistance.
Smart Phone Apps
Have you ever been in a time crunch and not at your desk to check visa requirements for your upcoming international trip? No problem! Use Travisa's FREE App for Android or App for iPhone for easy access to visa and passport requirements on the go. You can also e-mail the information directly from the App for easy retrieval at your convenience.
App for Android
Download Travisa's FREE App for Android. You can also find us on the Android market (just look for Travisa Visa). Passport and visa requirements and instructions are now available anywhere you are. You can look for information and send travel document requirements via e-mail for easy, convenient retrieval later on.
App for iPhone and iPad
With the Travisa Visa App, you can download FREE App for iPhone, iPad or iPod touch! You can also access detailed information on travel visa requirements for over 200 countries and passport services directly on your iPad, even when you do not have internet access. The Travisa Visa App is great for frequent international travel managers, as well as individual travelers, who need to know country visa requirements fast. Send your travel document requirements via email for easy, convenient retrieval later on, even in areas with no receptivity.
Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod touch, and iTunes are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. iPad is a trademark of Apple Inc. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.
Consulate and Embassy Closings
We are a privately-held company, headquartered in Washington, DC with other networked locations in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Puerto Rico, San Francisco, Ottawa, Toronto and London. Travisa has been the leader in the visa and passport industry for over 30 years. Our clients include corporations (of all sizes), travel management companies, cruise lines, non-profit organizations, tour operators, universities and individuals. Our clients and the embassies we serve count on us for our world class service, cutting edge technology and our commitment to the security of the documents we process.
For more information about how we can better serve your visa, passport and legalization needs, please contact our Account Management Team at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can visit our website at www.travisa.com
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