VIP Services to speed up US Immigration?

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This topic contains 16 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  hi_flier 10 Jun 2019
at 17:50
.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 17 total)

  • hi_flier
    Participant

    Hi there fellow BT contributors.

    I’m looking for a bit of advice. Traveling to SFO in a few weeks time and time is pretty limited so trying to find ways to speed through US Immigration. I understand for US citizens Global Entry exists but that doesn’t apply to me.

    A quick bit of research suggests that there are a number of concierge type organisations offering VIP arrival services – some claim to be offering a fast-track process through customs and immigration. But there’s conflicting topics on this with some suggesting there’s no such thing in the US (would mean it’s just someone meeting you at a gate and staying with you which is not a service I need).

    Does anyone have first hand experience with so-called VIP arrival services in the US?

    Thanks!


    PatJordan
    Participant

    Have you considered flying from Dublin?

    You will benefit from US Pre-Clearance and land in the USA as a domestic passenger.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    hi_flier
    Participant

    Thanks PatJordan – yes I had considered it but it was quite a bit cheaper to fly direct with a discounted J ticket from LHR than it was to go via Dublin.

    Having done a bit more research it does seem that there are no ways to avoid the queues in SFO – Government/TSA policies prevent these companies offering fast-track services on international arrivals. That’s what I’ve been able to ascertain so far anyway.


    greyhawkgeoff
    Participant

    Just for the record UK citizens have been able to get Global Entry for the past 3 years or so, and I can personally vouch that it works, is efficient and well worthwhile if you enter the US more than a couple of times in a year. Cost from memory is c £42 for the Home Office to vouch for you, $100 to apply and attend a personal interview at a time and place of your choosing (within a list of airports in the US).
    But many TSA personnel do not know that non US/Canadians can apply, and the list of approved countries citizens extends to dozens.
    My last transits this month thru the once chaotic MIA, twice, were completely painless, I barely stopped at the machine to get my picture taken and to walk on, perhaps 15 seconds stationary – great if hand baggage only.


    JasmineBear
    Participant

    I’d also echo grehawkgeoff’s experience in using Global Entry as a UK citizen…. its so worth it in terms of the time you save, especially at the busier US gateways, both on entry (Border & Customs) and exit (TSA pre-check) with any participating airline.

    You are probably right in that it won’t help you this trip as it is a few steps, with the UK pre-clearence and the US customs check taking upto around 4 weeks, and then you need the CBP interview to be completed within 6 months. I did mine by booking an appointment when I had a late departure from a US airport, after clearing the first two stages, so got their early and completed it.

    If you need more information on the process, try https://www.gov.uk/global-entry-usa

    Finally, BA are now on the list of Global Entry & TSA pre-check as of May 2018.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    Tramor01
    Participant

    I’d echo Global Entry – I’ve found it to be quicker to get into the USA at times than back into the UK!
    You have to jump through a few hoops, but it’s worth the hassle


    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    There are no concierge services to buy your way through both US immigration and customs. All paid Q jumping facilities are by application only. Some airports use passport scanning machines but you still need to line up for both immigration and customs.

    As many have said Global Entry is good and it is NOT just for immigration but also a great Q jumper for customs lines as well.

    I am currently trying to renew my Global Entry and it is taking forever…


    hi_flier
    Participant

    Thank you all for your replies.

    Unfortunately it’s a bit of a one-off going to the States but good to know re Global Entry in the future.


    Gold-2K
    Participant

    What time does your flight arrive at SFO? I often travel on the late BA flight which arrives around 5;15pm. Never been a queue at immigration. Whereas the earlier flight arriving at 2:30pm seems to get in at the same time as a number of other international flights so sometimes has taken much longer.

    If its any consolation, SFO is one of the faster ones and much better than Miami which is awful, although PHL is my particular “favourite” when it comes to ‘don’t give a crap’ immigration services!

    However I always find the bigger unknown in transferring in US is having to go land-side, re-check bags and back through security.

    I too have Global Entry now and its great especially with the added benefit of TSA Pre-check on departure.


    LuganoPirate
    Participant

    I’ve toyed with the idea of the Global Entry, though I only visit the US twice a year. However on my last 5 or 6 entries through JFK or EWR I’ve been through immigration in less than 5 minutes. The longest was 10 minutes but a good 8 minutes was discussing with the officer the merits (or not) of Bitcoin. It was around $18,000 then and I said if I held them i’d sell. he said they’s go to $50K and he’d hold them!! I wonder what he did?

    If I compare that to the hassle of arranging and attending an interview I decide it was not worth it. I can understand it could be worthwhile if travelling more regularly or though Miami which I understand is still a nightmare.


    ENTERTRAVEL
    Participant

    To meet the rising needs of customers, in addition to vip service Speedup Immigration Service.

    1) Queue up and Get visa stamped at your passport at Customers Desk.
    2) Airport security check-out: the airport security will check your papers again including stamped visa on the passport, valid passport, your luggage and then go through the security scan.
    3)Get your luggage back.


    AlanOrton1
    Participant

    I always used to find Miami a nightmare, however, I’ve found in the last 18 months it has been much better. So much so the last couple of times I’ve been through immigration it’s been so quick that it’s led to a wait for the hold luggage to arrive.
    I think the self use passport reading machines have definitely helped.

    However, if you land just after 3 or 4 other Intl flights, you’re highly likely to have a fair wait, regardless of the US airport you arrive at.


    Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    You could try Blacklane

    Welcome


    hi_flier
    Participant

    What time does your flight arrive at SFO? I often travel on the late BA flight which arrives around 5;15pm. Never been a queue at immigration. Whereas the earlier flight arriving at 2:30pm seems to get in at the same time as a number of other international flights so sometimes has taken much longer.

    HiGold-2K – I arrive around 3.30pm. Good to hear about the immigration at SFO. I guess I’ll just see how it goes. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst, as they say!


    hi_flier
    Participant

    You could try Blacklane

    Thanks Tom. I had checked this out but as their website states:

    “The lines for customs and immigration counters are usually very long at SFO. Unfortunately, in the United States, there is no fast track immigration and customs line other than Global Entry at this point. We can, however, meet you after customs, help you with your bags, and make sure you are safely in your vehicle, so you can safely get to your destination.”

    …which basically is $200 for someone to lift a bag from the exit doors of customs to a taxi rank! As others have said, there really isn’t much available other than Global Entry so it’s matter of queuing.

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