HOUSTON, Feb. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Due to strong international trade and commerce, the City of Houston marks the opening of a satellite enrollment center for the Global Entry program on the mezzanine level of the historic City Hall Visitor's Center. Houston Mayor Annise Parker embraced the new satellite center not only as Houston's Mayor, but also as a new applicant into Global Entry as she was one of the first citizens to be processed in the new location.
"As Houston continues to lead the nation in an economic recovery, we anticipate that more international travel will be in our future as emerging nations build strong relationships with our strong economy," said Mayor Annise Parker. "It's a new innovative way to be processed. I look forward to my first opportunity to use Global Entry upon returning home to Houston from an international flight."
The new satellite office will be used by Houston's world travelers after submitting an online Global Entry application, to conduct their scheduled interview and program review in a centrally convenient location in downtown Houston. This new location provides potential enrollees to the Global Entry program a third option to complete the enrollment process in Houston, the two other centers located within George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH).
"Global Entry Enrollment Centers are an important piece of the Global Entry program and the city's decision to provide this satellite location in City Hall illustrates our joint commitment to ensuring international travel is safe but efficient," said Acting Director of Field Operations Lynn Fallik. "Global Entry members enjoy a quicker CBP process averaging nearly five minutes to process into the country."
The celebration of the opening is a significant symbol of Houston's strength as a global gateway. In 2012, Intercontinental Airport hit an all-time record for the number of international passengers. The growth of new foreign flag carriers in 2013 includes Turkish Airlines with new flights to Istanbul starting in April and Air China with new service to Beijing beginning in July.
"More than 8.7 million international passengers passed through the gates at George Bush Intercontinental Airport last year, a record high for the facility," said Mario C. Diaz, Director of the Houston Airport System. "It's more important than ever before that we find efficient and innovative ways to expedite the international travel process. Global Entry helps us meet that goal and better serve these vital customers."
The entrance to the new Global Entry satellite enrollment center is through the Visitor's Center at 901 Bagby Street. Free parking for a two-hour maximum is available on the street level at the north side entrance of the Visitor's Center. Those with scheduled appointments will use the elevator to access the mezzanine floor and the center will be staffed by CBP on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. CST.
Currently, Houston reports an average of more than 100 Global Entry applicants per day and this new, convenient location is expected to boost the number of enrollments even further.
Global Entry is a CBP program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon their arrival in the United States. The non-refundable application fee is only $100 and if approved, provides a five-year membership. The membership is intended for frequent international travelers, but the U.S. government does not set a minimum number of trips necessary to qualify for the trusted traveler program.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry.
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The Houston Airport System served 50 million passengers in 2012. Houston's three airports, George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), William P. Hobby (HOU) and Ellington Airport (EFD) contribute over $27 billion to the regional economy. Visit fly2houston.com and follow us @HobbyAirport and @IAH.
SOURCE Houston Airport System