The process to apply for a Global Entry card in the US can only be described as convoluted at best. Its lengthy, there is very little information provided before hand or during the application. Many ridiculous questions will pop up during the application, none of which I have found answers to.
- Why is the GE application process different on an Indian passport with a Green Card vs without one.
- Why does one need to go to India to apply for Global Entry. I assume the US has done its due process in vetting to issue a visa in the first place.
- Why does the Indian Govt need to get involved at all? After all, this is to be used to enter the US, not India.
- Why cant the Indian consulates in the US process the application. They can issue passports after all.
- Why is a police verification needed to issue GE. After all, a police verification is done when issuing/renewing a passport in India, and since I have said passport, am I not already verified?
- When a passport is renewed in the US, there is no mention of police verification.
- Do they understand that Global Entry benefits most the folks who actually live in the US and frequently exit/enter the country?
- Which goddamn dimwit designed this process? I hope he/she burns in hell.
You can begin the tedious and long process of applying for a GE card at the Global Entry site: https://ttp.cbp.dhs.gov/
PS – Do not apply if you do not plan on going to India within the next 365 days from application or you will forfeit the $100.
This part is very easy and straight forward. Pay the $100 application fee. Once done, this is where rubbish Indian bureaucracy takes over. From this point it can take upto a year to get the notification to go for the final interview at a US airport.
Within a matter of a couple of hours to 24 hours, you should get an email notification stating you need to apply at a Regional Passport Office to get the GE verification done. This is what it looks like
After this, head on over to http://www.passportindia.gov.in/ and create an account. Once registered, click on Apply for Global Entry Verification.
Fill out the necessary info, its fairly straightforward. Once ready to make the appointment, continue the application. In my Regional Passport Office of Andheri-East in Bombay, appointments were available from the next day until a week out. There isn’t a big rush for appointments, so I wouldn’t stress on that. If you want an exact date, get in about a week prior to that date to make the appointment. You have to pay the fee at the time of confirming the appointment (Rs. 500). Note that you cannot select a time (the first available one will be given) but once you get an appointment, you can change it up to twice to hopefully get your desired time.
Once your appointment is confirmed, you will need any one of the following documents
|Document(s) Required for Background Verification for GEP|
|Old passport in original with self-attested photocopy of its first two and last two pages including ECR/Non-ECR page and page of observation (if any).|
Proof of Present Address
List of Acceptable Documents:
(i) Water Bill/Telephone (landline or post paid mobile bill)/Electricity bill
(ii) Photo passbook of running Bank Account (Scheduled Public Sector Banks, Scheduled Private Sector Indian Banks and Regional Rural Banks only)/Income Tax Assessment Order/Election Commission Photo ID card/Proof of Gas Connection
(iii) Certificate from Employer of reputed companies on letter head (Only public limited companies can give address proof on company letter head along with seal. Computerized print-outs shall not be entertained.)
(iv) Parent’s passport copy, in case of minors(First and last page)
(v) Applicant’s Aadhaar card
(vi) Rent Agreement
Note:This document is applicable only if applicant’s present address is different from that in the existing passport
Applicants are required to submit the proof of address of the present address only, irrespective of the date from which he/she has been residing at the given address.
Aadhaar letter/card or the e-Aadhaar (an electronically generated letter from the website of UIDAI), as the case may be, will be accepted as Proof of Address (POA) and Proof of Photo-Identity (POI) for availing passport related services. Acceptance of Aadhaar as PoA and PoI would be subject to successful validation with Aadhaar database.
Any of the remaining documents containing address Out of 12 documents listed under Tatkaal application, could also be accepted as proof of residence if such documents have the same present residential address as given by the applicant in the Passport Application Form.
Now if you do not have a proof of address, well you are basically shit out of luck. Yeah, I recognize how retarded that is….why would you have a proof of address for a place you do not live at anymore….Sorry, the process ends for you here. Thankfully I had an Aadhar card made way back when which had my address in India listed on it. Additionally, I had an NRI bank account with HDFC which also listed my India address on it. I shot off an email to the bank manager to issue me a letter stating I owned that bank account and listed the address for that account. I didn’t have to use the bank letter since the Aadhar card sufficed but i kept it as a back up.
I got the first appointment on a Monday morning and got there at 8.30 am. The process is pretty straight forward assuming you have followed directions in terms of documents required. I went in at 8.45 and was out by 9.05 am. Its very streamlined and quick. Unfortunately, anything good about this process ends here. The problem is, pretty much no one really knows what Global Entry is, doesn’t understand its usage and hence doesn’t understand the urgency that goes with getting it processed on a tight timeline.
Passport Office folks gave me a confirmation and said go on ahead right away to your assigned police station for verification (has to be the station closest to your house). Headed on there….and of course no one is there. Worse yet, says Monday off. Add to that, all the cops say, no they work 7 days a week just come back in an hour.
Wait around for 30 minutes, no one shows up. Decide to go have an early lunch and come back and someone is now working. Im on a deadline, since I only have a day in Bombay before heading to a different city. Guy at the counter says why did you come here. If you just submitted it to the passport office, it will take a day or 2 before it even gets to us. Once it gets to us, then we will send a cop over to your house after 3-4 days to verify that you live there. Once that is done, then come back with required documents, and your application will be processed. So yeah….if you live anywhere other than the address listed on your passport, you are SOL. If you plan to travel anywhere else, you are SOL. If you have a wedding/funeral/trip planned, you are SOL. The process is absurd and as evidenced by the passport office, there is no understanding of urgency. The Passport verification guy tells me you cant come here on your trip and expect to go to your home town or visit friends etc when you have to do this. Either do this or that. Right. Dumb-ass. Because I am spending thousands of $$ to fly here and then sit at home for a week waiting for the cop to show up. He then proceeds to ask me about my travel plans, i tell him I am headed out in 2 weeks and he is like oh that’s fine. The cop will come over and leave a document at your door step, come back with it in 2 weeks (At this point, I cant stress how important it is to take absolutely no ones word on anything if you want to get your paperwork through….as you will see).
Anyways, so I head off to continue on the rest of my trip which involves me not being in Bombay for the next 2 weeks. Come back 2 weeks later. My buildings security guy tells me that the cops came over regarding some documentation on me. They left a document for me along with a number to call them. I landed pretty late back in Bombay at around 10 PM so could only retrieve the document from the building manager the next morning. This is what they had left behind (basically an appointment letter asking me to show up at a certain time, along with a ridiculous list of documents)
Now obviously I missed that appointment by a mile. I went off to the police station immediately and the guy working the desk recognized me immediately and asks me hey what happened to you! You never showed up and I sent your document back to the passport office saying “not cleared” just last night. I am like WTF….after he specifically told me to come back in 2 weeks and the documents would be there. He says you have to show up within 3 days of getting that letter (thanks for NOT telling me about that the last time I came). He says he still kept it for a couple days more and then sent it back. I tell him I have everything he needs (I don’t….because really who the eff is traveling with all of that stuff above) and that I can give him everything right then and there. Of course he refuses saying that now that the document is closed, it has to be re-opened from the passport office’s end and sent back to them before he can accept anything. So I call the Passport Office call center who tell me that I need to call the main Passport Office in Bandra Kurla Complex and talk to them. And of course they are only open from 10 am to 12.30 pm daily Mon-Sat. So there goes yet another day.
This is the number to call for the main office in Bombay FYI: +91-22-26520017
I call up at 10 am sharp and the call is instantly answered. The guy says come on over to the main office in BKC and ask for an inquiry appointment. I do…the place is packed. The counters themselves are also only working from 10 am – 12.30 PM. This building BTW is also the Ministry of External Affairs.
Address is Videsh Bhavan, C45, G Block, Bandra Kurla Complex, G Block BKC, Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra East, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400051, India
There are 3 inquiry counters. The first dick of an employee doesn’t so much as even bother spending 30 seconds looking at the application or understanding what I am saying. He just says, application is not here, come back when it is. Thanks.
Decide….wtf do I have to lose….i’m going line hopping until someone gives me an answer. Hop into the next line (Which of course the guy I already spoke to can clearly see me). This guy at counter #2 actually takes the time to listen. He gives me a new form and says take this and go up to the 2nd floor.
Turns out office #204 which I was assigned to, belongs to the head of Passport Services. Unfortunately, I cant seem to recall his name, though he is designated as a Doctor. He was educated and patient and listened to what I had to say and understood the process as well, telling me that these application take approx a year to complete. I told him I understand, I don’t expect to complete it today, and I am leaving the country tonight, all I wanted to do was get the police verification completed, which I have been trying to do for over 2 weeks now. This is the point at which he stated….”oh is that all. Don’t worry about it. We can do police verification electronically”. Like seriously wtf…..why can’t this be mentioned so we aren’t wasting our time running around. He told me that in a few days I will get a rejection notice from the Passport Seva due to an uncleared application. Once that happens, I should email firstname.lastname@example.org (note that this is specific to Bombay only). He said, we already have scans of all relevant documents like Aaadhar card etc. Shoot an email with your file number, stating that you were unable to attend verification because you do not live here etc and they can then begin verification electronically. He said they have access to all relevant document scans needed (PAN, Aadhar etc) and if anything else is needed it can be requested via email.
So there…..someone who actually knew a little something about what to do.
As of yet, I have yet to receive the rejection email (Though its only been 3 days since I talked to him (and 2 of those days were a weekend). He did perk my hopes up a bit that I might actually be able to get this done remotely, so lets see.
Note: with regards to the actual police verification process itself, I know of a few folks who were completely able to skip the verification process with some friendly palm greasing. Now I am completely familiar with the process and understand pretty well how things work in Bombay (and really, i have no qualms about doing it either when I am short on time) but this passport office is very busy every time I have gone lending itself to a lack of opportunity on that front. A quick visit to the station and the little check box that says “verified” is marked and the verification is cleared and sent back. Its as simple as that….I know because I saw the document he sent back….it had 2 simple boxes…one saying cleared and the other saying not cleared along with a reasoning for it not clearing.
Hope this helps someone….if nothing else, at least now you know what documentation is needed and aren’t blindsided by it when the police ask for it.