an AI image of a man with his head in a photocopier. Fascial recognition joke

Trusted Traveller – Something Works!

I’ve been a longtime fan of the US Government Trusted Traveller program (TTP) since it’s first use as the INSPASS in the mid-90’s[1]Audit Report ( Back then it was only open to select frequent travellers who worked for US based employers. Even then the employers had to apply.

From memory, it was really only much use for travelling from Canada or London into the US and arriving at Newark or JFK. Even back then it used biometric data, but the machines were super unreliable.

Today I took a mandatory 60-mile return trip to Denver Airport (DIA) to get my third renewal of a Global Entry[2]Global Entry | U.S. Customs and Border Protection ( pass. Which means as far as I’m aware that I first applied back in 2008 pretty much when the program started.

I submitted my renewal application online on November 29th, and then yesterday I received an update that said I could apply for an interview.

Initially I was frustrated trying to find an appointment anywhere, some centers were giving appointments as far out as April 2023. I wasn’t hopeful.

I started stepping through days this month, one day at a time looking for available appointments. At one point I joked to Kate that “it looks like I’m driving to the Canadian border”.

I persisted and went back to just DIA and to my surprise two appointments were available for today, 10:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. I quickly selected the first.

From the brief discussion I had while I waited outside the US Customs & Border protection office at DIA, the people waiting were all walk-in appointments. ie first available.

At 9:59 a.m. a CBP officer came to the door and called out my name. after a brief wait, I was asked for my passports (yes, I have two); finger-printed, photograph taken and the CBP Officer said the application would be approved in the next 24hrs and that a new card would be sent within the next month.

I was surprised by what the officer said next “you don’t have to carry your card with you when you travel except if you are arriving by car or foot at the Candian or Mexican border.” I hadn’t thought it through. What it means is that CBP knows when you are about to arrive at the border because the passenger lists for flights and ships are sent ahead and matched. When you supply you TSA Pre-Check number it’s not just so it can be printed on your boarding card, it also confirms which “Mark Cathcart” you are.

This all makes sense, even if it is a bit big-brother-ish. Especially given this recent report. The UK has been offering passport and facial recognition as a way to speed travelers through passport control for some 10-years at London Heathrow.

I was back in the car at 10:06 a.m. – Pretty impressive performance. At 10:55 a.m. I got an email from

There has been a recent change to the status of your application. Please login to the Trusted Traveler Programs Website ( for more information.

I logged on and I’m approved for another 5-years. At least according to the Points Guy your Global Entry authorization can be removed almost as quickly as it was approved [3]5 reasons your Global Entry can be revoked – The Points Guy. You’ve been warned.

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