One of the best travel decisions I’ve made was signing up for Global Entry. It also includes TSA Pre✓™. Customs can be an absolute nightmare but with Global Entry you can easily skip lines line these.
It’s a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that is designed for frequent, low-risk travelers arriving in the United States. Instead of waiting in those long lines at Customs, you can expedite the process with Global Entry. Membership is for 5 years and costs $100.
Applying for Global Entry
There is process each traveler must go through in order to gain clearance into the program:
- You must first fill out the online application. The application is used as a thorough background check. It is time consuming so prepare yourself in advance. You need to list every state/country you’ve lived in for the last several years as well as countries you have visited. You must also pay a $100 non-refundable application fee at this time.
- Once you have filled out your application, the GOES team will review and if all goes well, you will receive an email stating you can now sign up for your in-person interview. The interview takes place at all major U.S Airports or designated Global Entry Enrollment Centers. For a full list, please click here.
- During your interview, you will meet with a TSA agent who will review your application and ask you about your travel history – both past and future. You will need to bring a current passport and drivers license as well as proof of address. The agent will take your picture for your Known Travelers Card and take your digital fingerprints.
- After your interview, you will receive notification via email whether you are eligible to participate in Global Entry. If you are, they will send you your Known Traveler’s Number/Trusted Traveler’s membership number which can be used immediately.
Who is eligible for Global Entry?
Global Entry is open to U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, Dutch citizens, South Korean citizens and Mexican nationals. Canadian citizens and residents may use Global Entry benefits through the NEXUS program.
Applicants may not qualify if they:
- Provide false or incomplete information on the application;
- Have been convicted of any criminal offense or have pending criminal charges, including outstanding warrants;
- Have been found in violation of any customs, immigration, or agriculture regulations or laws in any country;
- Are subjects of an investigation by any federal, state, or local law enforcement agency;
- Are inadmissible to the U.S. under immigration regulation, including applicants with approved waivers of inadmissibility or parole documentation; or if they
- Cannot satisfy CBP of their low-risk status or meet other program requirements.
Using Global Entry
It has been my experience that when making your way to customs, there will be a separate line designated for Global Entry users. If this is not the case at your airport, look for signs for Global Entry kiosks.
As long as there is not an “X” on the receipt, you may proceed through Customs. If there is an “X”, see the TSA Agent nearby.
Once you pick up your bag(s), there is a final stop you have to make at an agent desk before exiting the luggage area. If there is a line, you can immediately jump it. Look for a sign with the Global Entry logo on it. The agent will take you next. The look on peoples faces as you bypass them all is quite priceless. Enjoy it!
Just because you have Global Entry does not mean you are excluded from declaring items. All rules still apply so follow them accordingly. Failure to do so can get you booted from the program.
Renewing Global Entry
One year before your membership expires, you will be granted renewal. You must login to the GOES website and follow the instructions. You may not have to go in for another interview. Continue to log on periodically to check the status of your application.
I am so happy I have Global Entry. It is worth it even for those who don’t travel out of the US as often as they would like. Global Entry also includes TSA Pre✓™ which I have broken down in this blog entry. For more information on GOES, please check out the following website.