Understanding Global Entry

A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding Global Entry

We’ve all been stuck in that super long line in the airport, dreaming what it would be like to get through security super fast or wishing that the large family of eight didn’t get into line in front of us, while waiting to pass through customs.

Imagine if you could quickly pass through these lines… The truth is you can… by applying for Global Entry!

What is Global Entry?

Global Entry is a program developed by the Department of US Customs and Border Protection. Members are entitled to a sped-up security process at U.S. airports and a hassle-free customs process upon arrival in the U.S. after an international trip.

The program costs just $100 for a five-year enrollment.

What are the benefits of Global Entry?

Global Entry members are able to participate in TSA PreCheck. TSA PreCheck is a program designed to expedite the security screen process of a traveler passing through a TSA security checkpoint in designated airports around the USA.

TSA PreCheck

By participating in TSA PreCheck as a Global Entry member, travelers pass through the security process in an expedited manner. Travelers are not required to remove shoes, belts, and jackets. There is no need to remove laptops and liquids from a traveller’s carry on.

Arriving Back in the USA

When you arrive back in the U.S. after an international trip, instead of waiting in a long customs line, you head directly to a Global Entry kiosk. Consequently not requiring a blue customs form from members! After scanning your passport, and providing the machine with a fingerprint, you answer several questions, receive a receipt and are on your way. As a result, this means no paperwork, no interacting with a border-patrol agent. These kiosks are available at most major airports.

In the event that the kiosks are not working, members can skip the entire customs line and speak to a border-patrol agent.

A ‘Global Entry Card’ is issued to US citizens, lawful permanent residents, or nationals of Mexico. As a result, the card is used upon entry into the US at land and sea ports, not airports.

Can anyone apply for Global Entry?

US citizens and permanent residents can apply. In addition, citizens of Germany, the Netherlands, Panama, South Korea, and Mexico are also welcome to apply. However, only American citizens and permanent residents can get the PreCheck benefits.

Participants of all ages can apply. Every family member must complete an application, including children. As a result, children under 18 need a parents permission to apply.

The Department of US Customs and Border Protection does not accept anyone who: has been convicted of a crime, violated customs, or is under investigation by law enforcement. They also reserve the right to deny anyone who is deemed not a “low-risk” traveller by US Customs and Border Protection.

What is the application process?

Let me break down the process for you:

  1. Make an account with Global Online Enrollment System
  2. Then, log in to that account.
  3. Next, select “Global Entry” as the program you are applying for while filling out the application
  4. Use your passport and driver’s license while completing the form
  5. Accurately fill out, in detail, your employment and residency history for the past five years
  6. At some point in the application process,  select where you want to complete your interview. If conditionally approved online, you may be eligible for a walk-in interview (to see which centers offer walk-ins, google the centers and check others’ experiences on Yelp or Foursquare).
  7. Pay the $100 fee through credit card.
  8. Schedule the interview!
  9. Finally, attend the interview! Make sure to bring all necessary documentation with you.

The interview will consist of questions about your employment, travels, and other especially relevant topics. If approved, you are required to submit fingerprints  on the day of the interview.

If approved, a known traveler number is awarded to you. This number grants you automatic access to TSA PreCheck, and as a result, access to stress-free travel.

Fun fact: some credit cards, particularly frequent flier cards or corporate traveler cards, will refund your Global Entry fee.

The application should take you approximately half an hour to complete!

Eligibility is valid for five years. As expiration approaches, participants can renew their eligibility for another five years online, for an additional $100. If an individual undergoes a name change, they will need to appear at an enrollment center in person to complete the change. 

A Guide to Understanding Global Entry