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Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States.
- How to apply for Global Entry
- Global Entry – Easy To Get Approved, Difficult to Schedule Interview
- If My 2 Year Old Son Can Get Global Entry, So Can You
Why Should You Get Global Entry?
This card allows you to skip the normal line at US Customs when you re-enter the US from international travel and includes Trusted Traveler status which allows you to skip the normal TSA lines and use the PreCheck lines when going through security.
Since my son is under 12 years old, he can go through the TSA PreCheck lines with us without needing his own membership. However, each person needs their own Global Entry card for international travel.
Beyond that, your time in line is shortened because eligible participants use dedicated TSA PreCheck lanes at participating airports for screening benefits which could include no longer removing the following items:
- 3-1-1 compliant bag from carry-on
- Laptop from bag
- Light outerwear/jacket
CNN recently did an article where two reporters raced using the normal security process and TSA PreCheck. I’ll let you guess which person was at the gate first.
Is It Hard To Get Global Entry?
My wife and I each applied for our cards earlier this year online. I was even able to schedule my interview while in New York before we continued to Paris. Then, on the way back from Paris, during our layover, my wife waited without an appointment to do her interview. Within a couple of weeks, we had our cards!
Timmy accompanies us on most domestic trips and is going to start tagging along on some international trips in 2014. With that, we wanted to make sure he could also use the Global Entry and PreCheck lines, so in August 2013 I applied for a Global Entry card for him as well.
Unfortunately, they only have appointments during the week, so I scheduled an early morning appointment for November. He slept in the car while we drove to the International Terminal at LAX.
How Long Did The Appointment Take?
We arrived at 7:20 am for our 7:40 am appointment. Even though they just opened, and I don’t think anyone was being interviewed, we still had to wait until our appointment time before being called back.
Once we were inside, the interview, fingerprint scanning, and photo for ID card took exactly 5 minutes.
The ID card took 5 business days to arrive after our appointment! Now, we’re ready to rock and roll and skip some lines!!!
VERY IMPORTANT — If you do not activate your card within 30 days, it will not work and you’ll have to activate it in person at an enrollment center.
How Much Does It Cost?
Global Entry is $100 for a 5-year enrollment, so that’s $20 per year. Many times, I’d gladly pay $20 per trip to skip the line, avoid taking off my shoes, belt, and jacket, and be able to keep my laptop and 3-1-1 toiletries inside my backpack or suitcase! And, you get to use the normal metal detector instead of the Nude-O-Scan machines.
The American Express Platinum Card will rebate you back the cost of the $100 enrollment once every 5 years. It does have a hefty annual fee of $450, but also includes airport lounge club access and will rebate $200 annually in airline fees. Some people report you can buy gift cards from the airline which qualify as “airline fees”. This is a charge card, so your balance must be paid in full every month. This should happen anyway, but keep in mind that there is no option to carry forward a balance.
Global Entry is an amazing travel tool that makes life so much easier, whether you’re traveling domestically or internationally. It is a very simple application and interview process. The most difficult aspect is finding an interview time slot available that coincides with your personal calendar.
If you’ve signed up for Global Entry, I’d love to hear about your experience in signing up and how much it has benefited you in skipping airport security lines! Please leave a comment in the section below.