Travel Tips

What Is Global Entry and What are the Benefits?

I’m a very impatient person, so naturally, getting off an airplane and standing in lines or waiting to get out of a busy airport makes my blood boil.  Today I’m going to share with you why my entire family decided to sign up for Global Entry and make our lives much easier when traveling abroad.  Today I’ll share with you “what is Global Entry”, a program that is the magic carpet ride of international travel that makes global travel a whole heck of a lot easier!

Key Takeaways

  • Global Entry is a Trusted Traveler Program that enables travelers to expedite their entry into the U.S and certain countries, access TSA PreCheck, reduce security lines, and optimize pre-flight screening for a VIP travel experience.
  • Eligibility Criteria include being citizens or permanent residents of the United States or citizens of eligible countries. Applicants must pass a background check and in-person interview before membership can be granted.
  • Membership fees are $100 per person with many credit cards offering statement credits upon payment. Global Entry provides greater benefits than other trusted traveler programs such as TSA PreCheck & Mobile Passport Control when traveling domestically & internationally.

Understanding Global Entry: A Quick Overview

Global Entry kiosk at an airport

Join us as we explore Global Entry, a program tailored to hasten your customs and immigration procedures. Imagine bypassing those tedious airport queues, heading straight to a Global Entry kiosk, and taking flight into your destination in record time. This program, managed by the Department of Homeland Security, is a golden ticket designed to expedite the entry process for pre-approved travelers.

Global Entry is part of the Trusted Traveler Programs, a suite of programs designed to streamline the travel experience for pre-approved travelers. Once Global Entry members, you can access dedicated Global Entry lanes at participating airports, propelling your travel experience to new heights of convenience. There’s a small price to pay for this luxury – a fee that gifts you a Global Entry card, your passport to expedited customs and immigration services.

If lengthy customs lines have you weary as a regular international traveler, applying for a Global Entry membership could be your next step. Be part of a community of travelers who have discovered the secret to hassle-free international travel.

The Perks of Being a Global Entry Member

Traveler using TSA PreCheck lane

A Global Entry membership offers several global entry benefits, including:

  • Expedited entry into the U.S and certain countries
  • Access to TSA PreCheck
  • Reduced security lines
  • Optimized pre-flight screening

In essence, you are a VIP traveler, breezing through airports while others are still stuck in line.

TSA PreCheck is a key highlight of the Global Entry package. This program allows you to move through domestic airport security swiftly, without the need to dismantle your luggage or undress at the checkpoint. The best part? TSA PreCheck is included in your Global Entry membership, giving you a double dose of expedited processing.

Eligibility Criteria for Global Entry Membership

Naturally, the Global Entry program isn’t open to all without restrictions. There are eligibility criteria to ensure this privilege is extended to those who meet certain standards. Applicants must be U.S citizens, permanent residents, or citizens of eligible countries. They must also pass a background check and an in-person interview.

The program seeks to reach and assist citizens of the following countries:

  • Argentina
  • Colombia
  • Germany
  • India
  • Mexico
  • Panama
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • United Kingdom

It aims to promote social welfare and well-being in those countries. While Canada’s NEXUS members aren’t eligible to apply, they can still enjoy the benefits of the program.

Step-by-Step Guide to Applying for Global Entry

Traveler submitting Global Entry application online

Upon determining your eligibility, your journey towards expedited travel commences. Let’s walk through this path together, one step at a time.

Initiating Your Application

The process starts with the creation of a Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) account. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency has its own website. It provides resources, travel information, and more. This is your gateway to the world of expedited travel. As part of this process, you’ll need to provide certain personal information, including your passport details, current and past addresses, and citizenship information.

It’s vital to ensure your account is secure. The password for your TTP account should be strong and secure, following the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) guidelines. This means:

  • Avoiding consecutive numbers or letters
  • Excluding personal information like your birth year or birth month/day
  • Mixing uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.

Payment and Documentation

Your next move is to finalise your application by providing the required documents and remitting the nonrefundable $100 fee. This fee covers a 5-year Global Entry membership, making it a small price to pay for years of expedited travel.

To complete your application, ensure you have the following:

  • A valid passport
  • An additional form of identification, such as a driver’s license or ID card
  • If you’re one of the lawful permanent residents, your permanent resident card

If you’re looking for alternatives to online payments, some credit cards offer benefits that cover the Global Entry and TSA PreCheck costs.

Securing Your Interview Slot

Upon receipt of conditional approval, schedule your interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center. This process is as simple as logging into your TTP account and scheduling your interview. You have a 24-month window to schedule and complete your interview.

Keep in mind that securing an interview slot can take time. On average, it takes around 93 days to secure a slot, with 75% of applicants completing the process within 130 days. While waiting for your slot, take a moment to appreciate the journey so far.

Navigating the Global Entry Interview Process

CBP officer conducting Global Entry interview

The Global Entry interview represents the last obstacle on your path to expedited travel. But there’s no need to fret. This process is straightforward and efficient, designed to verify your identity, check your documents, and capture your photo and fingerprints.

For the interview, you’ll need a printed copy of your conditional letter of approval, a passport or permanent resident card, and proof of residency. Think of this process as a friendly conversation rather than a grueling interrogation. During the interview, which typically lasts 10-15 minutes, you’ll be asked about your travel plans, your occupation, and your travel history.

Thorough preparation for the interview is key. Make sure you have all your documents and information ready. Remember, this is the final step in your journey to become a Global Entry member. Make it count.

>> Sign Up for Global Entry Here

Fees and Costs Associated with Global Entry

A Global Entry membership is obtained at the cost of $100. This fee covers a 5-year membership, making it a worthwhile investment for frequent travelers.

If you’re wondering whether you can use your travel card benefits to pay for Global Entry, the answer is yes. Many travel cards offer statement credits to cover the Global Entry application fee, making it even more accessible for regular travelers.

Renewal and Expiration: Keeping Your Membership Active

As with all valuable things, your Global Entry membership has an expiration date. The good news is, it lasts for 5 years and can be renewed one year before the expiration date.

The renewal process is simple. Submit a renewal application and pay the $100 fee. If your renewal application is not accepted before the expiration date, you can still enjoy the benefits of Global Entry for 24 months after the expiration. The processing time for renewal applications can take up to 11 months, so plan accordingly.

Comparing Global Entry to Other Trusted Traveler Programs

Despite Global Entry being an excellent program for hastened travel, it isn’t the sole Trusted Traveler Program on offer. Let’s take a moment to compare it to other programs such as TSA PreCheck and Mobile Passport Control.

Mobile Passport Control is a free smartphone app that helps travelers expedite their entry into the country after international travel. However, it does not offer the additional benefits of Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.

On the other hand, TSA PreCheck offers expedited airport security for domestic travel, with no processing lines or paperwork. However, Global Entry encompasses all the benefits of TSA PreCheck, along with expedited clearance when re-entering the U.S from international travel.

Making the Most of Your Global Entry Membership

As a Global Entry member, it’s your time to leverage the benefits of your membership. Add your Known Traveler Number to your flight reservations to enjoy expedited security screening. Remember, as a Global Entry member, you are entitled to a seamless travel experience.

While there are no airline-specific tips for utilizing the benefits of Global Entry, all participating airlines benefit from it. This includes not needing to wait in processing lines and reduced wait times. So, whether you’re flying domestic or international, your Global Entry membership has you covered.

Additional Considerations for International Travelers

International travelers should bear in mind a few extra considerations. Global Entry kiosks are available at participating airports, making your journey even smoother.

Traveling with companions? Each one of them will need their own Global Entry membership to access the expedited services. This includes minors, who must have their own memberships and go through the same application process as adults.

Summary

As we reach the end of our journey, let’s take a moment to reflect on what we’ve discovered. From understanding the Global Entry program to navigating its application process, we’ve walked through each step of the journey together.

Global Entry is more than just a program; it’s a ticket to a seamless travel experience. It offers a host of benefits, from expedited customs and immigration procedures to access to TSA PreCheck. It’s an investment in convenience, one that pays dividends every time you travel.

So, as we conclude our journey, consider taking the next step. Apply for Global Entry today and transform your travel experience. After all, why wait in line when you can fly?

Related Reading:  Is Clear Worth it?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Global Entry and do I need it?

Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that enables pre-approved, low-risk travelers to bypass long lines at CBP checkpoints upon arrival in the United States. It requires an application and an in-person interview and costs $100 for a five-year membership. TSA PreCheck® benefits are also included as part of the Global Entry membership.

What is Global Entry vs TSA PreCheck?

TSA PreCheck is designed for faster security screenings when flying from U.S. airports, while Global Entry simplifies the customs process when entering the United States after an international trip. Global Entry includes the benefits of TSA PreCheck and allows for expedited U.S. customs screening.

Is Global Entry worth the money?

For frequent international travelers, Global Entry is worth the cost since it includes TSA PreCheck benefits along with expedited customs and immigration clearance when entering the United States. Additionally, you don’t have to be a U.S. citizen and the added benefits cost only $4.40 extra per year. Therefore, it’s a great choice for saving time and money.

How much does Global Entry cost?

Global Entry costs $100 to apply and the membership lasts for five years. You can pay by credit card or through an electronic bank transfer and the fee is non-refundable.

Which is better TSA PreCheck or Global Entry?

For frequent international travelers, Global Entry is the better choice since it includes both TSA PreCheck and a “fast pass” through airport security. For domestic trips fewer than four times per year, TSA PreCheck is an ideal option.

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About 

Tim Schmidt is a 20+ year Entrepreneur and Digital Marketer. A Fort Lauderdale-based "Digital Nomad," he enjoys traveling as much as possible with family and friends. AllWorld is his escape to document all of his adventures, including being a hardcore "foodie." He has property in Costa Rica and visits several times each year and is happy to offer his expert advice for planning your trip.

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