by Selma Canas, CGBP | November 23, 2022
Global Entry is a game changer for international travelers by saving time and reducing stress when clearing customs in the U.S. If you travel abroad frequently and do not like waiting in lines, then you should consider the Global Entry program.
Global Entry is a program of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) whereby travelers clear customs via a kiosk at participating airports. Upon arrival in the U.S., travelers scan their passport and fingertips at the kiosk, fill out a customs declaration, and go straight to baggage claim, bypassing the CBP officer. This applies to travel by air, land and sea.
Global Entry travelers receive TSA Pre-Check automatically when departing a U.S. airport, which saves a lot of time. TSA Pre-Check travelers go through a separate line and do not have to remove their shoes, belts, jackets, or laptops from their cases. One can apply for just TSA Pre-Check for $78 and it applies to travel by air only, or Global Entry, which includes TSA Pre-Check for $100 and is valid for five years.
Fill out the online application and submit the $100 non-refundable fee. Currently, the processing time is four to six months but it varies by applicant.
U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents over 18 years of age can apply. Those under 18, need a parent or legal guardian’s consent to apply. CBP conducts a rigorous background check to determine the low-risk status of an applicant. Providing false or incomplete information may deem the application ineligible.
Once your application has been conditionally approved you will need to schedule an interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center. A CBP officer will conduct a 15-to-20-minute interview and approve the enrollment. CBP officers are friendly and typically ask questions about past and upcoming travels, and the reason you want to enroll in the program.
Next, the Known Traveler Number will be issued. This number is to be used when making travel arrangements to obtain the TSA Pre-Check status on the boarding pass. You can enter this number in frequent flyer profiles as well for an automated process. The actual Global Entry card should arrive by mail within seven to 10 days. Do not forget to activate the membership card as per the instructions.
Enrollment on Arrival (EOA)
CBP has initiated the Enrollment on Arrival program for applicants that have been conditionally approved but have not been able to obtain an interview slot and need to travel. The EOA allows those persons to complete the application process without the need to schedule an interview at an enrollment center. Upon arrival at a participating airport, a CBP officer will conduct the interview and complete the enrollment process. This can be a way to shorten the wait time of scheduling the interview.
CBP has more than 600 officers stationed in 15 locations in six countries to pre-clear travelers returning to the U.S. This is a separate program from Global Entry and one does not need to apply or be pre-approved to benefit from it. If you are traveling to and from one of these locations, you can clear customs before boarding your flight home and bypass customs and TSA upon arrival to the U.S.
- Dublin and Shannon in Ireland
- Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates
- Nassau in the Bahamas
- Calgary, Toronto, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, Victoria, and Winnipeg in Canada
Although you do not need to carry the Global Entry card when traveling, it is a valid federal identification card and can be used as such.
For a nominal charge of $100 and valid for five years, the Global Entry program will save you time and aggravation when returning from an international destination.