Global Entry is a Trusted Traveler Program that gives United States citizens expedited service through US Customs and Border Protection. When you arrive back into the United States from an international destination you are required to prove US citizenship, lawful residence, or visitor in good standing and with visiting rights, and declare all the items you bring with you into the country.
United States Customs and Border Protection is a law enforcement agency that is ordered to keep terrorists and weapons and illegal drugs out of the US. Especially after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, security and immigrant scrutiny of international visitors and returning US citizens has increased to levels beyond annoyance.
Global Entry helps alleviate that stress.
The program requires you to pay a one-time fee and go through an interview process with an interviewing officer. You are required to go through an intensive background check as well. Once you are approved for this service, you have less wait time in the immigration hall, don’t have to fill out immigration forms, and the CBP officer only asks you a minimum amount of questions when entering into the United States.
Also, as another benefit of Global Entry membership, you are automatically enrolled in TSA PreCheck. TSA PreCheck is an expedited service that allows you to speed through airport security. You don’t have to remove shoes, electronics or the required 3oz liquids bag.
How much does Global Entry cost?
First, let’s talk about how much it costs and how often you have to renew. There is a $100 application and processing fee for every time you have to fill out an application. The Global Entry membership is good for 5 years. You can renew your membership a year before your membership expires. If you submit your renewal application before it expires, you have up to 6months after your membership expires to continue using Global Entry. Yes, you will have to pay another $100 application and processing fee every time you renew, but you won’t have to go through the interview process again.
Can You get Global Entry for Free?
Certain credit cards actually pay for this application and processing fee. American Express Platinum card members get Global Entry as a benefit of being cardmembers. I paid the $100 fee on my Platinum card and American Express credited me back that money.
There are also quite a few high-end credit cards out there that have this perk. Chase Sapphire is one of them. The Chase Sapphire Reserve card must be charged the $100 Global Entry application fee for you to get this credit.
The American Airline’s Executive card is another card that offers Global Entry reimbursement. After using the card for the $100 Global Entry fee, You will again, be reimbursed.
Definitely make sure you look at your credit card benefits to see if your credit card has this perk. Or, if you’re out and about looking to apply for a new credit card and don’t know which one to choose, definitely take into consideration some of the added perks of some of the high-end cards. These little bonuses add up.
Can you share the credit with someone else if you have multiple ways to get reimbursed?
I have the American Express Platinum credit card and the American Express Bonvoy credit card. Both of these cards offer a $100 statement credit. When I applied for Global Entry membership, I used the Platinum card to pay for the application. The question is: what about my Bonvoy Credit Card and the credit they offer for Global Entry? Am I able to use the Bonvoy credit card to pay for another membership that is not my own, say like for Zach or my mom? Can I give that $100 credit to someone else?
1st. If you add an authorized user to your credit card, or if I added Zach as an authorized user to my American Express Platinum card, each authorized user gets their own $100 statement credit. Be sure to check with your credit card to see if authorize users get their own credit statement.
2nd. The credit card company doesn’t see who’s name is on the Global Entry application when you charge the fee to the credit card. The only thing the Credit Card company sees is a charge for $100 from the Global Entry Trusted Traveler Program. So, you may be able to balk the system by getting Your dear wife gets her own membership by using YOUR card. Nice, huh?
Be sure to read the terms and conditions of your credit card to get answers if your credit card gives Global Entry statement credits.
Do you have to be a US Citizen to get Global Entry?
Citizens of the Netherlands are allowed to apply for Global Entry as long as they are enrolled in FLUX. FLUX stands for Fast Low-risk Universal Crossing. This program coordinates between the US Global Entry and Netherlands PRIVIUM programs. However, as of November 1, 2017, FLUX has been discontinued and replaced by the Registered Traveller Program Nederland.
Citizens of Korea are eligible to enroll in Global Entry as long as they are enrolled in Korean Smart Entry Service, SES. The Republic of Korea Immigration Service and the United States CBP have partnered together to allow US and Korean citizens access to each other’s programs. US citizens can apply for the Korean SES as long as they are already Global Entry members and follow certain SES requirements and pay certain fees. Koreans applying for Global Entry must already by SES members, then create a Trusted Traveler Program account and complete the Global Entry application, including the $100 fee, interview at a Global Entry enrollment center, and provide passport identification and fingerprints. They must also have current and valid VISAS in the ESTA (Electronic Systems for Travel Authorization) system.
Mexican citizens, who are SENTRI members, are also allowed to use Global Entry kiosks once they provide fingerprints and document information to CBP. Applying for Global Entry is done through the GOES account.
Canadians who are in the NEXUS program have Global Entry benefits. NEXUS members when entering into the United States at certain Canadian Preclearance airports can use the Global Entry kiosks as long as you have provided CBP with your fingerprints and have documentation on file. There is no further action or additional cost once you give CBP your fingerprints and documentation to use the Global Entry Kiosks.
KOREAN SMART ENTRY SERVICE, SENTRI, and NEXUS members must provide documentation (passport information) and have fingerprints on file to be able to utilize Global Entry kiosks. To provide your information you will need to go to a Trusted Traveler enrollment center.
Also, the following citizens can apply for Global Entry
How much time can I actually save by using Global Entry and Precheck?
I have Global Entry and TSA PreCheck. Zach does not.
For personal travel to an international destination, Zach and I have to go through regular TSA security lines instead of the working Flight Attendant lanes.
In the PreCheck airport security lanes, I am greeted by pleasant TSA officers (they are never pleasant). I don’t have to take off my shoes, remove electronics, or take out my liquids bag. The process is quick and smooth. TSA PreCheck is designed for frequent travelers who KNOW WHAT IS EXPECTED OF THEM AT SECURITY SCREENING. These travelers aren’t trying to abuse the system, aren’t ignorant of security requirements, and usually won’t get upset when TSA randomly pulls them aside for additional screening.
I have often waited a long time for Zach to go through security because some J-Q-Dumb-Public doesn’t get that EVERYthing has to come out of their pockets, that EVERYthing has to be taken off their wrists, and that normal-sized shampoo and conditioner are not accepted. Zach ALWAYS meets me red in the face, shaking his head in disgust, more defeated than ever, as if his hope for humanity is nothing but a dwindling fleck of light. Truly, there is no better place to hate humanity more than in TSA security check.
The same goes for re-entry into the United States.
The Global Entry kiosks don’t even scan my passport anymore. It is done through BioMetric Face Recognition technology. I enter the empty Global Entry line, walk right up to a Global Entry kiosk, take off my hat and glasses, allow the machine to take my picture; it prints a receipt which I hand to a CBP officer, who smiles (he never smiles), and waves me on my merry way (he never waves). It is super fast. I’m processed through into the country in a matter of minutes.
Zach uses Mobile Passport (an app that is on your phone) to go through Immigrations. He and I are often out within the same amount of time. However, as more people learn about Mobile Passport, the longer that line gets. Mobile Passport is free to download which everyone should want to get; whereas Global Entry requires a $100 every five years and no one wants to pay.
Does Global Entry and TSA PreCheck save time? Yes, they do.
And they both do something even more important.
They save your sanity.
Qualifications for Global Entry
First things first, let’s make sure you meet certain requirements.
As a US Citizen, you need to be a citizen within good standing or a U.S. Lawful permanent resident. For those under 18 years old a parent or guardian’s consent is needed to complete the application process.
Here are some reasons to be INELIGIBLE for Global Entry:
False or incomplete information on the application
Convicted of any criminal offense, pending criminal charges, or outstanding warrants (this includes driving under the influence)
Violation of any customs, immigration or agriculture regulations or laws in ANY country
The subject of an ongoing investigation by federal, state or local law enforcement agency
CBP isn’t satisfied with your low-risk status
High-risk travelers are people who are in some way connected to terrorism, drug smuggling, human trafficking, migrant smuggling, and those who import/export contraband.
How to enroll
Create a Trusted Traveler Program account
You must have your own TTP account, regardless of what age you are.
You must have a valid email to start an account. The security system is going to send you verification codes that you will need to finish creating an account.
Complete the application
– You will begin by entering your identification. Make sure you copy everything correctly. Make sure it is exactly the same as on your passport.
– You will also need to provide 10 years’ worth of employment history.
Pay a non-refundable $100 fee for EACH application
– You will pay this fee for every application and for every time you renew.
Then the Customs and Border Patrol will review your application and give you a PENDING status. The information takes a while to verify. It took about a month for my application to be approved.
If you remember President Trump’s standoff with the government, there was a government shut down that lasted a long time. This shutdown severely affected the number of applications waiting to be approved. It may take longer than normal to receive CONDITIONAL APPROVAL because applications are waiting to be processed.
Once your status says CONDITIONAL APPROVAL, then your TTP account will ask you to schedule an interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center.
Scheduling an Interview:
At an Enrollment Center
The system will offer you a few options to schedule your interview. One option is to go on your own time to an Enrollment Center. Many major airports have an enrollment center located on-premise.
Enrollment on Arrival
The other option is to Enroll upon Arrival. This allows conditionally approved passengers to interview when arriving back into the United States. Follow the signs to Global Entry where a CBP officer can complete the Interview during your Immigration inspection back into the States. You must have your valid passport and documents providing proof of residency in the United States (like a driver’s license or permanent resident card). However, only certain airports participate in the Enrollment on Arrival program.
If you get an interview are you almost already approved?
No. After your interview, CBP still needs to process your information into the computer system. They will send an email notifying you of approval. This might take weeks. It took about a month for me to get approved.
Prepare for your interview
What Do I Need to Bring to the Interview
Valid Passport and documents proving residency in the United States
Can you enroll when you get to the airport after arriving in from a flight?
You can Enroll on Arrival as long as you are conditionally approved.
The CBP officer will ask you a few questions. I remember the CBP officer asking how often I travel, where I’m originally from, and how long have I lived in the State of Florida.
Where are the interviews held?
Interviews are held at Enrollment centers throughout the states.
Do I have to bring a picture with me for the ID card?
You do not need to bring a picture for the Global Entry Card. During the interview, the CBP will take your photo and collect biometric information, your fingerprints.
How long will the global entry interview take (from arriving to leaving..is there a wait time when you get there?)
It depends on how many people are also in line to be interviewed. For me, the whole process took less than a half-hour. But, by the time I got out of the interview, there were people waiting for their turn to interview.
Is TSA Precheck included? (how to add it to your travel profiles on specific airlines)
TSA Pre-check is included with Global Entry Membership. You will be given what is called a Known Traveler Number. This number is used when you book your plane tickets on airlines under the information section. This number will let the airline know that you are a Trusted Traveler and have TSA PreCheck. When you print your boarding pass at an airline self-check-in Kiosk, your boarding pass will be stamped with TSA PreCheck.
Do kids have to be enrolled separately?
Yes. Global Entry does NOT extend to family and kids. Each child and family member MUST have their own TTP account and their own membership to be able to utilize the Global Entry kiosks. So yes, each child must enroll separately.
I witnessed a man get extremely upset when his son wasn’t allowed into the same security line as him. He threw his tantrum, then denied passing through TSA PreCheck, and, if I heard correctly (and secretly hoped), his TSA PreCheck privileges were taken away. Haha, sucker.
Significant Passport changes?
If you realized you made an error on your application AFTER you have submitted it, you will not be able to change it until your interview.
If you have a driver’s license update or a change of MAIL-TO address, you can update the information on the TTP account.
However, if you had a name change on a passport, a change of address (a CHANGE OF WHERE YOU LIVE), or Change of Citizenship you will need to update your information at an enrollment center so CBP can rescan your passport, or update their system.
Global Entry ID
Global Entry Ids are federal IDs and can be used the same as passports and driver’s licenses as identification
These IDs are only for US citizens, Legal Permanent Residents and Mexican nationals. These cards are not necessary to use the Global Entry Kiosks at airports. These cards are only used for speedy entry at SENTRI and NEXUS lanes when coming into the United States. If for some reason your card is lost, stolen or damaged, you must request a new card through your TTP account and pay a $25 fee.
These cards are in fact federal IDS, however, they do not have pictures on them. You might be hard-pressed to use this card at a bar to verify your age.
Using Global Entry
How to use the Kiosk
My flight attendant home base is in Miami and the kiosks in Miami use face-recognition software to identify me as a legal US citizen. I simply step in front of the kiosks, squat just enough to fit my face into the little box on the screen, and then push the Take Photo button. The machine takes a few seconds to recognize me before printing a receipt that I take to the CBP officer.
At other airports, the kiosks work a little different. You place your passport onto the scanner, then press your fingers to the scanning machine, take a photo, then it will print you a receipt.
Receipts marked with an X
An X means multiple things. One, you are randomly selected for additional screening. This is to make sure you are not abusing the system by not declaring items that you should have, or to make sure it is actually YOU who is using the machine. Another reason might be your fingerprints don’t match what’s in the system or the machine had a hard time reading your prints. Another reason may possibly be that you entered some information wrong and the system needs to verify. You will just need to take your receipt to the CBP officer who will determine what the issue is.
Receipts marked with an O
This means you have declared items on the kiosk machine. The officer will tell you to collect your luggage from the Customs baggage claim and make your way to the appointed secondary screening area to discuss your declaration.
Global Entry is located at most major US International Airports. They are also located at certain International Destinations outside the US, like South Korea. Be sure to check www.cbp.gov/GlobalEntrylocations for which airports have Global Entry.
Global Entry VS NEXUS VS SENTRI
NEXUS and SENTRI are other foreign Trusted Traveller Programs in cooperation with the US Government to make traveling between countries easier for frequent travelers. There are certain additional requirements and limitations for NEXUS and SENTRI members for using Global Entry. Make sure to read the section above labeled Who Can Use Global Entry to find out more.
SENTRI members traveling by air cannot use SENTRI cards at the Global Entry Kiosks. You will need to use your passport or US Lawful Permanent Resident card at the Global Entry Kiosk.
NEXUS cards are recognized at the Global Entry Kiosks in Canada only at airports with Preclearance. However, you cannot use NEXUS cards at Global Entry Kiosks at airports that are not Preclearance locations.
My experience using Global Entry and Precheck
Global Entry is a time-saving tool for frequent travelers. Being an international flight attendant, I don’t have to deal with the long Crew line at the Immigration lanes. And I don’t have to deal with the hell of going through normal Immigrations with passengers.
Is it worth for the normal, non-frequent international traveler?
This program is totally worth it. Even if you don’t travel often, it’s good to have this membership for that just-in-case scenario where you have a tight connection to get home. Also, I KNOW you’re exhausted from such a long international flight. So do you really want to have to wait in a long ass immigration line after a long ass flight? Save yourself the misery of these lines and apply for Global Entry.