No one enjoys the feeling of coming back from a great trip abroad only to find yourself stuck in line at US Customs. The welcoming of standing amongst tired and sweaty travelers makes you remember that the vacation is over and it’s time to get back to regular life. But this process can be skipped entirely with the help of Global Entry and makes the travel back home a little less dreadful.
What is Global Entry?
Global Entry is a US Customs program that allows approved travelers entering the United States to go through an automatic kiosk instead of going through the standard process of waiting in line to be allowed entrance into the country. It works by only going to a kiosk, inserting your passport and placing your fingerprint. From there, the machine will give you a receipt and allow you to proceed to the baggage claim.
In addition to being able to skip the lines at the US Customs, Global Entry also gives you TSA pre-check privileges. Similar to being able to cut through lines at a watermark, the TSA pre-check allows you to go through the TSA security lines without having to take off any of your clothing or putting aside personal belongings.
Although you can get the TSA pre-check on its own, getting the Global Entry will include the pre-check for just $15 more. The Global Entry lasts up to 5 years, which for people who travel often turns out to be very convenient.
What is the Difference Between the Global Entry vs TSA Pre?
The TSA PreCheck provides expedited security screening for anyone with TSA Pre benefits for the flight departing from airports around the United States.
The global entry service provides the TSA Pre benefits plus expedited U.S. customs and border Protection for international travelers when entering the United States.
Global Entry Requirements
Since this program was designed for travelers that have no history of crime or problems with traveling in general, make sure that you clear any of those problems up before you apply for Global Entry. Things like that can be reasons for your Global Entry denial as it might not consider you a low-risk traveler.
Besides not having a criminal record or any other serious infractions, not any traveler can get accepted into the Global Entry program. The program is limited to citizens of:
- United States
- United Kingdom
- South Korea
Even if you are a citizen of one of these countries, getting Global Entry permission as a non-US citizen is still a bit difficult.
How to Apply for Global Entry
There is only one way to apply for Global Entry, which is through the online application. Regardless of where you are from or your age, the form is the same.
The application will require personal information and specific questions about your past and any criminal history. It is done to ensure that everyone that gets approval for the Global Entry is not a threat to any other travelers. Once you sign up and pay the application cost of $100.00 which includes the TSA Pre you will have to wait for a conditional approval this approval. Once you have this approval you will be able to schedule an appointment at any of the enrollment centers for approval. Once you have been approved you will then be able to activate your membership.
Cost for the Global Entry
Once you have completed the application, there is a $100 fee to have it submitted. Remember that the money for your application will not be refunded if you are denied Global Entry, so make sure you look over all your information before submitting.
Global Entry Enrollment Center
If you get approval, you will have to schedule an appointment with a Global Entry Enrollment Center. These are usually located at airports or borders, depending on where you are traveling. These appointments are often booked for a couple of months ahead, so make sure to make your appointment well before you go on your trip.
For the scheduled interview, bring your passport, proof of approval, and evidence of residence. The meeting will not take long and will mostly be repeating the questions that the application already asked you. Once you leave the meeting, the time it will take for you to get your Global Entry usually takes between 3 to 5 weeks to be delivered.