Global Entry: Is It Worth It and What Benefits Does It Offer?
Frequent international travelers often seek ways to make their journeys more efficient and hassle-free. One such option is Global Entry, a program designed to expedite the customs and immigration process for pre-approved travelers upon arrival in the United States. In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of Global Entry, its cost, and ultimately help you decide whether it’s worth enrolling in the program.
What is Global Entry?
Global Entry is a Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) managed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). It allows pre-approved, low-risk travelers to bypass the traditional customs and immigration lines and use automated kiosks when entering the United States. The program aims to streamline the arrival process for frequent international travelers, saving them time and effort.
Benefits of Global Entry
Here are the key benefits that come with being a Global Entry member:
- Expedited entry into the United States: Upon arrival, Global Entry members can proceed directly to the designated kiosks, scan their passport or U.S. permanent resident card, provide fingerprints for biometric verification, and complete a customs declaration. This process is typically much faster than waiting in the regular customs and immigration lines.
- TSA PreCheck included: Global Entry membership also grants access to TSA PreCheck, a program that expedites the security screening process at participating U.S. airports. TSA PreCheck members can enjoy shorter lines, do not need to remove shoes, belts, or light jackets, and can keep laptops and liquids in their carry-on bags during the screening.
- Reduced wait times: Global Entry members often experience significantly reduced wait times at customs and immigration, sometimes saving up to an hour or more, depending on the airport and time of arrival.
- Available at numerous airports: Global Entry kiosks are available at over 75 U.S. airports and some international preclearance locations, making it convenient for travelers who frequently fly to and from the United States.
Cost of Global Entry
The application fee for Global Entry is $100, which is non-refundable, even if your application is denied. The membership is valid for five years, meaning the cost averages out to $20 per year. It’s important to note that some premium credit cards offer statement credits to cover the Global Entry fee as a cardholder benefit, effectively making enrollment free for eligible cardholders.
Is Global Entry Worth It?
Whether or not Global Entry is worth the investment depends on several factors:
- Frequency of international travel: If you travel internationally multiple times a year, the time saved with expedited customs and immigration processing can make Global Entry well worth the cost.
- Value of time saved: Consider how much you value your time and convenience. If saving an hour or more on each trip is important to you, Global Entry can be a worthwhile investment.
- TSA PreCheck usage: If you frequently travel within the United States, the inclusion of TSA PreCheck benefits can make Global Entry even more appealing, as it combines both international and domestic expedited security processes.
- Eligibility for fee reimbursement: If you have a credit card that offers a Global Entry fee credit, the program becomes an even more attractive option, as you won’t have to pay the application fee out of pocket. There are alot of different Travel Credit Cards to choose from that offer Reimbursement.
Global Entry can be a valuable program for frequent international travelers who value their time and convenience. With expedited customs and immigration processing, along with the added benefit of TSA PreCheck for domestic flights, Global Entry can significantly enhance your travel experience. Ultimately, whether Global Entry is worth it depends on your individual travel habits, priorities, and eligibility for fee reimbursement through a qualifying credit card. Having it may also help keep you off the SSSS on boarding pass list.
How to Get Approved for Global Entry
Global Entry is a program by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get approved for Global Entry.
Step 1: Check Your Eligibility
Global Entry is available to U.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents, and citizens of certain other countries. You must have a clean criminal record and no violations of customs, immigration, or agricultural laws.
Step 2: Create a Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) Account
Start by creating an account on the Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) website. This is the platform used to apply for Global Entry and other similar programs.
Step 3: Complete the Application
Log in to your TTP account and complete the Global Entry application. You’ll need to provide detailed information about yourself, including your employment history, travel history, and personal contacts.
Step 4: Pay the Non-Refundable Application Fee
There’s a non-refundable fee of $100 to apply for Global Entry. You will need to pay this fee when you submit your application.
Step 5: Wait for Conditional Approval
After you submit your application and fee, it will be reviewed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. If your application is deemed low-risk, you will receive a message in your TTP account indicating that you’re conditionally approved. It took me about 2 months before I got the conditional approval. Some people say they get theirs immediately or within a couple of days.
Step 6: Schedule an Interview
Once you’ve received conditional approval, you can schedule an interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center. Many major airports have these centers. During the interview, a CBP officer will ask questions, take your photo, and collect biometric information like fingerprints. They also may have an interview on arrival when entering the country from abroad, if you already have a conditional approval. Sometimes it can take up to an hour before you are seen, so you may want to take a flight with a longer delay at your entry airport.
Step 7: Receive Final Approval
If your interview goes well and you pass the background check, you’ll receive final approval for Global Entry. You’ll receive a Global Entry card in the mail and will also be given a Known Traveler Number (KTN), which you can use when booking flights to qualify for expedited screening through TSA PreCheck.
Remember, approval for Global Entry is at the discretion of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Honest and accurate responses during the application and interview process are crucial. Once approved, your Global Entry status is valid for five years, after which you’ll need to renew your membership. If you are a felon you most likely will not be approved. If you had a felony expungement then it is possible that you will get approved if you’re honest on your application.