Global Entry has been around for many years, and it basically gives you the ability to fast track your entry back into the US when traveling from abroad. It’s a great program and is growing in popularity, so we wanted to share how to get Global Entry, as well as provide some tips on the service.

Global Entry not only improves your experience for international travel, but also for domestic trips. TSA PreCheck is included with Global Entry, so it makes the service valuable even for travelers that primarily vacation within the US. Once you’re approved, your passport will be in a database, and you won’t have to fill out the blue entry form on the plane when entering the US. Instead, you’ll answer all the questions via the Global Entry kiosk, and use a separate line that is typically less crowded than the normal line.

In addition, you’ll get a Global Entry card that you can use when entering the US via land or sea. This doesn’t replace your passport but can help expedite your entry back into the US.

The program is open to US citizens and some lawful permanent residents. There are many different visa classifications that will allow you to get one if you’re not a US citizen.

Process for Getting Global Entry

To apply, you’ll need to create a Trusted Travel Program (TTP) account. Once you complete the application, you’ll be asked to pay the $100 non-refundable fee. Once your application and fee are submitted, CBP will review your application. When you’re conditionally approved, you’ll receive an email asking you to schedule an interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center. You then need to schedule your appointment online. Once you pass your interview, you’ll get final approval.

When you go to your interview, you’ll need to bring your passport and one other form of official identification, such as a driver’s license or state ID. $100 might seem like a lot, but it lasts for five years, so essentially you’re only paying $20 a year and you get TSA PreCheck, so I think is completely worth it.

The process is straight-forward, but we wanted to share some tips and tricks to help with the application process and with maximizing your Global Entry benefits.

Tips and Considerations

1. Check your credit card:

Several of the premium travel credit cards offer a reimbursement for Global Entry. This includes the Chase Sapphire Reserve, American Express Platinum, and Citi Prestige. This can be a great way to offset the cost of Global Entry.

2. Register your Known Traveler ID number:

Once you get approved for Global Entry, you’ll want to make sure to register your Known Traveler ID number with all the airlines that you fly with. This will make sure that you get TSA PreCheck when the airline issues you a boarding pass. Otherwise, they won’t know that you’re enrolled in the program.

3. Keep checking available appointment times:

When I applied for Global Entry and was trying to schedule the interview, I noticed that the first available appointment was four months away. However, I kept checking the site. Sure enough, slots kept opening up. I ended up rebooking the interview a couple of times until I finally got one the same week. This meant that I was able to get approved and take advantage of the benefits sooner. Therefore, if you’re facing a long wait time, keep checking the website for any cancellations or additional openings.

4. Traveling with dependents:

One of the annoying things with Global Entry is that the benefits do not cover any dependents traveling with you. Each person is supposed to get their own Global Entry account, even if they are an infant. I’m  not sure how you’re supposed to interview an infant, but if you have a family, you may want to re-consider getting Global Entry unless you often travel solo. Another option would be to use the Mobile Passport service, which is completely free and family friendly.

Oddly enough, Fiona seems to get TSA PreCheck whenever she travels with me, even though she doesn’t have Global Entry. It might be a coincidence, but I honestly think that it’s because she’s on the same reservation with me.

5. Update system with new passport and ID:

One thing that is really easy to miss is to update the system whenever you get a new passport. I only learned about this recently. Since I got a new passport last year, I needed to log-in to update the information. This also applies to any updates to your issued IDs (e.g., driver’s license).

6. Know your upcoming travel plans:

A common question that you’ll be asked during your interview is “what is your next international trip?” The catch is that they actually know if you have a trip booked in the future. I haven’t heard of anyone getting their application denied because they answered this question incorrectly. However, it’s probably best to have a good idea of your upcoming travel plans to avoid any complications.

7. Be prepared to answer questions about your past:

I’ve heard stories of officers asking about unpaid parking tickets or citations during the interview. These citations are unlikely to prevent you from getting Global Entry. Though just remember to be polite and avoid being defensive. It’s easy to get annoyed or frustrated with these sorts of questions, but remember that the officer is doing his/her job.

8. Don’t forget to renew:

Your Global Entry benefit last for five years, so make sure you set a reminder to renew it. You can actually submit a renewal within a year of your expiration date. It costs $100 to review, and you’ll have to submit updates to your profile. This includes updates to where you live, where you work, and where you’ve traveled. Once you submit your information, you’ll either be approved or prompted for an in-person interview.

Do you have Global Entry? If so, let us know if you have any other tips on the program.


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