General Travel Tips

Why You Should Apply for Global Entry

Global Entry

Photo: Josh Edgoose for Unsplash

Why You Should Invest in Global Entry

If you’re an international traveler and don’t have Global Entry you’re making life much more difficult than it has to be.

What is it you ask?

The program “allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Members enter the United States through automatic kiosks at select airports.”

Wouldn’t you prefer to NOT wait in a long customs’ line?

I thought so.

Applying for Global Entry was one of the best investments I’ve made…..ever.

Let me explain why…

I had just landed after traveling 20+ hours from Asia. There were over 300 people who deplaned from my flight and in a fog, we dragged ourselves down the long, blindingly bright hallway to customs. I was so tired I was almost in tears.

I watched as a line of never-ending switchbacks formed and I braced myself for misery. Two hours later, I made it to the front of the line. TWO. HOURS. LATER. For some inexplicable reason, there were only three customs agents on duty for hundreds of passengers.  I wondered what the sentence would be if I went postal.

The ONLY good thing about that horrible day was learning about Global Entry from a fellow traveler who was lamenting the fact he hadn’t applied before his trip.

Flash forward a few months later and once again I am near the end of another 20+ hour journey, this time from Botswana.  I clear the familiar hallways and see the lines begin to form in front of me. For a second my chest tightened and then I remembered I had Global Entry. I walked up to an empty kiosk, scanned my passport, and that was it! My relief was palpable.

Yours will be too.

How to Apply for Global Entry

(Information adapted from the Global Entry Website)

  1. Who can apply: Citizens of the United States as well as citizens of the Netherlands who are enrolled in FLUX and Korean Smart Entry Service members. Citizens of Germany, Panama, and Mexico may also apply for Global Entry. Canadian NEXUS members have Global Entry benefits, but are not eligible to join.
  2. Apply Online: Fill out an online application and pay the $100 non-refundable application fee. (It lasts five years. Think of it as $25.00 per year. Less painful that way.)
  3. Schedule an Interview: Once your application is reviewed, you will receive a message in you the account you created (the “GOES” account) instructing you to schedule an interview at one of the Global Entry interview locations. 
  4. Interview Determines Your Eligibility: A U.S. Customs Border Protection officer will ask you questions, take your photo, and scan your fingerprints.
  5. Provide Identification: Bring your valid passport(s) and one other form of identification, such as a driver’s license or ID card to the interview. If you are a lawful permanent resident, you must present your permanent resident card. (Note: When traveling with family, only members that have Global Entry will benefit from the program).
  6. You’ll receive your card by mail 8-10 business days after your application has been approved.
  7. Another Great Perk: On your card you’ll find a nine-digit PASS-ID, which is your Known Traveler Number. Enter this number when you’re booking a trip online (or give it to your travel specialist), you’ll typically find a box for it on the screen asking for your personal information. If you do, you’ll also be approved for TSA Pre-Check for airports that offer it.  Yippee!

If you’d like to access to essential travel information such as how to renew your passport or see up-to-the-minute travel alerts for your destination, check out my Resources page.  Plus, here are some general travel tips I think you’ll find helpful.

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Why You Should Apply for Global Entry

11 replies »

  1. Thanks so much for this post, Susan. I’ve been waffling, wondering whether it’s really worth the trouble — but you’ve convinced me of its worth.

  2. YES!! I just applied as I’m planning a big trip to India and the Maldives, Turks & Caicos, and a few others. A man in the airport told me about it, and for $100, it’s a DEAL!! Thanks for sharing!!!

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