Global Entry: The Best Travel Investment You’ll Ever Make

If you’re an international traveler and don’t have Global Entry (hence, a Known Traveler Number, you’re making travel way too hard. My membership is one of the best investments I’ve made…..ever.

Does this sound familiar? A few years back, I flew 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. Two hours later I made it through. Two. Hours. Later.

Global Entry Kiosks
Photo: CBP.Gov

A fellow traveler told me about Global Entry and the next day I started the process of applying. Since my application was approved, I haven’t spent more than 10 minutes in line and that was because a couple of kiosks broke down. It’s a dream.

What is Global Entry?

A government membership program that, in short, enables you to fly through United States customs in a fraction of the time of those who don’t via automatic kiosks at select airports. But as they say in game show land, but that’s not all! You’re also cleared for TSA PreCheck every time you enter your Known Traveler Number (on your Global Entry card.) when purchasing tickets. Nice, right?

How Much Does Global Entry Cost?

The application fee is $100 and the membership lasts for five years.

How Do I Submit a Global Entry Application?

The application is online and requires you to create an account to register. You’ll be able to use this account to renew it in the future. You’ll need a Passport (This link will take you to apply for a passport should you need one.) and another piece of I.D. with proof of residency such as a drivers’ license.

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Is it True I have to have an in-person Interview for Global Entry?

Yes. After you submit your online application you will need to schedule an appointment for an interview. (Take note, this could take months. Global Entry is very popular.) That said, some enrollment centers will take walk-ins, it just depends on if you want to risk it.

You must bring your passport, proof of residency and a print out of your application with you. You will also need your address and employment history for the past 5 years.

In the interview, you’ll be asked a variety of straight forward questions about your residency and travel history. They’ll take your fingerprints as well as your photo.

If this seems rigorous, that’s the point. Once they have all this info on you they don’t have to worry about it as much in the future. They know how to find you.

If you plan on committing any major crimes in the future, it’s probably best you don’t go apply.

How do I Check the Status of My Application

The process takes a couple of weeks and you can check on the status by logging into your account.

You’ll receive your Global Entry Card in the mail. Make sure to jot down your Trusted Traveler Number that is on it (or you can log in to your Global Entry account to access it). In future, when you purchase flights, you’ll add it to your reservation and that will automatically grant you TSA PreCheck. Yay!


Global Entry Renewal

You’re eligible to renew your membership one year prior to program expiration.

Log into your account and click on Manage membership > Renew Application (blue button). Update any relevant information. Then select Certify at the bottom of the page. Answer Yes or No to the certification.

Select the box next to Fees and pay the renewal fee of X. It’s a good idea to check the account periodically to assess if there is anything additional you’ll need to submit.

I wasn’t asked to have a renewal interview though a friend was asked. Not sure what the criteria is but you may (or may not) need one.

Does My Global Entry Card Cover my Children?

No. Each person in the household must have their own Global Entry card.

Am I Eligible For Global Entry if I am not a U.S. Citizen?

If you are a citizen Germany, Panama, and Mexico you may apply. If you are Canadian and a NEXUS member you will receive Global Entry benefits but not become a member.

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9 thoughts on “Global Entry: The Best Travel Investment You’ll Ever Make

  1. Heide says:

    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. librac0805 says:

    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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