Maybe you’ve been wondering if you should get Global Entry before your next international flight. Perhaps you’re curious if it’s worth getting when you don’t travel so much internationally. Or maybe you’ve even wondered what the heck it is.
We’ve got the answers to all your burning questions right here.
What the heck is Global Entry, anyway?
Essentially, Global Entry helps expedite your journey through customs when you’ve returned from an international trip. Travelers with Global Entry pass through customs significantly faster. In fact, passengers who’ve qualified for Global Entry skip the normal customs process altogether – you check in at an electronic kiosk and bypass the lines and paperwork.
That sounds amazing. How do I qualify?
There is an application and screening process for Global Entry that must be completed before you’re cleared. The Department of Homeland Security website manages the Global Entry program.
Navigate to the Trusted Traveler Program page, and click on the Global Entry button. You must create a Trusted Traveler profile in order to apply. Once you’ve filled out the online application, U.S. Customs and Border personnel will conduct a background check. If your background checks out, you’ll be given a conditional approval and be invited to an in-person interview at a U.S. Global Entry Enrollment Center.
Your interview can be scheduled as far out as a few months, so if that isn’t convenient for your travel plans you can also walk-in without an appointment.
How much does it cost?
To apply for Global Entry you must pay a nonrefundable $100 fee. If approved, the Global Entry designation lasts for five years.
Does my Global Entry extend to my spouse or kids?
No. Each person who would like to utilize Global Entry must apply and be cleared – yes, even small children!
Does Global Entry include TSA Precheck?
Yes, it does. TSA Precheck will also expedite getting through security on your outbound flight.
Do I need both TSA Precheck and Global Entry?
Well, it only costs $15 more to get both (TSA Precheck costs $85 on its own), so we think it’s a great value.
How do I use Global Entry?
When you are approved, you’ll be issued a Known Traveler number. You can enter that number when you’re booking flights and attach it to your frequent flyer profiles.
Then when you arrive back in the country, you’ll follow signs to the Global Entry kiosk area and whip through a seriously short re-entry process. You will verify your identity with a fingerprint scan and declare any items you’re bringing back with you. That’s it!
A Word About Mobile Pass
In lieu of Global Entry, you can also use the Mobile Pass app to expedite the traditional customs and immigration process. The Mobile Passport app enables U.S. and Canadian passport holders to submit their passport and declaration information to U.S. Customs and Border Protection via their mobile device instead of completing the traditional paper form. You can then access designated Mobile Passport lanes in the Federal inspection area. The app does not require background check, interview or pre-approval. The basic app is free though there is a premium product that costs $14.99 annually. Mobile Pass+ allows you to save profiles and has an in-app scanner, but the basic app will probably be enough for most people.