Breeze Through Airport Security: The Complete Guide to Joining Global Entry
Breeze Through Airport Security: The Complete Guide to Joining Global Entry - What is Global Entry and How Does it Work?
Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. It's an invaluable time-saver for frequent international travelers that makes going through immigration and customs a breeze.
So how does it work exactly? Global Entry utilizes automated kiosks at select airports to swiftly process pre-approved members. Instead of waiting in long immigration lines after an international flight, Global Entry members can proceed directly to the nearest kiosk, scan their passport or permanent resident card, have their photo taken, and verify fingerprints. The kiosk will then print out a receipt that serves as your admission document into the U.S. From there, you can simply exit the airport without any further processing. The entire process takes less than 5 minutes in most cases.
To qualify for Global Entry, you must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or lawful permanent resident. You'll also need to fill out an online application, pay a $100 fee that's valid for 5 years, pass a background check, and complete an in-person interview with CBP officers at select airports. The program is open to U.S. citizens of all ages, including children under 18. Once conditionally approved, the entire application process from start to finish usually takes 3-5 months.
Membership in Global Entry comes with a host of benefits. Not only does it provide expedited entry into the U.S., but it also includes access to TSA PreCheck, allowing you to speed through domestic airport security lines. Global Entry kiosks are available at over 75 major U.S. airports and pre-clearance locations, so it's widely accepted for streamlined immigration and customs. It's valid for 5 years before needing to reapply.
What else is in this post?
- Breeze Through Airport Security: The Complete Guide to Joining Global Entry - What is Global Entry and How Does it Work?
- Breeze Through Airport Security: The Complete Guide to Joining Global Entry - Who is Eligible to Apply for Global Entry?
- Breeze Through Airport Security: The Complete Guide to Joining Global Entry - The Simple Application Process Step-By-Step
- Breeze Through Airport Security: The Complete Guide to Joining Global Entry - Once Approved, How to Use Global Entry
- Breeze Through Airport Security: The Complete Guide to Joining Global Entry - The Benefits of Global Entry Beyond Expedited Screening
- Breeze Through Airport Security: The Complete Guide to Joining Global Entry - Global Entry Includes TSA PreCheck - What You Need to Know
- Breeze Through Airport Security: The Complete Guide to Joining Global Entry - Adding Family Members to Your Global Entry Account
- Breeze Through Airport Security: The Complete Guide to Joining Global Entry - Is Global Entry Worth the $100 Fee?
Breeze Through Airport Security: The Complete Guide to Joining Global Entry - Who is Eligible to Apply for Global Entry?
When it comes to who can apply for Global Entry, there are a few key eligibility requirements set by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. First and foremost, you must be either a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or a lawful permanent resident of the United States. Global Entry is only available to American travelers, so those with citizenship from other countries are not eligible.
Beyond citizenship, you must also meet certain identity requirements. All applicants must hold a valid passport or permanent resident card, as well as a driver's license or state-issued ID. Minors can apply but will need the consent of a parent or guardian who also meets eligibility criteria. Those under 18 must have their own passport but do not need their own driver's license.
One common question is whether non-U.S. citizens can qualify for Global Entry if they hold a green card. The answer is yes. Lawful permanent residents are eligible to join the program, even if they are not American citizens. The key is having permanent resident status and unrestricted travel to and from the United States.
Global Entry also takes a close look at your background and criminal history during the application process. You cannot have any previous customs violations, smuggling offenses, or immigration violations. Crimes like illegal drug possession, distribution, or trafficking will also disqualify applicants. If you have any arrests, convictions, or outstanding warrants, it's best to consult CBP before applying.
Certain international travel patterns may also impact eligibility. For example, frequent travel to high-risk regions could warrant further scrutiny. The goal is to identify trusted travelers who present a very low risk profile. Extensive international travel to concerning areas may raise questions.
Breeze Through Airport Security: The Complete Guide to Joining Global Entry - The Simple Application Process Step-By-Step
Applying for Global Entry is a straightforward process that can be completed online in just a few steps. While it takes some time for conditional approval, the application itself is simple and user-friendly. Here is a walkthrough of what to expect when signing up for Global Entry:
First, you'll need to create a Trusted Traveler Program account on the Global Online Enrollment System website. This involves entering your biographic information, contact details, and passport number. Be sure to have your passport handy to enter the required data.
Next, you'll fill out the program application, which covers basic eligibility questions, travel history, and background information. Answer each question honestly to avoid issues down the road. The application will also prompt you to schedule an interview appointment at your preferred enrollment center. Pick a location that is easy to access based on your travel patterns.
You'll then need to pay the $100 Global Entry fee, which can be paid online by credit card. Once submitted, your application enters the review process, which typically takes 3-5 months. During this time, CBP will vet your information and conduct a full background check. As long as you are conditionally approved, you'll then complete an in-person interview.
The interview takes place at your chosen enrollment center, which are located at major U.S. airports. The process is simple - a CBP officer will confirm your eligibility, take fingerprints, review your documents, and ask you to read and sign a Declaration form. The interview typically lasts 5-10 minutes total.
After finishing your interview, your enrollment is complete. You'll receive a letter within 2 weeks confirming your official acceptance. And just like that, you can then use the Global Entry kiosks for expedited entry on your next international trip!
Breeze Through Airport Security: The Complete Guide to Joining Global Entry - Once Approved, How to Use Global Entry
Speeding through airport security and immigration is a total game-changer for frequent travelers. But just because you’re approved for Global Entry doesn’t mean you automatically know how to take advantage of it fully. Getting the most out of the program involves understanding where you can use it and what to expect after getting that coveted approval letter.
The key to unlocking the power of Global Entry is knowing where the special kiosks are located. These machines are available at over 75 major U.S. airports including hubs like LAX, JFK, SFO, ORD, IAH, DFW, and MIA. You can find a full list of participating airports online. When arriving on an international flight, simply head straight to the Global Entry kiosk area instead of waiting in the long immigration lines. Look for signs pointing you to the dedicated kiosks.
After locating a kiosk, scan your machine-readable passport or permanent resident card. You’ll be prompted to verify your fingerprints electronically as an extra security measure. Next, a customs declaration form will appear on the screen - review the information, answer any questions, and accept to submit it electronically. Finally, you’ll have your photo taken to complete the process. The kiosk will print out a receipt which you keep with your passport. From there, you are free to exit the airport without any further inspection!
The entire kiosk process takes less than 5 minutes in most cases. Flights arriving at the same time can create bottlenecks, but it's still much faster than regular immigration lines. Before your trip, check if your arrival airport has Global Entry and where the kiosks are located using CBP’s website.
One key tip is to provide your Global Entry number when booking international flights. This allows the airline to pre-clear you for expedited entry on arrival. Some airlines will even let you use priority/premium immigration lanes after landing if you gave them your number upfront.
Breeze Through Airport Security: The Complete Guide to Joining Global Entry - The Benefits of Global Entry Beyond Expedited Screening
Global Entry provides a host of invaluable benefits that extend far beyond simply accelerating the customs and immigration process. Here’s a deeper look at the key perks you’ll enjoy as a member beyond expedited screening.
One major benefit is access to TSA PreCheck when flying domestically within the US. By entering your Global Entry number when booking flights, you can breeze through PreCheck security lines at participating airports. You’ll be able to keep your shoes, belt, and light jacket on while avoiding lengthy checkpoint waits. Over 200 US airports participate in PreCheck, offering expedited screening for members.
Global Entry also includes access to the Mobile Passport app, allowing you to save time when arriving in the US. Mobile Passport lets you complete customs forms and submit declarations on your phone in advance. You’ll then be able to use dedicated Mobile Passport lanes at participating airports to swiftly pass immigration checks. It’s all done electronically for added speed.
For frequent road trippers, Global Entry membership grants access to expedited processing when returning to the US via land border crossings or sea ports. Simply present your card to bypass lengthy vehicle or pedestrian queues. This works at land ports across the US borders with Mexico and Canada. You can also use designated lanes for Global Entry at select seaports.
Members can add family members free of charge by accessing their Trusted Traveler Program account. Adding children under 18 and spouse is allowed, helping families stay together when passing immigration. To enroll family, each applicant still needs to complete the full application process including eligibility vetting.
Global Entry works internationally too. It’s accepted in expedited entry programs in 10 other countries spanning Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Examples include South Korea’s SES program and the UK’s Registered Traveller Service. Reciprocal benefits open up faster immigration when traveling abroad.
Breeze Through Airport Security: The Complete Guide to Joining Global Entry - Global Entry Includes TSA PreCheck - What You Need to Know
One of the best perks of Global Entry is that it comes bundled with TSA PreCheck, allowing expedited security screening for domestic U.S. flights. Instead of fumbling with shoes, laptops, liquids, and belts at the airport, PreCheck lets you breeze through metal detectors and keep your clothes on. For Global Entry members, TSA PreCheck is an invaluable time-saver.
To take advantage of PreCheck, simply add your Global Entry number when booking flights online or provide it at check-in. This links your known traveler number to the reservation. Look for the TSA PreCheck logo on your boarding pass to confirm you're eligible for the fast lane. Then when going through security, head straight for the PreCheck lane.
The PreCheck screening process is so much smoother. You won't need to remove shoes or jackets unless specifically instructed by a TSA officer. Laptops and liquids can stay safely in your bag too. With fewer items to juggle, the whole process takes just minutes compared to possible hours in the regular queue.
PreCheck security lanes are available at over 200 U.S. airports and dozens of airlines participate. Major hubs like LAX, ORD, JFK, and ATL all feature PreCheck lines. Entry requirements are more lax as well. Things that would get flagged in normal screening like food items or medical equipment are often permitted.
One key tip is that having Global Entry doesn't guarantee every flight will be PreCheck eligible. The airline still has to opt-in the specific ticket, so check your boarding pass first. Budget airlines like Spirit or Allegiant aren't part of PreCheck networks, nor are some international carriers. But for mainstream domestic airlines, it's a huge advantage.
Kids can also access PreCheck if flying with a parent registered in Global Entry. Those under 12 can accompany parents through expedited screening without applying themselves. Same for those over 75 - no formal registration needed.
Breeze Through Airport Security: The Complete Guide to Joining Global Entry - Adding Family Members to Your Global Entry Account
Adding family to your Global Entry account is a great way to reap the rewards of expedited screening without each person having to pay the $100 fee. But how does it work and who’s eligible? As a seasoned travel hacker, I’ve added my wife and kids so we can swiftly breeze through airport security together. Here’s what to know.
First, adding family only allows them access to TSA PreCheck expedited screening. To use Global Entry kiosks internationally, each family member needs their own membership. Only kids under 18 get complimentary use for customs and immigration when traveling with a registered guardian. For PreCheck alone, kids don’t technically need their own application.
To start, log into your Global Online Enrollment System account and access your Trusted Traveler profile. Under “Manage Family Members”, you can send invites to relatives you want to add. They'll need to create their own login but can use your account number when applying. No extra fee is charged.
Who’s eligible? Spouses and domestic partners can be included regardless of citizenship or residence. Children under 18 are also eligible. For kids under 18, they should be listed as dependents on your taxes. Children over 18 need their own paid membership, even if still claimed as tax dependents.
One caveat is that all added family members must be U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. Foreign relatives unfortunately don’t qualify. Their citizenship blocks PreCheck access since it’s only for domestic U.S. flights.
I added my wife and two kids under 12 right away. My son turned 18 last year so I had him apply individually before then. It was a smooth process and took about 2 weeks for approval after they submitted applications. We entered our known traveler numbers when booking upcoming trips and TSA PreCheck printed on all boarding passes.
Having Global Entry means I now get to take my family through expedited screening every flight. No more wasting time removing shoes and laptops like before. My kids love keeping their jackets on and strolling past the long security lines. My wife and I can quickly get through and help corral the little ones on the other side.
When we fly internationally as a family, my wife and older son still need to use regular immigration lanes. But my daughter under 18 can join me at Global Entry kiosks in just minutes. It's a major perk having both programs bundled for families through Global Entry.
Breeze Through Airport Security: The Complete Guide to Joining Global Entry - Is Global Entry Worth the $100 Fee?
At $100 for five years of access, Global Entry's upfront cost gives some travelers pause. But is it actually worth it? For frequent international jet-setters, the answer is almost always a resounding yes. Global Entry more than pays for itself in time savings and reduced headaches. Even occasional overseas travelers can benefit. But it does depend on your personal travel style.
For road warriors crossing borders multiple times per year, Global Entry is a nobrainer. The hours saved not waiting in immigration lines add up quickly. Even at airports with immigration queues as short as 15-30 minutes, that still translates to hours annually that could be better spent. And at packed airports like Miami, New York, and Los Angeles during peak arrival times, standard immigration wait times can creep into the multiple hours range. For hard-core globe-trotters, valuing your time at just $20-30 per hour means Global Entry pays for itself after only a handful of trips. And that's not factoring in the lowered stress levels breezing through customs fast instead of grinding it out in the regular queue.
Even for an occasional yet strategic international traveler that jets abroad twice per year, Global Entry can pay dividends. The key is choosing it for complex multi-stop international itineraries where immigration lines will be amplified. For simple short trips like weekend excursions to Mexico and Canada, it's unnecessary. But for voyages involving connecting flights at gateway mega-airports, it smoothes the cracks in the journey. Using Global Entry on that annual trip to Asia with stops in LAX and ORD can shave an hour plus of transit time door-to-door.
The bundled PreCheck benefit tips the math even more favorably. With 200+ airports covered, accelerated security is useful for most domestic travel. For Global Entry members taking 6+ domestic flights annually, the per-use value starts adding up here too. Even shorter airport waits in the 15-30 minute range translate to recaptured hours over the course of a year.