In case you didn’t know, Global Entry is a travel program under the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency. It is a service that allows expedited clearance for low-risk travelers to enter the United States.
Travelers with Global Entry head to a kiosk and slide their passports into the passport reader, look up at the camera, scan their fingerprints for verification, and then complete a customs declaration. The kiosk prints out a receipt and travelers bring it to a Customs and Border Protection officer at the exit. This whole process can take 10 minutes or less. Below are 6 reasons why you should join this club:
You get to skip the customs line which can take up to an hour of wait time. Ain’t nobody got time for that! You won’t need to fill out the declaration form the flight attendants pass out on the plane. You can just fill out the form in the kiosk.
You can also use Global Entry at certain International airports such as Abu Dhabi, the Bahamas, Dublin, and Toronto – just to name a few. See the complete list of airports with Global Entry kiosks.
Easy Online Application
The online application is extremely easy and takes about 10 minutes to fill out. The application asks for work history, so make sure you can account for all gaps if any. You will need your valid passport and another document, like your birth certificate.
I waited longer in the waiting room than the time I spent in the actual appointment. The only documents you will need to bring are your passport and another form of Ids, such as a government-issued ID or license. They scan your fingerprints and take a picture of you, and then you are on your way. The only thing con is finding the next available date for the appointment. To share my experience, when I filled out my GOES application (Global Online Enrollment System) at the end of February, I got approved 5 days later. The closest airport to me is Boston, but the next available appointment date was in September! I searched for other nearby airports and was able to book an appointment in New York at John F. Kennedy airport the next month.
TSA PreCheck Included
TSA PreCheck is $85, so why not invest the extra $15 for both? You will get the benefits of both TSA PreCheck and Global Entry and on top of that, skip the regular security lines. Big win, there is no need to take off your shoes or take out your laptop or liquids from your suitcase. I’ve gone through TSA PreCheck lines without having to take off my hoodie or my hat.
It Could be free
Global Entry will cost you $100 and is good for five years. If you think about it, that’s ONLY $20 per year. Select credit cards such as The Platinum Card from American Express, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card, and Citi Prestige Card will waive your Global Entry fee, so you can essentially get it for free.
Even Easier to Renew Online
You can renew as early as a year before your expiration date. You have to log back into your GOES account and update any new information or confirm that nothing has changed. You will also have to update where you have traveled to in the last five years. Renewal will cost you another $100, but if you are renewing, you will know by now that it is worth the money. For Citi Prestige Card holders, the card company will credit you $100 every five years for Global Entry, which means it’ll always be free. Most people who renew do not need to go in for another interview. In some cases, you may be asked to.
If we haven’t convinced you to get Global Entry yet, the next time you are standing in the Custom’s line for an hour waiting to get back into the country, we hope you’ll think about this article. 🙂
Photo by Flickr Contributor Anne Worner