Welcome to the fast lane of international travel with Global Entry Benefits, your ultimate guide to navigating the world like a travel pro. For those bitten by the wanderlust bug, the journey from one destination to another is not just about the final stop but also about the experiences along the way. However, long lines at customs and immigration can be a major buzzkill, turning what should be an exciting adventure into a tedious wait. Enter Global Entry – the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s solution for the savvy traveler.
In this feature, we’ll dive deep into the myriad benefits of Global Entry, a program designed to whisk you through airport formalities with the ease of a breeze. From skipping the long queues at immigration to enjoying expedited entry into the United States, we’ll explore how Global Entry not only saves you time but also enhances your travel experience.
Whether you’re a frequent flyer or planning your first international trip, understanding how to leverage Global Entry can transform your travel dynamics. So, strap in and prepare to elevate your travel game as we unravel the perks of being a Global Entry member, ensuring your adventures across the globe are as seamless as they are memorable.
What is Global Entry?
Global Entry stands out as an exclusive program led by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), designed to fast-track the entry process for travelers deemed low-risk from certain countries. In essence, it’s your ticket to bypassing the notoriously long queues at immigration and customs.
This program is embraced by numerous airports across the United States, and even a handful of international ones, providing preclearance and dedicated lanes exclusively for members of Global Entry.
The process is refreshingly simple – upon arrival, members just scan their passports at a designated kiosk, snap a quick photo, respond to a few prompts, and then proceed to a CBP agent waiting to assist participants of this program. It’s a significant perk streamlining your travel experience, making re-entry into the U.S. smoother and faster.
How Does it Work?
Global Entry streamlines the customs and immigration process for pre-approved, low-risk travelers entering the United States. Once approved, members are assigned a Known Traveler Number (KTN), which they use when booking flights. At participating airports, members bypass traditional customs lines and proceed to Global Entry kiosks.
Here, they scan their passport or permanent resident card, verify their fingerprints, and answer customs declaration questions. This automated process eliminates the need for the paper customs form, allowing travelers to exit the airport quickly, often in minutes. Global Entry’s efficiency and convenience make it an invaluable tool for frequent international travelers.
Who Can Get Global Entry?
Global Entry welcomes U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, offering them an expedited way through customs and immigration. But it’s not just limited to those from the U.S.; the program extends its benefits internationally to citizens from a curated list of countries, under specific conditions:
- Dutch citizens who are part of the FLUX program.
- Members of South Korea’s Smart Entry Service.
- Citizens from Argentina, Colombia, Germany, India, Mexico, Panama, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom are also eligible to apply for Global Entry.
While Canadian citizens involved in the NEXUS program can’t directly apply for Global Entry, they’re still able to enjoy its perks. This inclusive approach allows a diverse group of international travelers to experience quicker, more streamlined entry into the United States.
What are the Requirements for Global Entry?
Global Entry is open to U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who are 18 and older, provided they have a clean legal record without any convictions or pending criminal charges. Essentially, applicants need to prove they are low-risk travelers to be considered for the program. Additionally, citizens from a select group of countries are also welcome to apply, assuming they meet the same criteria. These countries include:
- South Korea
For Canadian citizens, there’s a similar Trusted Traveler arrangement known as NEXUS. It not only includes the perks of Global Entry but also offers expedited entry into Canada, providing a comprehensive solution for frequent travelers between the two countries.
How to Apply for Global Entry?
Applying for Global Entry involves a straightforward process designed to verify your eligibility as a low-risk traveler. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the application:
1. Create a Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) Account
Begin by creating an account on the Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) website. This account will be your portal for the application process and future updates.
2. Complete the Application
Fill out the Global Entry application form through your TTP account. You’ll need to provide detailed personal information, and travel history, and answer questions regarding your background.
3. Pay the Application Fee
Submit the non-refundable application fee. This fee covers the cost of processing your application and is required whether or not you are approved for Global Entry.
4. Await Conditional Approval
After reviewing your application, CBP will either grant you conditional approval or deny your application. If conditionally approved, you’ll receive a notification in your TTP account with instructions for the next step.
5. Schedule an Interview
Once conditionally approved, you’ll need to schedule an in-person interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center. Availability can vary, so it’s wise to book your appointment as soon as possible.
6. Attend the Interview
During your interview, a CBP officer will ask you questions to verify the information in your application, take your photo, and collect your fingerprints. You’ll also need to bring your passport and one other form of identification, such as a driver’s license.
7. Receive Your Global Entry Card
If approved, you’ll be issued a Global Entry card and can start enjoying expedited entry through U.S. customs and immigration. Remember, your Global Entry status is typically valid for five years, after which you’ll need to reapply.
Following these steps will guide you through the application process for Global Entry, making your future travels smoother and more efficient.
How to Use Global Entry?
After your Global Entry approval, here’s how to utilize your Known Traveler Number (KTN) effectively:
- Add Your KTN: Always provide your KTN when booking flights.
- Use Global Entry Lanes: Upon returning to the U.S., look for the Global Entry signs and head to the kiosk line, which is typically much shorter.
- Kiosk Check-In: At the kiosk, scan your passport or permanent resident card, verify your fingerprints, and declare any items you’re bringing into the country.
- Skip the Paper Form: After completing the kiosk process, you’ll receive a receipt. This means you can bypass filling out the traditional blue-and-white customs form provided on international flights.
By following these steps, you’ll streamline your re-entry into the U.S., making your travel experience smoother and faster.
Global Entry Fees and Costs
The fee for Global Entry is $100 for a five-year membership. This fee covers the cost of processing your application and includes a background check and in-person interview. Once approved, members can enjoy expedited entry into the United States at select airports, along with TSA PreCheck benefits, which provide expedited security screening at participating U.S. airports.
It’s important to note that the $100 application fee is non-refundable, regardless of whether the application is approved or denied. Additionally, some credit card companies and loyalty programs offer rebates or fee waivers for Global Entry, so it’s worth checking if you can benefit from such an offer to offset the application cost.
Which Airports Have Global Entry?
Global Entry kiosks are conveniently located at roughly 80 airports, both within the U.S. and internationally. Here’s a breakdown:
U.S. Major Airports
- Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
- John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
- Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
- Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
- Miami International Airport (MIA)
- San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
- Dulles International Airport (IAD)
- Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
U.S. Smaller Airports
- Toledo Express Airport, Ohio
- Burlington International Airport, Vermont
Alaska and Hawaii
- In Alaska, look for them in Fairbanks and Anchorage. Hawaii has kiosks in Honolulu.
- Abu Dhabi International Airport
- Various locations throughout the Caribbean and Canada
- North Pacific region
This extensive network makes it easier for Global Entry members to expedite their travel process at numerous points of entry around the world.
What Does Global Entry Benefits?
Global Entry offers a suite of benefits designed to make international travel smoother and more efficient for approved travelers. Here’s a breakdown of the key benefits:
- Expedited Entry into the U.S.: Upon arrival from international destinations, Global Entry members can bypass traditional customs and immigration lines, using dedicated kiosks to complete their entry process, which significantly reduces waiting times.
- TSA PreCheck Eligibility: Global Entry membership automatically qualifies you for TSA PreCheck, allowing for faster security screening at participating airports within the U.S. This means shorter lines, and you don’t need to remove shoes, laptops, liquids, belts, and light jackets.
- No Paper Customs Forms: Global Entry eliminates the need to fill out paper customs declaration forms on the plane, streamlining your re-entry into the U.S.
- Access to Expedited Entry Programs in Other Countries: Membership may offer reciprocal benefits through arrangements with other countries’ trusted traveler programs, further easing international travel.
- Reduced Wait Times: The program significantly reduces wait times, with most Global Entry members processed in minutes.
- Increased Convenience: The use of Global Entry kiosks and a more straightforward entry process provide a more convenient travel experience, especially for those who travel internationally frequently.
- Enhanced Security: While providing expedited processing, Global Entry does not compromise security. Members are pre-vetted, low-risk travelers, which also helps to streamline their airport experience.
- Wide Availability: Global Entry kiosks are available at numerous airports across the United States and select international locations, making it accessible for travelers entering the U.S. from various points of departure.
These benefits collectively make Global Entry a valuable program for frequent international travelers, offering a more seamless and efficient travel experience.
Tips for Using Global Entry
- Keep Your Information Updated: Ensure your passport, driver’s license, and other personal information are current in your Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) account.
- Use Your Known Traveler Number (KTN): Always include your KTN when booking flights to ensure you receive TSA PreCheck benefits and expedited boarding.
- Arrive Prepared: Have your passport or permanent resident card ready before you reach the Global Entry kiosk to expedite the process.
- Know Your Customs Declaration: Be clear about what you need to declare to avoid delays. Review the customs declaration questions in advance if possible.
- Check Kiosk Locations: Familiarize yourself with the airport layout and Global Entry kiosk locations before you travel to save time upon arrival.
- Schedule Interviews During Layovers: If you need to complete your Global Entry interview, consider scheduling it during a layover at an airport with an enrollment center to save a separate trip.
- Utilize Mobile Passport Control: In addition to Global Entry, consider using the Mobile Passport Control app where available to expedite your entry even further.
- Be Aware of Reciprocal Programs: Know which other countries offer expedited entry benefits to Global Entry members and how to use them.
- Renew Early: Start the renewal process for Global Entry well before your membership expires to avoid a lapse in benefits.
- Leverage Credit Card Benefits: Some credit cards offer reimbursement for Global Entry fees. Check if yours does and take advantage of this perk.
- Educate Your Travel Companions: If traveling with family or friends who aren’t Global Entry members, inform them about the program and its benefits. They might need to wait for you in a different area if they can’t use the expedited entry.
- Check for Enrollment on Arrival: If you’re conditionally approved and traveling soon, look for airports that offer Enrollment on Arrival to complete your Global Entry process without needing a separate appointment.
Difference Between Global Entry and TSA PreCheck
Here’s a table highlighting the key differences between Global Entry and TSA PreCheck:
|Expedited U.S. customs screening for international travelers
|Expedited security screening at U.S. airports
|U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and citizens of select countries
|U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents
|$100 for 5 years
|$85 for 5 years
|Application, background check, and in-person interview
|Application and background check
|Includes TSA PreCheck?
|Yes, automatically includes TSA PreCheck benefits
|No, TSA PreCheck does not include Global Entry
|Use at Airports
|Available at about 80 airports worldwide
|Available at 200+ airports across the U.S.
|Expedited entry into the U.S. through customs and immigration
|Expedited passage through airport security
|Yes, at a Global Entry Enrollment Center
|No, generally not required
Global Entry stands as a beacon of convenience and efficiency for the international traveler, offering a suite of benefits designed to streamline the travel experience. From expedited entry into the United States to automatic eligibility for TSA PreCheck, the program significantly reduces wait times and the hassle of airport formalities.
By bypassing long lines, eliminating the need for paper customs forms, and providing access to expedited entry programs in other countries, Global Entry not only saves time but also enhances the overall travel experience. Moreover, the ease of updating personal information, the convenience of using kiosks, and the availability of the program at numerous airports across the U.S. and select international locations underscore its value.
Whether you’re a frequent flyer or an occasional international traveler, the benefits of Global Entry are undeniable, offering a smoother, more efficient way to navigate the complexities of international travel. By embracing these advantages, travelers can focus more on their destinations and less on the logistics of getting there, making Global Entry an indispensable tool in the modern traveler’s toolkit.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How long is Global Entry valid?
Global Entry is valid for five years. Members can begin the renewal process one year before their membership expires.
Can family members use my Global Entry benefits?
Each family member must have their own Global Entry membership to use the benefits. Children under 18 need to have parental or legal guardian consent to apply.
What are the main benefits of Global Entry?
The main benefits include expedited entry through U.S. customs and immigration, eligibility for TSA PreCheck, no need to fill out paper customs forms, and access to expedited entry programs in other countries.
Can I use Global Entry kiosks at any airport?
Global Entry kiosks are available at about 80 airports across the U.S. and select international locations. Not all airports have Global Entry kiosks.
What do I need to bring to my Global Entry interview?
Applicants must bring a valid passport and one other form of identification, such as a driver’s license or ID card. Lawful permanent residents should also bring their permanent resident card.