Today I went for my Global Entry, final interview. What is Global Entry? Global Entry is a service provided by the US government which flags you as a “trustworthy” traveler. Meaning that when you enter the US from another country you can bypass the long customs line. Which is pretty cool.
There are a lot of questions surrounding Global Entry, a lot of misconceptions. Global Entry does give you the privileges of a TSA Pre√. However there are quite a few airlines that do not participate in the program so therefore you may have to wait on the TSA line. The Global Entry card does not take the place of your driver’s license, ID Card or Passport so make sure you have one of these items when flying.
Now some of the misconceptions… If I get this card I can cut lines, not have to remove my laptop, liquids, belt or shoes, wahoo! Most of the time this is true, but there will be times when this is not. Don’t be offended if your customs official asks you to remove your shoes or liquids, etc., they are within their rights to do so, whether or not you have TSA Pre√ or Global Entry.
So why get it? Because for all of the potential headaches you might have to encounter, the card has the potential to decreased those potential headaches. You do have all the benefits of the TSA Pre√, as well as minimal customs’ lines on your return into the US. If you are traveling abroad even once a year for the next five years, it pays for itself. The cost of the card is $100 and it’s good for 5 years. The TSA Pre√ is valid for the same amount of time and is slightly less expensive at $85. So why not pay the extra $15 and minimize customs line waits as well.
The process is fairly straight forward. You apply for the program at the Global Online Enrollment System or GOES. Fill out the questionnaire and submit your application with your $100. You will know within a week or two if you are invited to come in for an interview.
Interview times are scarce and you may have to wait several months before you can get one. I applied for my card in September and I couldn’t get an interview until the end of January. However, if you are approved for your interview and are traveling before an interview slot is available you can just show up to the Global Entry office and wait until the official has time to process you. You could be waiting for 15 minutes to 2 hours, so be prepared. Once you sit down with the official it will take about 15-20 minutes to go through the process, take your finger prints, photo and get approved.
In my opinion it’s a great addition for any traveler and a bit of a time saver. I’ve included a link below to the Custom’s website for further information as well as a list of participating airlines. Until next time!
Global Entry Card Information: https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry/card
Current airlines that participate in TSA Pre√:
- Air Canada
- Alaska Airlines
- Allegiant Air
- Cape Air
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Seaborne Airlines
- Sun Country
- Virgin America