What is Global Entry?
Global Entry (GE) is one of two popular “Trusted Traveler Programs” run by the U.S. government, and it’s the best way to clear immigration quickly after your international flight back to enter the United States. And when we say quickly, we mean quickly.
Global Entry gets you access to a dedicated line …and the entire process takes few minutes!
The other Trusted Traveler Program is TSA PreCheck, which you can use to skip long lines at airport security before getting on your flight whether you are traveling domestically or internationally.
However, part of the reason why Global Entry is so popular – and powerful – is that it also comes with TSA PreCheck. That means you can skip long lines at security on your way into the airport and as you come back into the country through immigration.
So if you travel internationally just once, that makes Global Entry the easy choice over PreCheck.
Both programs have a five-year membership once you’re enrolled. Global Entry costs $100, while PreCheck costs $85. And as you’ll see below, more and more credit cards offer credits to cover the enrollment cost.
How to Get Global Entry
Global Entry itself costs $100 for a five-year membership. However, plenty of credit cards include a credit Global Entry or TSA PreCheck enrollment as a perk. It seems like a new card adds this feature every year.
The Global Entry Application
Signing up for Global Entry involves a two-step process:
- Completing an online application. A step-by-step overview of the application process can be found on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website.
- Upon conditional approval of your application, successfully completing a background check, plus an in-person interview at an Enrollment Center or upon arrival to the U.S. at an Enrollment on Arrival (EoA) location. Note that you need to bring a valid passport with you to complete your enrollment.
What are the benefits of Global Entry membership?
There are several benefits of Global Entry, with the largest one being saving time at airport security screenings. No one enjoys standing in long TSA lines, and having Global Entry can help you avoid that.
In addition, here are a few more benefits of having Global Entry membership:
- It includes TSA Precheck™ membership.
- You don’t need to remove several items from your carry-on bag, including shoes, laptops, liquids, belts and light jackets when going through airport security.
- No paperwork needed upon arrival.
- No processing lines.
- Ability to clear customs before arriving in the United States (where applicable).
How to use Global Entry
Using Global Entry is a very seamless process. Once you have gone through the application and approval process, all you will need is your Known Traveler Number. This is commonly referred to as “KTN”.
To make your Global Entry experience, it is best practice to add your KTN to all of your frequent flyer programs. Once you do this, your ticket will prepopulate with your TSA Precheck™/Global Entry membership, and you can breeze through airport security. If you don’t do this, you will need to manually add your KTN to each flight you purchase, or manually add it at the airport with an airline representative.
After this, your membership is ready to go. Your boarding passes will say TSA Precheck™/Global Entry on it. When you approach security, show the attendant your boarding pass, and you will be on your way.