Okay, so you’ve been through the ringer when coming back into the country and you’ve had it. OR you are so over the long security lines at the airport. So over it, that you’ve just scheduled your Global Entry Interview! YAY you! Albeit, the appointment probably isn’t for a very long time (I waited 6 months for my interview) but I promise you the wait is worth it.
First things first: what is Global Entry? Straight from U.S. Customs and Border Protection: Global Entry “allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States.” I’m assuming the long wait for your interview is due to the rigorous background checks the CBP does on each individual.
Benefits? You skip the long lines when coming back into the country, no paperwork, you’ll receive access to expedited entry benefits in other countries, and you’ll be eligible for TSA Pre-Check (I’ll get to that later).
How much does Global Entry cost?
Global Entry costs $100, this $100 is non-refundable meaning if you are denied you do not get this money back. Once approved, your membership is good for 5 years!
Where do I apply?
First, you will need to create a GOES account AND then apply on the Global Online Enrollment system, both are done here.
What do I need for my interview?
After you’ve created an account and applied (assuming you will be conditionally approved) you’ll receive your date, time and location! All of which you chose upon applying. Next the documents. You will need your Passport to show citizenship of the United States and for admissibility, a permanent resident card (if applicable), and a document providing residency like your driver’s license to show proof of address.
What is the interview process like?
The process is so simple! You’ll arrive at your designated interview location, for me it was the Enrollment Center at Boston Logan International Airport.
Once your name is called they will take you back into the designated interview area. There are a handful of rooms with other interviewers and interviewees. You’ll be seated and the interview process will begin! The questions are really simple, they’ll first go over all of your information that you provided upon applying and then ask things like “have you ever been arrested or convicted of a crime?” or “have you ever had a problem with customs and immigration before?”- real easy stuff! They will take your fingerprints and a photograph for your Global Entry ID card. After all is said and done and your membership is approved, the membership number will become your Known Traveler Number for your TSA Pre-Check benefit.
The entire process is harmless and so worth it! You’ll receive your ID card about a week later. Also know, this is a government issued ID meaning you can use it as a form of primary identification.
Things to Know Once You Are Approved
Your TSA Officer will inform you of all of this. But it’s important to know that while your Global Entry membership is good for 5 years there are exceptions. One being if your name is going to change during the duration of those 5 years. You will need to update your information through your GOES account. Additionally, if your passport is going to expire soon you will first need to renew your passport and then update your Global Entry membership through your account with your new passport number- because this number changes when you receive a new passport. They recommend applying for a new passport 6 months prior to when it actually expires.
You don’t HAVE to travel with your Global Entry ID however, it is recommended.
Once you’re approved, you can start using your Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check benefits! All you need to do is update your travel accounts and any existing travel itineraries with your Known Traveler Number.
What is TSA Pre-Check?
You don’t have to apply for Global Entry if it’s just TSA Pre-Check you’re after! TSA Pre-Check allows you to skip the long lines at airport security. With this you don’t have to remove shoes, laptops (although this will probably change), 3-1-1 liquids, belts and light jackets. All of this for a 5 year, $85 membership! You can APPLY HERE.
There you have it! Like I said, super easy and harmless! The price, the wait for your interview and the process are well worth it. It will save you so much time on future travels! So, who’s applying for Global Entry!?