Although the Global Entry program was introduced last July, I had not really spent much time looking into it. However, after a 15 hour flight home from Hong Kong last week the last thing that excited me was waiting in the customs line for 30 minute. While in line, I took a Global Entry flyer and promised to apply this week! I knew it wasn’t too expensive, but was shocked to see that it was only a $100 application fee that would grant me access for 5 years! That quickly made my decision!
Global Entry is a program that pre-approves you for expedited clearance when going through US customs using an automated kiosk. At JFK there were about 3 or 4 kiosks available with no line. It literally took someone no more than 1 minute to go through customs. I was pretty jealous to say the least.
To apply for Global Entry involves some time commitment, and involves the following steps:
- Apply Online – Fill out an application and pay the $100 non-refundable application fee
- Schedule an Interview – Once your application is reviewed, you will receive a message in your GOES account instructing you to schedule an interview. You then must interview IN PERSON at one of the Global Entry Enrollment Centers. Unfortunately, there are only 21 of these centers and are all at major airports. If there is not one located in your local airport, look into scheduling a long layover at an airport that has one of these centers!
- Interview Determines Your Eligibility – A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer will ask you questions, take your photo, and collect biometric information, e.g., scan your fingerprints
- Provide Identification – Bring your valid passport(s) and one other form of identification, such as a driver’s license or ID card to the interview. If you are a lawful permanent resident, you must present your permanent resident card.
You can read more about the Global Entry requirements and go through the application process here. Also, since the application process seems to take some time, do not wait until the 11th hour prior to an international flight.
Also, if you have the American Express Platinum card, AMEX will reimburse the $100 application fee!