As we mentioned in our previous post “Trusted Traveler Programs – Are You Enrolled?”, Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States.

How Does the Global Entry Program Work?

Global Entry is intended for frequent international travelers but as of now, there is no minimum number of trips necessary to qualify.  When arriving at the airport, the following occurs:

  1. Participants proceed to Global Entry kiosks
  2. Present their machine-readable passport or U.S. permanent resident card
  3. Place fingertips on the scanner for fingerprint verification
  4. Make a customs declaration.
  5. Receive a transaction receipt from kiosk and proceed to baggage claim and the exit.

While the whole point of being part of the Global Entry program is to expedite the arrival process, you may still be selected for further examination when entering the United States.  Any violation of the program’s terms and conditions will result in appropriate enforcement action and revocation of the traveler’s membership privileges.

How to Apply: 

  1. Fill out an online questionnaire.  (Takes about 15 minutes and includes consent to a background check. There are questions about addresses, employment and travel — past and present.)
  2. After hitting the submit button, the officials on the other end do a criminal background check.
  3. If  approved, an in-person meeting with an agent follows.
  4. Interviews are held at a participating airport or enrollment centers in select cities.
  5. If approved, fingerprints and photographs are taken.

Additional benefits include access to expedited entry in other countries.

COST:  $100

BONUS:  If you are accepted for Global Entry you are also automatically qualified for the newer domestic screening program, T.S.A. PreCheck, which often (but not always) means you don’t have to remove your shoes, belt and jacket or take your laptop and liquids out of your carry-on. Plus it’s free.

Stay tuned for our next post in this series which covers NEXUS.