Global Entry is a program that allows pre-approved, low-risk travelers to expedite clearance upon arrival in the United States. Rather than waiting in traditional immigration lines, members enter the United States through automated kiosks at select airports and can use SENTRI and NEXUS lanes when traveling by land or sea. To apply for Global Entry, travelers must create a Trusted Traveler Program account and answer basic eligibility questions. Applicants are also required to provide fingerprints and undergo an interview with CBP. The information collected is deposited into the Global Entry System (GES) and can be shared with other government agencies. EPIC has argued that the GES system raises significant privacy concerns and does not comply with federal law.
Global Entry is available at most major airports that have US Customs and Border Protection facilities. The application fee is $100, though many credit cards offer a credit toward the application. Membership is valid for five years. Global Entry membership entitles travelers to TSA PreCheck, which is helpful when passing through security checks. It’s important to note that children need their own Global Entry membership, even if their parents have it.
Global Entry Interview Process
The interview process usually lasts about six minutes and is pretty straightforward. You’ll share some basic personal information and be asked why you chose certain destinations on your trips. Most applicants say the interview is quick and painless.
You can use this link to check availability of in-person interviews at a variety of airports and locations. As of this writing, there are dozens of available interviews at Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) later this month and in August, as well as a wide range of openings in Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) from late September through October. Some applicants may opt for a remote interview using a service like Nexus or Global Entry Self-Screening.
How to Renew Global Entry?
When your Global Entry membership is close to expiring, you can begin the renewal process by logging into your Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) account. Your account will include a “renew application” link that will initiate the application process. You will also need to submit payment for the $100 renewal fee; the application won’t advance without it. You can use most major credit cards to pay the fee, but details about acceptable methods of payment are stipulated in the application instructions.
If you’re unsure when your membership expires, you can check your member record on the TTP website or in your travel rewards credit card account. You can start the application process up to a year before your membership expires, and it’s best to do so early to make sure that CBP processes your renewal in time for you to continue enjoying the program’s benefits. A successful renewal will tack on five years to your existing membership date and also renews your TSA PreCheck status. You’ll receive a new Known Traveler Number as part of the renewal, which you should enter into your airline frequent flyer loyalty programs to have TSA PreCheck automatically applied to eligible flights.
How Long Does It Take to Get Global Entry Approval?
The application process is relatively quick and painless. After you fill out your online application, CBP will contact you to verify your identity and background, which usually takes less than an hour or so. Once your identity is verified, you will be scheduled for an in-person interview.
You will need to bring your passport, driver’s license, and a credit card. Also, be prepared to answer questions about your previous travels. For example, you will be asked what countries you have traveled to and how often. Having this information ready will make the interview go much quicker.
While some of the larger airports may have their Global Entry interviews booked up, there are still plenty of open spots at smaller locations. For example, there is solid availability at New York City (JFK) and the Miami airport (MIA). There’s even an open interview slot at Detroit (DTW) through early October.
Can Foreign Citizens Apply for Global Entry?
Global Entry is the program for you if you are a foreign citizen and travel to the US frequently. This trusted traveler program allows you to skip the long immigration lines at airports and enter the country much faster. To apply for the program, you must complete a thorough background check and interview with CBP. Once approved, your membership is valid for five years, and you can use it for multiple trips. You will also gain access to TSA PreCheck.