Confession… as much as I live and breathe all things travel, there are two things I absolutely hate about the process – disrobing my way through security and clearing customs at the end of my vacation. I’m sure most of you can relate. Thankfully, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection has implemented two of the best programs for us frequent fliers – Global Entry & TSA PreCheck!
Global Entry allows low-risk travelers to receive expedited clearance upon arrival into the United States via automatic kiosks in select airports. What this means for you is, you can skip those dreadful lines, which in most cases, are inevitable. The process is quite simple:
- Create a Global Online Enrollment System (GOES) account.
- Complete the application and pay your non-refundable $100 USD fee. If you have the American Express Platinum card, you can have this fee waived.
- Submit your application for review. Once approved, your GOES account will instruct you to schedule an interview at one of many enrollment centers within your region.
- Attend your interview with your required documents: print-out of your conditional approval letter, valid passport, and evidence of residency.
I selected the earliest appointment on a Saturday morning (7AM) at JFK airport, arriving 30 minutes early to secure my position in queue. At 7AM sharp, I was escorted into a small room where I was required to watch the informational video on Global Entry. Next, during a 10-15 minute interview, I was questioned about my application and needed to further elaborate on some of the countries I’ve visited within the past year. Once my interview was over, fingerprinting was the final step.
After a brief wait, I was approved for Global Entry, received my Known Traveler Number (KTN), and was informed that my Global Entry card would arrive in 7-10 business days. Please note that you do not need the card to begin using your Global Entry!
Check your eligibility here.
Global Entry members are also eligible for TSA PreCheck (you can apply for this separately as well). TSA PreCheck expedites passengers’ screening through TSA security checkpoints in select airports for those traveling on U.S. based airlines (i.e. American Airlines, Delta, United, etc.). If you are a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck member, enter your pass ID in the “Known Traveler Number” field when booking your airline reservations. Don’t end up like your fellow travelers below!
If you are a U.S. citizen thinking about Global Entry and TSA PreCheck, don’t put this off any longer!