Do you travel frequently? If you’re a global guru and traveling multiple times each year, applying for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck may be the best solution to quickly and easily move through the lines at airport. If you want to glide through airport security, here’s what you need to know to apply for and receive your Global Entry card.
What is Global Entry?
Global Entry is a government issued membership that allows travelers to expedite entrance into foreign countries and the United States by using Global Entry kiosks throughout most major U.S. airports. TSA PreCheck is included with this five year membership. Global Entry eliminates the need for processing lines and paperwork while reducing wait times. In order to obtain Global Entry, you must pre-enroll online, fill out an application and pay a fee of $100. A passport or lawful permanent resident card is required. You must be a citizen and meet the eligibility requirements, fill out a complete application and have an interview at an enrollment center to be approved. You will have to provide fingerprints, and verify your identity as well.
Eligibility for Global Entry
Not everyone is able to obtain Global Entry, as the government upholds strict standards for security reasons. Before you apply for Global Entry, make sure you are eligible under the rules set forth by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
The following circumstances could make you ineligible:
- Providing false or incomplete information during the application process
- Prior conviction of criminal offense, current pending criminal charges or warrants (including DUIs)
- Prior or current violations related to customs, agriculture regulations, immigration or other laws in any country
- Prior or current involvement in (or a subject of) federal, state, or local investigations
- Current inadmissibility to the U.S. due to parole documentation or immigration regulation
- “Cannot satisfy CBP of your low-risk status”
It’s imperative that you disclose any past brushes with the law if you’re applying for membership, even if they seem petty or happened years ago. If you don’t this could delay the process or you may be denied. For instance, one 65-year-old man was denied when he didn’t disclose a former petty theft charge from a college prank that happened in 1970. Later, however, the man was finally approved for Global Entry after submitting an appeal. Only about one percent of monthly submissions are denied.
How to Apply
The steps to apply for Global entry are fairly easy, but to save yourself time, have the following documents before you sit down to fill out the application:
- Birth Certificate (Or know city of birth)
- Past five years of work history
- Credit card for $100 non-refundable fee
Once you have these documents in hand, go to www.globalentry.gov. Then, you will need to create a Trusted Traveler account at https://ttp.cbp.dhs.gov/. On this site you will also see that you can compare other programs such as simply getting TSA PreCheck.
Once you decide which program is the right fit for your specific traveling needs, you will then have to pay the non-refundable fee.
Note! A number of travel credit cards cover the application fee for Global Entry. These cards include:
- Platinum Card from American Express
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Citi Prestige
- Citi/ AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
- U.S. Bank FlexPerks Gold American Express Card
- Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card
Double check if you already have a travel rewards credit card and make certain before you pay this fee! Once you have paid, fill out each section of the 16 part application and hit the button to submit it.
When you have completed all steps of the application, it will be submitted for conditional approval. In about two weeks after that, you will receive an update by e-mail notifying you of changes to the status of your application. Once you receive that e-mail, you will have to schedule an interview at the enrollment center closest to you. This can be done online, and you will get a confirmation.
How long does it take?
The entire process for Global Entry can take between two to six months, so plan ahead if you have upcoming trips. Personally, my own experience obtaining membership only took about three months. I applied for Global Entry on May 18, was pre-approved on May 30, and scheduled my interview at the enrollment center for the earliest date of August 22. I was able to schedule both my own and my husband’s interviews for the same day.
The interview process at the enrollment center takes about 10-20 minutes and is a simple task. All you have to do is sit down with an officer who will review your application and ask you a few questions. Your fingerprints and photo will be taken and then you will be provided with your Known Traveler Number (KTN)! You will receive your photo ID in the mail about a week later with your PASS ID number on it, which is the same as your nine digit KTN. This card is important to have on you when you book flights and travel. I suggest bringing with you anytime you fly.