Global Entry

Global EntryWith all the traveling I have planned over the next few weeks, months and  years, I needed to find a way to get through airports quicker–both coming and going.

Security lines which at times can get very long was my first concern.  The TSA Pre-Check expedited screening program would help with that. If approved, I would go through a special line where I could keep my shoes, belt and coat on and leave my laptop and 3-1-1 bag in my carry-on. I’d still have to walk through a metal detector and my bag would still be screened, but not having to undress and unpack everything was a real positive.

Another program I looked into was Global Entry which is part of the Department of Homeland Security’s Trusted Traveler Program. With Global Entry, I could bypass the long immigration and customs line, go to a kiosk, slide in my passport, let the machine read my fingerprints, answer a few questions, get a printout of my responses and then hand it to an officer at the exit. Very simple and very quick. Since Global Entry also includes TSA Pre Check privileges and is only $20 more than Pre-Check, this seemed the way to go. Both programs are valid for five years before having to renew.

I’m not going to going into each step but to get final approval, applicants have to go to a Global Entry Enrollment Center for the final interview. This interview will determine whether you get the program or not. This interview will include taking your photograph and a full set of fingerprints. It only last about 15 minutes.

The closest enrollment center to me had a three month waiting list for an appointment. The center at Dulles Airport outside Washington, D.C., the next closest center, had appointments the next day. So, earlier this week, I headed to Dulles for my interview.

It all seemed to go well. The folks working at the office were highly proficient and on time. I was called at my appointment time of 11:15 and was out by 11:30. While they can’t tell you then and there, the officer interviewing me said it all looked good and I would hear within 24-48 hours whether I got it.

Five hours later I got the message I was approved. I’m not kidding, it was five hours later.

If saving time at the airport is important to you, it may be worthwhile applying for any of these programs. The application is long and will take about 30-45 minutes to complete. There was nothing on it that I felt the government didn’t already have on file. Most questions were about your work and criminal history. Nothing political, religous or anything else that might be seen as intrusive.

Honestly, I should have done it a lot sooner.

Global Entry is not just for U.S. citizens and legal residents. Citizens of the Netherlands, South Korea and Mexico may also apply. Canadians can apply for the NEXUS program which includes Global Entry benefits





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12 Responses to Global Entry

  1. EASY TRAVELER says:

    We try to get our airline tickets printed out at home or the Hotel and IF we aren’t checking a bag just going straight to the TSA check point with tickets and passport out. Doesn’t always work and through European airports you’re going through their security [some] like it or not. At small airports like ours the lines at TSA are never long. Some of the other smaller airports [Orlando/Sanford and Clearwater, Fl.] it’s also no problem if you show up a little early.
    Coming back from Europe through MSP POE they make you recheck your checked luggage so they can pick through it if they feel like it. Some of those guys are real jerks too. Look for a tired old Agent. They are nicer!

    I pack for inspection. I put my toiletries in a small mesh bag [5 X 7] and my gadgets/accessories/chargers in another. That way they are easy to pull out for a look and easy to put back. I take my belt off at home and thread my pouches and other items on it and carry it separate to be ready for inspection. This really speeds things up!

    I carry Kirks Castile bar soap. That will really get you looked at! They think it’s explosives or something. Have stuff like that on top in your pack.

    My 311 baggie, in as much as it has ANYTHING liquid/gel/forbidden, is also on top for easy extraction and replacement.

    The genius of just one bag is the thinking and planning it makes you do to streamline a trip.

  2. EASY TRAVELER says:

    I really study and research light weight travel. When we go someplace I take a note pad [a few sheets of printer paper] and list items that I did NOT use or that could have been acquired locally.

    This last trip I realized that an ensemble of a white shirt and black pants will “work” just about anywhere! You won’t stick out like a sore thumb with all that goofy “travel clothing” on either. That just screams: ” I AM A DUFFUS TOURIST! ABUSE ME!”
    I love Check ’em out!

    So I wear one set of the above and pack one set. Identical ensembles. No surprises. No complications. No problems. ALL of it hand washable and quick dry BTW!

    When in Europe look for Rei-in-der-tube. You can wash clothes with it. Concentrated and light weight.. A little goes a long way too. Any “Tobacco” shop will most likely have it. They’ll have SIMs for your GSM phone too! Might even put them in for you!

    Fourteen to fifteen pounds and that’s ALL! I hope this helps somebody. I learned it the hard way…


  3. funkycamper says:

    I carry a large zip lock bag and put wallet, watch, phone, belt, coins, or anything else that might look suspicious or set off the machines prior to getting in TSA line so I just need to put it in the bin next to 311 bag and shoes. Makes it fuss free. If I traveled more, I’d try for global entry, too. Congrats on that.

  4. Anne says:

    I’ve had Global Entry for about a year. I LOVE the TSA Pre-check. It’s not available at all airports but it’s great when they have it and it has been expanding. So nice to get on a shorter line and not to have to undress, although I’ve noticed that the program has been expanding and the special line getting longer. Using the Global Entry kiosk when returning from overseas to LAX (my home airport) has been somewhat disappointing. I usually travel business class at my company’s expense and so get off the plane among the first passengers. Often it takes less time for me returning to LAX to go through the regular immigration line than to use the Global Entry kiosk because some of the kiosks are usually out of service and most of the business class passengers getting off the flight with me also have Global Entry so they all head directly to the kiosks where a line forms. But, it also gives me a shorter special line for Customs and I usually save some time there. Overall, I’m glad I got Global Entry, and although the application itself was tedious the interview was not a big deal and they told me at the interview that I had been accepted.

  5. BethC says:

    I just got the Global Entry card. I’m hoping that the TSA-Pre benefit works for me, since I’m not sure the terminal at the airport I use has that many TSA-Pre lines. At least, not waiting in that long immigration line after an overnight flight should make the benefit worthwhile.

    The interview was amazingly easy. I think, if a person doesn’t have a criminal record or any immigration violations, it is pretty matter-of-fact. I had been worried that my travel history would be a problem. It includes Africa and the Middle East. However, this didn’t come up at all.

  6. EASY TRAVELER says:

    I like that idea funkycamper! That’s why I am here. I get and give as many ideas as I can. I love to travel but I hate the manual labor of luggage.

    I use Hefty brand JUMBO zip close bags. They hold outer wear and can be compressed to save space. They actually work! Saves money for train fare too.

    As for Global Entry, what is it $80 to sign up? As more people use it the lines will get longer. Oh well…

    With a little preparation, what we have now [TSA] goes a little faster. If everybody did it…

    BTW If anyone is offended by my presence here just say so and I’ll fade.

  7. EASY TRAVELER says:

    I looked it up. $100 to sign up for Global Entry. A little estimate math: 139 Euros will buy about 23 local train tickets in Italy! It’s your choice of course. Save a little time here and there or ride Italian trains like a demon!

  8. Frank@OBOW says:

    Easy Traveler…..while you are entitled to your opinion, and you do have those, the point I was trying to make to you was to stay on topic. You seem to want to write whatever is on your mind wherever you feel like it. That’s not fair to other readers who are interested in reading about specific topic.

    Take this thread….the first three postings were from you and not one was about Global Entry. If you have things to share use the forums. That’s why they are there–so anyone can share information regarding one bag travel.

    All I ask is you stick to the topic of the thread and not just post your opinions wherever you feel like it.

    By the way, putting down other people’s way of traveling is not conducive to the way we do things. Just because someone travels differently than you do doesn’t make it wrong. It’s just different. .

  9. KFish says:

    I got Global Entry a few months ago and will be putting it to the test in a month or so in a trip to the UK. I have been able to use Pre-Check a couple of times though, which has definitely made it worth it. The hardest part of getting GE was the interview – I got a few extra questions about my finances since I am a graduate student – I think they wanted to make sure I couldn’t be bribed to smuggle goods – that and simply finding a timeslot for an interview.

    The other tidbit I got was that if you have GE you can use the Nexus (Canada) and SENTRI (Mexico) lanes at land crossings.

  10. chanuck says:

    I’ve had NEXUS for four years and love it! If you have been assigned your “Trusted Traveler” number already, be sure to log into your frequent flyer accounts for the various airlines and add it to your profile as the “Known Traveler” ID. That way you don’t have to remember to add it every time you book a flight.

  11. EASY TRAVELER says:

    Frank B. vous avais raison. I can’t delete my stuff so would you? It is pretty stupid. …
    Thanks and happy traveling.

  12. maverick says:

    We recently signed up the whole family for Global Entry, and it is just fantastic!

    It has saved us timing going through security as well as immigration lines!

    I travel internationally four or five times a year, and my wife and son once or twice a year. Even if it was once every other year, we would be happy to pay the fee in order to avoid having to stand in a long immigration line after being on an airplane for nearly 24 hours!

    Sign up, scheduling the interview, and the interview process could not have been easier. We went to the office in Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC – right off the metro – it doesn’t get any easier than that. In and out of the office in less than 15 minutes. My son and wife’s appointments were for a Saturday morning and Saturday afternoon, but they took care of both of them when we went Saturday morning. Global Entry cards followed in the mail within a week of the appointment.

    On a recent trip, my wife and son flew Air Canada, so they didn’t get to take advantage of TSA-Pre, but I was on a United flight and was happy to use the TSA-Pre line at IAD. Coming back from YYZ, which always has really long lines for US Immigration, it was a joy to bypass the lines. I did get pulled into secondary customs screening, but I was in and out quickly. The Global Entry card also allows you to go through a shorter security line at YYZ.

    Coming back to the US via AUH last month, I didn’t have to use my Global Entry card since there was no line. As of earlier this year, you clear US Immigrations and Customs in AUH when flying to the US – arriving as a domestic passenger at your US arrival airport. I was caught a little unprepared, though. I usually keep some fruit with me when I travel, specially for long haul flights. I would either eat it en route or throw it away before arrival into the US. But I was caught by surprise by the US immigration clearance process in AUH. It was only after telling the immigration officer that the only food I had were chocolates that I was bringing back that I remembered the apple in my bag. I told her, and she said it wasn’t a problem and sent me to the secondary customs screening. I told the customs officer that I got sent here because I remembered that I had an apple with me, and asked if I could eat it while I waited, and he chuckled and said yes. So after I finished my apple, he called me up and I told him that I didn’t have anything else that I shouldn’t have except for the apple that I just ate, he sent me on my way.

    I digressed, but Global Entry is absolutely worth the time savings to me!