What is Global Entry and how do I apply?

This five-year membership gets you through US customs faster.

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You’ve arrived in a US airport after a long international trip. You’re home, but the slog continues: You still have to go through customs.

It gets easier with Global Entry. This five-year membership lets you speed through customs the next time you touch down in the US.

What is Global Entry?

Global Entry is a program issued by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). It helps you get through customs faster when you arrive in the US from an international destination. It also gives you access to TSA PreCheck, which lets you move through airport security faster when you fly from a US airport.

What are the benefits of Global Entry?

Expedited customs process.

When you arrive in the US from an international destination, use a Global Entry kiosk to complete the customs process.

Just scan your fingerprints, as well as your passport or US permanent resident card. Then declare what you’ve brought into the country. After receiving a receipt, proceed to baggage claim.

You’ll find Global Entry kiosks in select airports.

You get TSA PreCheck too.

Upon approval for Global Entry, you’ll receive your Known Traveler Number (KTN). Enter this number while you book flights, and you can go through the TSA PreCheck lane in select airports.

Your membership lasts five years.

With a $100 application fee, you could receive Global Entry benefits for quite a while.

How much does Global Entry cost?

A Global Entry application costs $100. That fee is non-refundable regardless whether you’re approved or not.

Before applying, consider getting a credit card with Global Entry fee credit. Just use your card for your application fee, and you’ll be reimbursed with a statement credit.

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Our pick for Global Entry

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  • $100 annual airline credit toward qualifying airline purchases
  • $100 Global Entry application fee credit
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Compare credit cards with Global Entry fee credit

Global Entry statement credit is reserved for more than premium travel cards. You can find the benefit with some cards priced around $95 a year.

With the PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express® Card, you’ll get Global Entry and excellent rewards for no annual fee.

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
N/A
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare and 1.5% for cash back
$495
Receive an annual $100 air travel credit toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more.
60,000 points after spending $5,000 in your first 3 months
5x points on directly-booked flights or on flights and hotels on Amex Travel. 1x points on all other purchases
$550
Get 5x Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5x points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com. Rates & fees
50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
2x miles on all purchases and 10x miles at hotels.com/venture
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
40,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
2x miles at restaurants, hotels and United and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
3x points on dining and travel after earning your $300 travel credit and 1x points on all other purchases
$450
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months

Compare up to 4 providers

Who is eligible for Global Entry?

You can apply for Global Entry if you’re a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident of the US.

You can also apply if you’re a Mexican national or a citizen of one of these countries:

  • Argentina
  • Colombia
  • Germany
  • India
  • Panama
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • United Kingdom

If you’re a Canadian citizen or resident, apply for the NEXUS program. It gives you expedited passage through customs when you enter the United States or Canada.

What if I’m under 18?

Those under 18 can apply with consent from a parent or legal guardian, though they do not need Global Entry membership themselves.

When you have your Global Entry interview, your parent or legal guardian must be present.

You’re not eligible if you…

  • Give false or incomplete details on your Global Entry application.
  • Have a conviction for a criminal offense, pending charges or outstanding warrants.
  • Can’t be admitted to the US due to immigration regulations.
  • Can’t be certified as low-risk by the CBP.
  • Have violated customs, agriculture or immigration laws in any country.
  • Are being investigated by a law enforcement agency.
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How do I apply for Global Entry?

It’s best to apply for Global Entry well in advance of your travel date. It can be tough to nab an interview slot, and approval can take a while.

Follow these steps to get your Global Entry membership:

  1. Go to the CBP website.
    It’s nested within the Department of Homeland Security website.
  2. Click “Get Started” to apply for the Trusted Traveler Program (TTP).
    The CBP requires everyone to have a TTP account, regardless of their age.

USCBP website

  1. Once you have a TTP account, log in and apply for Global Entry.
    Provide information such as your contact details, employment history, prior addresses, passport number and foreign countries you’ve visited. Pay a $100 fee with your application.
  2. Wait for conditional approval.
    According to the CBP, the average processing time is three to five weeks. However, some travelers have received conditional approval within days, and others say they’ve had to wait longer than five weeks to hear back. Your mileage may vary.
  3. Schedule an in-person interview within 30 days of receiving conditional approval.
    Find a Global Entry Enrollment Center and schedule an in-person interview. Bring required documents. After your interview, you’ll typically receive approval on the spot. You’ll receive a Known Traveler Number (KTN), which you can enter while booking flights. This gives you access to the TSA PreCheck security lane at eligible US airports.
  4. Wait for your Global Entry card in the mail.
    It usually takes seven to 10 days to receive this card. When you do, activate it within 30 days in your Trusted Traveler Program account.

What to expect in your Global Entry interview

Here’s what to bring to your Global Entry interview:

  • Your conditional Global Entry approval letter.
  • A valid passport.
  • Proof of residency, such as a mortgage statement or utility bill. You can also bring your government-issued driver’s license if you currently live at the listed address.
  • If applicable: Bring your permanent resident card. Bring your court disposition papers if you’ve had a prior arrest or conviction.

What happens in a Global Entry interview?

Interviews are usually 10 to 15 minutes. You’ll give details about yourself: your travel habits, your employment information, why you want a Global Entry membership and more.

You’ll also have your fingerprints and photo taken.

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Global Entry interview locations

On the CBP website, look for a nearby Global Entry Enrollment Center.
USCBP website

How to use Global Entry

  1. When you arrive in a US airport, look for signs directing you to Global Entry kiosks.

Global Entry booth

  1. Scan your passport or US legal permanent resident card.
  2. Declare goods that you’ve brought into the country.
  3. The screen will show your flight information. Confirm the details.
  4. The kiosk will dispense a receipt. Take this receipt to the exit control point and hand it to the CBP officer on duty.
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Bottom line

With an application fee and in-person interview, you could receive a five-year membership that saves you time at customs.

Looking for a product that helps you travel in style? Compare travel credit cards, from premium products to no-annual-fee options.

Frequently asked questions

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