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What is Global Entry and how do I apply?
This five-year membership gets you through US customs faster.
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's in this guide?
- What is Global Entry?
- What are the benefits of Global Entry?
- How much does Global Entry cost?
- Compare credit cards with Global Entry fee credit
- Who is eligible for Global Entry?
- How do I apply for Global Entry?
- What to expect in your Global Entry interview
- Global Entry interview locations
- How to use Global Entry
- How to renew your Global Entry membership
- Bottom line
- Frequently asked questions
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. Unfortunately, you’ll need to be a CLEAR member for faster travel documentation processing.
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 time will Global Entry save me?
As a Global Entry member, you can land from an international flight and be through the customs kiosks within minutes. The same goes for TSA PreCheck, which comes with Global Entry. According to the TSA, 93% of travelers with TSA PreCheck waited less than five minutes to go through security lanes.
How much time you’ll save depends on which airports you fly from and into, as well as which times you typically fly. You can use the CPB’s Airport Wait Times tool to see how long it typically takes for passengers to move through passport control.
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.Back to top
Our pick for Global Entry
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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.
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:
- South Korea
- 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, who does not need Global Entry membership themselves.
When you have your Global Entry interview, your parent or legal guardian must be present.
Who is not eligible?
- 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.
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:
- Go to the CBP website.
It’s nested within the Department of Homeland Security website.
- Click “Get Started” to apply for the Trusted Traveler Program (TTP).
The CBP requires everyone to have a TTP account, regardless of their age.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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.
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.
Be patient with the application process
With the popularity of the Global Entry program, wait times are often reported to be getting longer. It’s not unusual to see travelers receiving conditional approval several months after applying.
Another issue you may have to contend with is availability of interview slots. You may need to wait up to several months to get face time at the most convenient location — especially if you plan on interviewing at a busy airport.
Bottom line: It’s technically possible for your application to be completed within a few weeks. But as a practical matter, allow for several months for the entire process, and apply well in advance of travel.
Here are a few tips to speed up the application process
- Hop in when people cancel their appointments. Keep an eye on the appointment scheduling page, as cancellations happen all the time. You may be able to snag a slot well before you’re scheduled one.
- Call a nearby enrollment center and ask if they accept walk-ins. The staff there may give you suggestions on how to increase your chances of a successful walk-in.
- Consider Enrollment on Arrival. If you’re conditionally approved, you can complete your Global Entry interview once you arrive at certain airports. Visit the CPB’s Enrollment on Arrival page for more information, including participating airports.
Global Entry interview locations
On the CBP website, look for a nearby Global Entry Enrollment Center.
Enrollment centers are mostly at major airports, and most states have at least one location. Your state may also include non-airport enrollment centers. Remember that through the Enrollment on Arrival program, you can have your interview when you land at select airports.
How to use Global Entry
- When you arrive in a US airport, look for signs directing you to Global Entry kiosks.
- Scan your passport or US legal permanent resident card.
- Declare goods that you’ve brought into the country.
- The screen will show your flight information. Confirm the details.
- 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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How to renew your Global Entry membership
You can start the renewal process one year before your membership’s expiration. Here are the steps to do it:
- Log in to your Trusted Traveler Programs account on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) website.
- Navigate to the Manage membership page. Select the option to renew.
- If necessary, update your information and pay an application fee.
The next step is one you might know well by now: sit tight. You can check your account for updates on your renewal, and the DHS will let you know if you must come in for another security interview.
What to do if you get a new passport
Update your passport details in your Trusted Traveler Programs account. Simply log in and navigate to the Update Documents page.
If your name has changed on your new passport, you’ll need to update your details in person at a Global Entry enrollment center.
With an application fee and in-person interview, you could receive a five-year membership that saves you time at customs.
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