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5 minute read

Skip Long Airport Lines with Global Entry

April 05, 2024

The benefits of international travel are almost too numerous to mention – exploring faraway places, meeting new people, discovering fascinating cultures ... the list goes on.  One of the few possible downsides to these adventures, though, is the inevitable wait at Customs and Border Protection (CBP) when arriving back home.  But with a program called Global Entry, you could breeze past lines and be on your way home in no time.  Learn about this program with our primer below.


What is Global Entry?

It’s a program from U.S. Customs and Border Patrol that allows “Trusted Travelers” to receive expedited clearance upon return to the United States.  Global Entry membership is good for five years before needing renewal.


How do I apply?

Visit the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Trusted Traveler Programs dashboard, Find “Global Entry” in the list of available Trusted Traveler Programs, click the “Get Started” button under Global Entry, review and consent to the security notification, and create an account to complete the application.  Please note: It currently costs $100 to apply, but the application fee is schedule to increase to $120 on October 1.

The CBP will then review your application and, if you’re approved, will instruct you to schedule an interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center.  Each individual must schedule a separate interview and must bring their passport and one other form of ID (driver’s license, ID card, etc.).  This interview takes only a few minutes, during which you will be digitally fingerprinted and given quick instructions on how to use the kiosks.  After your interview, you’ll be fully approved and ready to use the Global Entry program.


How does it work?

After you get approved, you can skip the lines for Customs when returning to the United States and proceed to a Global Entry automated kiosk.  There, you’ll scan your passport (or permanent residency card) and place your fingerprints on the kiosk’s screen to confirm your identification.  After a quick Customs Declaration completed at the kiosk, you’ll receive a receipt and be directed to baggage claim, and the exit.


What are some benefits of the program?

In addition to skipping the Customs line at your U.S. arrival airport, you’ll also receive TSA PreCheck® benefits as part of your Global Entry membership (an $85 value).  This allows you to pass through airport security lines without removing your shoes, belt, or laptop.  You’ll also be able to use programs similar to Global Entry in other countries, like Australia’s SmartGate (eGate in New Zealand), Germany’s EasyPASS, and Mexico’s Viajero Confiable.

Please note: Global Entry membership does not necessarily automatically grant you membership in similar automated border control programs in other countries. Before traveling, we recommend you review the rules and regulations concerning automated border control programs and processes in your destination(s) and plan accordingly before you depart the United States.


When should I do this?

As soon as you can! It doesn’t pay to wait until the last minute, as appointment slots tend to fill up and it could take a few weeks (and often, a month or more) to find an open appointment at your nearest Enrollment Center.

Once you’re successfully enrolled in the program, you’ll receive a Global Entry card containing your unique ID number.  This works the same way as the Known Traveler Number from TSA PreCheck, and entering it in the “Known Traveler Number” field during airline booking guarantees your TSA PreCheck status.


We hope this information helps improve your airport experience, allowing you to fully appreciate the wonders that the world of travel has to offer.

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