Global Entry for kids: What you need to know
Global Entry is a popular Trusted Traveler Program (TTP), particularly for international travelers. That's because membership offers the opportunity to pass through U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) faster than usual. The main benefits? You can skip immigration paperwork and access a dedicated U.S. Customs kiosk instead of waiting in line to be screened.
In this article, we'll review several topics around Global Entry for children:
- Do children need their own Global Entry accounts?
- Is Global Entry free for kids?
- Does each child need their own Global Entry interview?
- Applying for Global Entry for a family
- Why you should consider enrolling your whole family in Global Entry
- Tips for a child's Global Entry interview
Do children need their own Global Entry accounts?
Yes, individuals of all ages need Global Entry membership to use its benefits at U.S. Customs screenings. For applicants under 18, a parent or legal guardian must provide consent for the child to participate in Global Entry. The consenting parent or guardian does not need a Global Entry membership of their own.
In addition, an in-person interview is a required step for every Global Entry applicant. For children, a consenting parent or guardian will have to be present at their child's interview.
Is Global Entry free for kids?
Global Entry membership for children is not free. Even infants cannot become Global Entry members for free. As of May 2023, the fee to apply for Global Entry membership is $100, and it is nonrefundable.
Some travel credit cards may offer a statement credit as reimbursement for a Global Entry membership fee. Cards with this benefit tend to have annual fees. If you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve® credit card, for instance, you can receive a statement credit up to $100 every four years for a TTP like Global Entry. This card offers additional travel benefits and rewards, as well.
Does each child need their own Global Entry interview?
Yes, an interview is required for each child applying for Global Entry. In fact, the required steps to secure a membership do not vary based on an applicant's age. For a child's application, a parent or legal guardian must provide consent for the child's participation in the program and attend their interview.
Applying for Global Entry for a family
The steps to apply for Global Entry are the same for every eligible applicant:
- Create an account at the Department of Homeland Security's TTP site.
- Pay the nonrefundable application fee.
- Schedule an interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center.
Each family member will need their own interview appointment time. When scheduling, you may see an option with instructions to schedule multiple appointments in a similar time frame.
Why you should consider enrolling your whole family in Global Entry
U.S. Customs screenings are required for all individuals who enter the country. The process can take longer depending on how many people are traveling together. With Global Entry, members usually experience shorter wait times and processing lines. These entry benefits are available at major U.S. airports and several other countries.
Imagine entering the U.S. when you and the little ones are nearing the end of your journey. You could get on your way faster by:
- Skipping U.S. Customs paperwork
- Avoiding unpredictable processing lines
- Accessing dedicated U.S. Customs kiosks
Global Entry membership also includes TSA PreCheck®, which provides access to designated lanes at airport security. With this benefit, your shoes, belts and certain clothing don't need removing, and items like laptops can remain in your carry-on bag.
Imagine taking little kids and babies through airport security. TSA PreCheck can mean less fumbling with clothes, carry-ons, and a smoother screening overall.
Given the benefits, especially the chance at using shorter processing lines, Global Entry can be a great program for a family to have.
Tips for a child's Global Entry interview
The Global Entry interview is for a CBP officer to confirm an applicant's information and identity. The interview process will be about the same for a child as it is for an adult.
Here's some information that may help parents or legal guardians prepare for their child's Global Entry interview:
- Only one parent or legal guardian needs to attend their child's Global Entry interview. You do not need your own Global Entry membership for your child to participate in the program.
- If you're attending your child's interview, bring the required documents. Those include your passport, the child's passport, plus proof of address and secondary forms of ID. If you were instructed to bring additional documents, such as a change of address, bring those, as well.
- You and your child may both be asked questions at the interview. After that, photos and fingerprints are taken.
Global Entry can expedite the required U.S. Customs screening process. This can make it a useful membership program for a family to have when entering the United States.
Children are not granted Global Entry automatically. Regardless of an applicant's age, they must have a valid passport, pay a nonrefundable application fee and attend an interview. One parent or legal guardian has to provide consent and appear at the interview.
While U.S. Customs screenings may be smoother with Global Entry, security screenings ahead of a flight may also be faster because Global Entry includes TSA PreCheck. Some travel credit cards, such as Chase Sapphire Reserve, offer up to a $100 statement credit as reimbursement for the fee to apply for either of those TTP programs.