When you arrive in the United States, you may be ready to move on with your journey quickly. However, there's something to do first. You'll have to pass the required screening by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and many factors can cause long lines and waits. With Global Entry, that screening can be streamlined.
Members of this Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) can have a smoother experience at U.S. Customs, and that's probably why the program is popular among international travelers.
Global Entry is often compared with TSA PreCheck®, another TTP that can save travelers time at the airport. While Global Entry is helpful for U.S. Customs screenings, TSA PreCheck can be beneficial at airport security screenings. Global Entry membership includes TSA PreCheck.
Who is eligible for Global Entry?
U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents and citizens of certain countries are eligible for Global Entry. If you are under the age of 18, your parent or legal guardian must provide consent for you to participate in the program. There are several additional requirements for all Global Entry applicants.
Each Global Entry applicant:
- Needs a clean criminal record
- Cannot have any customs, immigration or agriculture violations
- Cannot be the subject of an ongoing investigation by any federal, state or local law enforcement agency
As mentioned, citizens of certain countries can apply for Global Entry. Those countries include:
- Mexico (Mexican nationals)
- The Netherlands
- South Korea
- United Kingdom
The CBP also has international arrangements with some countries. Applicants may need to meet additional requirements depending on their country of citizenship. Canadian citizens and residents, for instance, are eligible for Global Entry benefits through NEXUS membership.
How do I apply for Global Entry?
You can apply for Global Entry online. As you submit the application, you'll have to pay the fee in full. If your application is accepted and conditionally approved, you'll be notified about how to schedule an in-person interview. More specifically, here's what you can expect to do:
1. Create a TTP account online
When you begin the Global Entry application at the CBP website, an account is required regardless of your age.
2. Log in to your TTP account and finish the application
As of May 2023, the one-time application fee for Global Entry is $100. It must be paid when you submit your application. The fee is not refundable even if an application is denied. Membership is valid for five years. Certain credit cards offer a statement credit for the application fee, such as Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which has an annual fee and additional travel benefits.
3. Schedule an interview
Vital parts of the Global entry application process are submitting to a background check and attending an in-person interview with a CBP officer. A separate interview is required for each applicant, including children of all ages.
If the CBP conditionally approves your application, you'll receive instructions for scheduling an interview. Applicants can complete the required interview at a Global Entry enrollment center or through a program called Enrollment on Arrival. This allows a Global Entry applicant who is conditionally approved to complete an interview when arriving in the United States.
4. Bring the required documentation
You'll need to bring your valid passport and one other form of identification, such as a current driver's license or ID card, to the Global Entry interview. A lawful permanent resident will need to present their machine-readable permanent resident card. If you're a parent or legal guardian accompanying a minor to their Global Entry interview, both of your passports will be needed.
Completing the interview concludes the application, but you will not be approved for Global Entry immediately.
How long does it take to get approved for Global Entry?
On average, Global Entry applications are processed in four to six months. If your application is conditionally approved, a notification could arrive quickly by email and in your TTP account portal. Then, the in person interview must be scheduled.
There may be a waiting period for securing an interview based on your location and the existing demand for Global Entry. Given that the time frame for the entire process is unpredictable, you may want to consider submitting an application well before your travel plans.
A program like Global Entry can save you time at the airport by streamlining your U.S. Customs screening. Global Entry membership can take several weeks or months, but it begins with submitting an application online at the CBP website. If you receive a conditional approval, you can schedule your interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center.
Although the Global Entry fee is nonrefundable, certain travel credit cards may reimburse it with a statement credit, including the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card.