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Is Global Entry worth it?

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    You may have heard that Global Entry can be a worthwhile membership to have if you want to save time at the airport. This Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) is available to citizens, nationals and lawful permanent residents of several countries, and it's quite popular. The main reason? Global Entry can save travelers time at U.S. Customs screenings.

    In this article, we'll explain Global Entry and review some important points to consider when asking yourself if Global Entry is worth it.

    Defining Global Entry

    Global Entry is a program that may designate individuals as low-risk travelers if they are approved. With a membership, you may be able to pass through U.S. Customs more efficiently. That's because members can skip paperwork and processing lines, and use self-service kiosks instead.

    Customs checks occur when you arrive in the United States from outside the country. This type of screening may also occur before you depart if you're flying to the United States. Global Entry may help you with the screening process in either situation.

    What are the benefits of Global Entry?

    The specific benefits of Global Entry include no processing lines, no paperwork and reduced wait times. Global Entry benefits are available at major U.S. airports and some other international airports around the world. When arriving in the United States, Global Entry members can complete a few steps to pass U.S. Customs.

    Members have access to automated kiosks at select airports. Here, they'll scan their passports or U.S. permanent resident cards, provide their fingerprints and complete a customs declaration.

    Besides expedited entry, many Global Entry members are eligible for TSA PreCheck®. This TTP can save travelers time and provide convenience at TSA security checkpoints.

    How to tell if Global Entry is right for you

    Whether Global Entry is a worthwhile TTP for you may depend mostly on your travel plans and habits. Frequent international travelers tend to enjoy Global Entry for its time-saving benefits upon reentry into the United States.

    You might find Global Entry useful if you're planning a trip outside the United States. Several countries have international arrangements that can facilitate travel within the Global Entry program.

    The amount you travel internationally

    How often you travel internationally may help you decide if Global Entry is worth your time and money. Travelers who enter the U.S. may prefer Global Entry over other TTPs. A required step when arriving in the country from an international destination is passing through U.S. Customs. If you travel abroad often, you probably know that processing lines can be long. With Global Entry, you may be able to skip these lines and U.S. Customs paperwork, then head to designated kiosks available in many airports.

    When are you traveling?

    If you've yet to apply for Global Entry, it's important to note that enrollment can take a long time. According to the TTP website, the average application process takes 4 to 6 months. Depending on your travel plans, you may want to consider applying for Global Entry well in advance. This way, you can have the opportunity to enjoy the program's benefits when reentering the United States.

    If you're a U.S. citizen with Global Entry, you may be able to access expedited entry in several other countries. For instance, several international airports in Australia and New Zealand have specific arrangements with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. These arrangements could make your travel through these countries more efficient.

    Does Global Entry save time?

    Global Entry can save you time at U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Members skip processing lines and access automated kiosks instead. This can mean you spend less time waiting in line to be screened by a CBP officer, getting you on your way faster.

    There's also the convenience of not having to complete immigration paperwork. These forms are usually issued as you approach your destination in the United States.

    How to get Global Entry

    Enrolling in Global Entry begins with an online application. As you complete it, you'll have to pay a nonrefundable fee. If you're conditionally approved, then you can schedule an interview at an enrollment center or interview as you arrive in the U.S. through the program Enrollment on Arrival. After a successful interview, final vetting happens, and you may be approved for Global Entry.

    If you'd like to explore reimbursement for the Global Entry application fee, consider using a travel credit card to pay. Some cards offer reimbursement for the Global Entry application fee. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® credit card, for example, provides a statement credit up to $100 every four years for a Global Entry fee charged to your card. Your card's terms and conditions should have details about potential fee reimbursement.

    In conclusion: Is Global Entry worth it?

    Global Entry can save you time at U.S. Customs screenings, as its core member benefits include skipping the processing lines and paperwork. To help decide if Global Entry suits your travel needs, consider how often you travel internationally and enter the United States, specifically. The application process usually takes several months, and membership lasts five years.

    Although the application fee is nonrefundable, many travel credit cards reimburse it if that card is used to pay the application fee. Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of those cards that also has perks and rewards that may suit many types of travelers.

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