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What to Know About Global Entry Before Your Next Trip

What to Know About Global Entry Before Your Next Trip

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Global Entry can save you a ton of time at the airport because it cuts down on customs wait times upon reentry to the U.S. Global Entry also includes TSA Precheck, which allows you to go through an expedited security line at the airport where you won't need to remove shoes, electronics or light jackets.

If you are in a rush to catch a flight, or you simply don’t enjoy arriving early at an airport, Global Entry membership can make your travel experience much easier.

What is Global Entry?

Global Entry is a Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) regulated and administered by the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), open to U.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents and citizens of other participating countries.

The goal of the program is to verify travelers' identities and enroll them in expedited security screening. This means you'll get to do away with long security lines when arriving at the airport and never-ending customs lines when you return to the country from abroad.

More than 10 million people are enrolled in Global Entry or another Trusted Traveler Program. As more enrollment centers open, these programs will likely continue to grow in popularity.

Does Global Entry include TSA PreCheck?

Yes, it does. If you have Global Entry you will automatically be enrolled in TSA PreCheck. However, TSA PreCheck does NOT include membership for Global Entry. For that reason, we recommend applying for Global Entry to reap the benefit of both programs. TSA PreCheck allows pre-vetted passengers to pass through an expedited TSA (transportation security administration) security line without taking off their shoes or removing electronics or light jackets.

Does Global Entry include other Trusted Traveler Programs?

The Trusted Traveler Programs include Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, SENTRI, NEXUS and FAST, but Global Entry only includes TSA PreCheck. While each of these programs is intended to facilitate pre-vetted passenger entry, Global Entry is the most inclusive.

Benefits of Global Entry

While there are several benefits of Global Entry, the most significant benefit is saving time at airport security screenings, including at Customs when you reenter the U.S. No one enjoys standing in long TSA lines, and having Global Entry can help you avoid that.

Global Entry membership also includes the following benefits:

  • It includes TSA PreCheck membership, which means expedited security lines.
  • No paperwork needed upon arrival in the U.S.
  • No processing lines.
  • Ability to clear customs before arriving in the United States (where applicable).
  • Shortened wait times.

Pros and cons of Global Entry

Pros

  • Expedited Customs services
  • Includes TSA PreCheck
  • Reduced airport wait times
  • Citizens from some other countries are eligible to apply

Cons

  • Costs more than TSA PreCheck
  • Costs $100 for five years
  • Others in your group who don't have Global Entry can't come with you
  • Children under 12 require separate membership
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Pros and cons of TSA PreCheck

Pros

  • Costs less than Global Entry
  • Provides easier and faster TSA security process
  • Children under 12 included in parents' membership

Cons

  • Costs $85 for five years
  • Does not include Global Entry
  • Others in your group who don't have TSA PreCheck can't come with you
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How does Global Entry work?

Using Global Entry is a simple process. Once you have gone through the application and approval process, all you will need is your Known Traveler Number. This is commonly referred to as "KTN."

To make your Global Entry experience more seamless, it is best practice to add your KTN to all of your frequent flyer programs.

Once you do this, your ticket will pre populate with your TSA PreCheck/Global Entry membership, and you can breeze through airport security. If you don’t do this, you will need to manually add your KTN to each flight you purchase, or manually add it at the airport with an airline representative.

If your KTN has been successfully added to your reservation, you should see the phrase "TSA PreCheck/Global Entry" on your boarding pass. When you approach security, show the attendant your boarding pass, and you will be on your way.

How does TSA PreCheck work?

TSA PreCheck works in much the same way. Once you receive your Known Traveler Number, simply add it to your frequent flyer profiles, or make sure to add it each time you book a flight. Once added to your passenger profile, "TSA PreCheck" will show up on your boarding pass. Head right to the TSA PreCheck security line, show your boarding pass to the representative, and you're good to go. Even if you have TSA PreCheck, note that you will still need a physical ID to pass through security, in addition to your boarding pass. A photo or online version of your regular ID typically will not be accepted.

How to apply for Global Entry

Applying for Global Entry can seem like a daunting process, especially the first time around. Before you begin the application, get familiar with the steps of the process:

  • Create a Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) account.
  • Log in to your TTP account and complete the Global Entry application. A $100 nonrefundable fee is needed to process the application. If you have a credit card that reimburses for the Global Entry fee, be sure to input that card info here to qualify for your fee waiver.
  • From there, the Customs and Border Patrol will review your application. If you are conditionally approved, your account will prompt you to schedule an in-person interview. The interview will take place at a Global Entry Enrollment Center. For your in-person interview, you must bring your passport and one other form of ID.

If you are approved, you can use your Global Entry membership immediately. You will receive your physical Global Entry card in the mail within 10 business days. However, all you need is your Known Traveler Number (KTN) to begin using your membership.

What should you expect during your Global Entry interview?

During the Global Entry interview, you will be asked a few basic questions, such as:

  • Why do you want to get Global Entry?
  • Who do you work for?
  • What is your profession?
  • Do you have a criminal record?

After the questions, a photograph of you will be taken for your ID, so arrive camera-ready for your interview.

The interview should last no longer than 15 minutes. However, be prepared in case the interview lasts longer.

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Global Entry interview locations

There are locations in nearly every state, select U.S. territories, Canada, Qatar and Singapore. However, some locations are busier than others. If you live near a busy enrollment center, it may be beneficial to complete your in-person interview while away from home.

Here’s a full list of Global Entry Enrollment Centers.

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Enrollment on arrival

The Global Entry Enrollment on Arrival program is a great way to enroll in the program and immediately utilize the benefits of Global Entry. If you are conditionally approved for Global Entry, you can complete your interview as you are returning back to the United States. This eliminates the need to schedule an interview. All you need to do is follow the signs at an international terminal directing you to CBP officers.

You will need a passport and documents providing evidence of residency including a driver’s license, utility bill or mortgage statement. If you are under 18, this is not necessary.

Not all Global Entry terminals have the Enrollment on Arrival program. If you plan on traveling internationally and want to complete your interview when you return to the United States, here’s a list of airports that qualify.

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How to check your Global Entry application status

You can check your application by logging into your TTP account. From there, you will be able to see on your dashboard where you are in the application process.

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How to renew Global Entry

Global Entry lasts five years, so you will need to update it every fourth year of membership. If your membership has less than 365 days until expiration, you can renew on your Global Entry dashboard by logging into your TTP account online.

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How to get Global Entry for free using a credit card

Though Global Entry costs $100 for five years of membership, there are several excellent Global Entry and TSA PreCheck cards that reimburse the full membership fee. If you're looking to use this benefit, make sure to use that card when paying for the application or you won't be eligible for the fee credit.

Global Entry cards

Card
Welcome offer
Annual fee
Global Entry waiver amount
The Platinum Card® from American Express
See Rates & Fees. Terms Apply. On American Express' Secure Website
Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.$695 Up to $100
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
On Chase's Secure Website
Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®$550Up to $100
United℠ Explorer Card
On Chase's Secure Website
Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95Up to $100
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
On Citibank's Secure Website
Earn 80,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening$450Up to $100
United Club℠ Infinite Card
On Chase's Secure Website
Earn 100,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.$525Up to $100

What's the difference between Global Entry,TSA PreCheck and CLEAR?

Global Entry, CLEAR and TSA PreCheck offer very similar services in regards to expedited security clearance. However, each program offers different benefits, access and price points. Here are the benefits of each program, along with their costs for enrollment.

Benefits
Cost
TSA PreCheck
  • Expedited security clearance at many U.S. airports.
  • No need to remove shoes, laptops, liquids, belts and light jackets during security scan.
$85/Five years
Global Entry
  • Expedited security clearance at many U.S. airports.
  • Citizens of other countries that have trusted traveler arrangements may enroll in the program.
  • Includes TSA PreCheck membership and benefits.
  • You will receive a Global Entry identification card.
  • In participating countries, you can clear customs at your departure airport.
$100/Five years
CLEAR
  • Expedited security clearance at U.S. airports and venues
  • Touchless entry using biometrics
  • Can be less crowded than TSA PreCheck™ or Global Entry
$189/year

With each program, there are simple ways to drop the cost. For TSA PreCheck™, you can sign up for a travel credit card, like the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card, that will waive the cost of enrollment. For CLEAR, you can lower the enrollment fee by using their partnerships with Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Hertz or a student discount.

Frequently asked questions

Your Known Traveler Number (KTN) is the identification number issued to you upon approval for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. You will add this number to your passenger profile in order to use the Global Entry benefit.

Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) are government programs that allow pre-vetted passengers to go through expedited security procedures at U.S. airports. These include Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, NEXUS, FAST and SENTRI.

Global Entry membership lasts five calendar years.

Global Entry is $100 for a five year membership.

You can renew Global Entry by logging into your Trusted Traveler Program profile, and begin the application process there.

The entire application process depends on how soon you are able to get an appointment at an Enrollment Center.

You need to bring your passport, one other valid ID and additional proof such as bills to verify your residency.

Regardless of how often you travel, Global Entry is worth it because of the potential long lines of regular security screenings and when reentering the U.S. from abroad.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).