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Everything You Need to Know About Global Entry


If you travel abroad frequently, you’ve probably grown to depend on Global Entry to get back to the United States quickly and avoid having to wait in the lengthy U.S. line for Customs and Border Protection.

You can quickly clear customs with the aid of Global Entry. There are even 15 preclearance stations from which you can depart and clear it without physically reentering the United States.

It can take some time to become a Global Entry member because it can be challenging to get an in-person appointment. It is still worthwhile to enroll in the program, though. Despite its inception more than ten years ago, it has changed, particularly with the removal of COVID-19 restrictions.

Here are some tips for applying for or renewing Global Entry, including with information on how to utilize it, prepare for any delays, and have your application fees returned.

Using Credit Cards to Get Global Entry for Free

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) charges a $100 nonrefundable application fee for a five-year membership. However, many credit cards reimburse these fees by issuing a credit every four years. If you have more credits than you need, you can also use credits to cover memberships for friends and family members.

A variety of low-annual-fee and premium cards offer this benefit, including:

  • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card ($95 annual fee; see rates and fees)
  • United℠ Explorer Card ($0 introductory annual fee, then $95)
  • Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Credit Card ($95 annual fee)
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve® ($550 annual fee)
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® ($595 annual fee; see rates and fees)
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express ($695 annual fee; see rates and fees)
  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express ($695 annual fee; see rates and fees)

Most credit cards that offer an application fee waiver also allow you to cover a Global Entry membership for someone else. So, if you have an unused Global Entry credit on your Amex Platinum, you could charge another person’s Global Entry fee to your card to reimburse the purchase.

Tips for Getting a Global Entry Interview Appointment

Once you apply and get conditionally approved for Global Entry, you must schedule an interview appointment. This process has been delayed over the past few years due to an application backlog.

  • Log in: After being conditionally approved, log in to your Trusted Traveler Program dashboard.
  • Schedule: Schedule an in-person interview at an enrollment center.
  • Wait time: Be prepared for potential delays. It can take months to secure an interview.

What to Expect During Your Global Entry Interview

For your interview, you’ll need:

  • Valid passport(s) or permanent resident card
  • Proof of residency, such as a driver’s license with your current address, a mortgage statement, or a recent utility bill

The interview typically takes 10 to 15 minutes. You’ll be asked questions verifying your identity and recent travel history. The final step is to give your fingerprints and take a photo.

You should receive your Global Entry card and Known Traveler Number (KTN) within seven to 10 days after your interview. Use this KTN for both Global Entry and TSA PreCheck, as Global Entry includes membership to TSA PreCheck.

How to Use the Global Entry Kiosk

Once approved, using the Global Entry lane to reenter the country should be straightforward, though the kiosk process may vary by location.

  • Traditional process: Use your fingerprints, answer questions, take a photo, and hand the printout to a CBP officer.
  • Evolved process: In some locations, you may only need to scan your face for a paperless Global Entry process.

Enjoying TSA PreCheck as a Perk of Global Entry

A five-year membership to Global Entry also includes five years of access to TSA PreCheck. Ensure you add your KTN to your airline reservations when booking, checking in online, or at the airport.

Global Entry for Non-U.S. Citizens

Global Entry is available to non-U.S. citizens and permanent residents, including citizens of Argentina, Brazil, Bahrain, India, Colombia, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Panama, South Korea, Switzerland, Singapore, Taiwan, and Mexico. Canadian citizens and residents are eligible through the Nexus program.

Completing Your Global Entry on Arrival or Departure

If you can’t find an interview appointment, you can complete your Global Entry enrollment upon returning to the U.S. from an international trip or departing on international flights from select airports like Dulles International Airport (IAD).

Global Entry Renewal Delays

A Global Entry membership lasts five years and expires on your birthday that fifth year. To keep using it, you must renew it before the expiration date. Due to delays, CBP has extended the benefits’ validity for up to two years if you submit your renewal application before your membership expires.

Enrolling Kids for Global Entry

Children must be separately enrolled in Global Entry, including paying the $100 fee and scheduling an interview. TSA PreCheck benefits extend to children up to 12 years old, so you can use the expedited lane together when traveling domestically.

Updating Your Global Entry with a New Passport

If you get a new passport, update your Global Entry profile by logging in to your TTP account and entering your new passport number. For name or immigration status changes, visit a Global Entry enrollment center with the necessary documentation.

Valid Federal ID

Global Entry cards are valid federal IDs and can serve as legal alternative IDs if you lose your driver’s license or state ID. They may be required when flying to the U.S. from Canada or arriving at U.S. cruise ship ports.

TSA PreCheck Cannot Be Upgraded to Global Entry

If you have TSA PreCheck and want Global Entry, you must go through the normal enrollment process. Consider how often you travel abroad; if you frequently travel internationally, Global Entry is likely worth the extra $15 over TSA PreCheck.

Is Global Entry Worth It?

Global Entry can help you avoid long wait times when returning from an international trip. Although it costs $100 and requires an in-person interview, it is a valuable investment for frequent international travelers.

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