If you’ve ever returned to the United States from a trip abroad and waited in line at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for clearance, it's understandable that you'd wish there was a faster to get through processing. But with the beneficial Global Entry, registered travelers can skip the giant line when they return to the U.S. from overseas.
WHAT IS GLOBAL ENTRY?
Global Entry provides expedited arrival processing for international air travelers entering the United States at U.S. Customs and Border Protection for pre-approved, low-risk travelers. According to the CBP, members enter the United States through automated kiosks at select airports. Members present their machine-readable passport or U.S. permanent resident card at the kiosk, place their fingerprints on the scanner for fingerprint verification, and complete a customs declaration. The kiosk issues the member a transaction receipt and directs the traveler to the baggage claim and exit. While Global Entry helps travelers speed through the CBP process, members may still be selected for further examination when entering the United States.
It's important to note that Global Entry only applies to the approved member. Additional family members who are not registered in Global Entry cannot accompany the member through expedited processing and instead go through the general queue.
HOW IS GLOBAL ENTRY DIFFERENT FROM TSA PRECHECK?
At a high level, TSA PreCheck expedites your access into the secured side of the airport departure area, while Global Entry expedites your arrivals inspection process into the United States.
HOW TO APPLY FOR GLOBAL ENTRY
If you're interested in enrolling in Global Entry, the process begins by applying to the Depart of Homeland Security's Trusted Traveler Program. Each applicant must create their own account and can submit only one application. As a part of the process, you must submit your fingerprints in a photograph and have a machine-readable passport or permanent resident card. After completing the application, applicants pay a $100 non-refundable processing fee, go through a law enforcement check, and have an in-person interview with a CBP officer.
Upon approval, Global Entry members do not need to submit their membership information to airlines as they do for TSA PreCheck.
PRECLEARANCE AT INTERNATIONAL AIRPORTS
As you consider if Global Entry is suitable for you, keep in mind that at many popular tourist destinations, CBP offers Preclearance. Preclearance allows for CBP personnel to inspect travelers before boarding U.S.-bound flights. As a result, travelers can bypass CBP and TSA inspections upon arriving in the U.S., letting them go straight to their connecting flight or destination.
According to CBP, there are 16 Preclearance locations in 6 countries:
- Ireland: Dublin, Shannon
- Bahamas: Freeport, Nassau
- Canada: Calgary, Toronto, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, Victoria, Winnipeg
- Ireland: Dublin, Shannon
- United Arab Emirates: Abu Dhabi
According to CBP, travelers do not need to apply or be pre-approved to undergo a Preclearance inspection. If your travels are confined to Preclearance destinations abroad, Global Entry may not be a necessary investment.