American Express has offered the Global Entry benefit since April 2011, reimbursing the $100 fee, but only now after returning from Jamaica to a packed immigration hall (and having recently signed up for the AMEX Platinum 100,000 points offer, now dead) have I prioritized applying for it. I guess I've just been lucky on my arrivals from past international trips, since NYC airports are apparently pretty notorious for their long immigration lines. In fact, on this recent arrival, the line for U.S. citizens was a lot longer than for foreign visitors.
With Global Entry, once you've applied, been interviewed, fingerprinted and approved as a low-risk traveler, you can bypass that long line and head straight for a self-service kiosk, streamlining the entry process.
Applying for Global Entry is straightforward:
1. Register on GOES (Global Online Enrollment System)
Go to the GOES page, scroll down, and click on the blue Register button.
Note that when creating your password, it must have:
2. Login to GOES
You'll be prompted to first agree to the terms and conditions, then click "Enter"
3. Complete the Trusted Traveler Program
As you can see, it's pretty extensive, covering personal data and contact information, citizenship/legal resident status, residence, driver's license, address info, employment history, travel history.
4. Pay Using Your AMEX Platinum Card
You'll be reimbursed the $100 fee if you pay using your AMEX Platinum card, by way of a statement credit.
Global Entry FAQ
What Is Global Entry?
Global Entry is a program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Once you're approved, after arriving on an international flight at participating airports, instead of standing in line for passport inspection, you proceed to marked self-serve Global Entry kiosks where you scan your passport, place your fingertips on the scanner for fingerprint verification, and make a customs declaration. The kiosk prints out a transaction receipt and you then proceed to baggage claim and the exit.
Who Is Eligible for Global Entry?
U.S. citizens, permanent residents and holders of certain visa categories are eligible to particpate in Global Entry, subject to the restrictions below. Note though that holders of certain visa categories aren't eligible, see this list. Citizens of the Netherlands, South Korea and Mexico are also eligible for Global Entry, while Canadian citizens can receive Global Entry benefits via the NEXUS program.
Here's what the Global Entry site says about reasons for ineligibility:
Applicants may not qualify for participation in the Global Entry program if they:
How Much Does Global Entry Cost?
$100, which can be fully reimbursed if you pay using your American Express Platinum Card. If you don't have the card, another good option if you live close to a NEXUS enrollment center (Canadian airports and certain U.S.-Canada border crossings) is to enroll in NEXUS for just $50, since it comes with Global Entry privileges.
A huge benefit that I see for families that want to enroll their kids in Global Entry is that NEXUS is free for kids 17 and younger. As far as I can tell, there is no such fee waiver for kids applying for Global Entry. See the official NEXUS FAQ for more info.
How Many Years is Global Entry Valid For?g
Once approved, your Global Entry membership is valid for 5 years. You may or may not need to be interviewed again when it comes up for renewal; status and instructions will be provided on GOES.
Which Airports Offer Global Entry?
Does Global Entry Also Expedite My Exit From Customs?
Yes--sometimes there is a dedicated line, such as DFW, although unfortunately at other airports such as MIA you just have to walk to the front of the line, enduring some glares from other folks, and present your passport opened to the CBP sticker.
Does Global Entry Expedite Pre-Boarding Security?
Usually, in the airports that offer TSA PreCheck. Make sure to use your trusted traveler ID in your passenger profile when you book your airline ticket, and that your trusted traveler info is exactly the same as that used to book your ticket. Personally, I think it will be easier not to use my middle name or initial at all to avoid problems with the trusted traveler info not matching the booking name info.
Note that while Global Entry helps you usually get approved for TSA PreCheck, it's not 100%. To check whether you've qualified for PreCheck, use your mobile boarding pass, take a screenshot of it, and use a free app such as Qrafter to scan the screenshot, centering on the squares in the center of the QR code. You'll receive text output, and look for the fourth line down where you'll see the airline code on the end, e.g. UA for United, AA for American, etc. If there's a "3" at the end of the string of numbers before the airline code, e.g. 3482394872394873 UA then you're cleared for PreCheck. If it's "0" then you're not. HT: Scott
Can My Spouse or Partner and Children Get Expedited Global Entry Privileges If They Travel With Me?
No, only if they each have also been approved for Global Entry. Global Entry privileges are specific to an individual.
So Children Can Also Apply for Global Entry?
Yes, minor children can enroll if they have parental permission. At least one parent or guardian must be present at the time of the interview.
How Long Does It Take After Applying to Receive Conditional Approval?
It can take as little as 2-4 days to be conditionally approved, after which you need to schedule an interview. For many, the interview scheduling is the bottleneck, so it can be handy if you're traveling and are able to do your interview at an airport you're traveling through.
Where Can I Go for My Global Entry Interview?
When you're applying, you'll see the full list of Global Entry interview centers. Also note that if you're an AMEX Platinum member, you can make an appointment at the dedicated AMEX Center at Bowling Green:
Have you used your AMEX Platinum Global Entry benefit, and if so, what's your experience with Global Entry?
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