Global Entry Success

Global EntryNext week I will be flying to Manila. I’ll only be gone for a week, but because it’s so far there are lots of details to figure out. Entertainment for the 50 hours of travel, packing for the tropical climate, travel logistics, plus of course my actual work stuff.

The last time I flew home from Manila I waited in the customs line at DFW for close to two hours, then in the security line for another 45 minutes. If my flight hadn’t been delayed (and I hadn’t run like crazy) I totally would have missed it. Every time I’ve gone through customs I’ve looked enviously at the people strolling up to the Global Entry kiosk and zipping through the whole customs ordeal in just a few minutes. This last trip, combined with the fact that my home airport now has TSA Pre-Check, convinced me that it was finally time to apply for Global Entry.

Unfortunately the application was a little trickier than I expected because—not exactly a shocker—you need your passport number to apply, and my passport was lost in a box for a few weeks after the move. However, once the Home Warrior found it (hooray!) the application itself only took about 15 minutes. I received conditional approval the next day, and was able to schedule my interview. However, the two locations within 100 miles of my house didn’t have any openings until January! Bummer. So I ended up driving to Houston Inter-Continental Airport.

The office (lower level of Terminal E) was super easy to find. My drive didn’t take as long as I expected so I got there about 30 minutes early. I don’t know what I was expecting—maybe something super crowded with long lines and obnoxious delays? But this office was very efficient and well-run. An office immediately directed me and a few other people to a small room to watch a video, which basically said to follow the law or you’ll get kicked out. Fair enough. Then I got called back for my interview. The nice man asked me basically all the same questions from the online application, then took my picture and fingerprints. The whole thing took about 20 minutes, and I was done before my original appointment time. I got my approval letter the next day!

Overall, the process was very easy. For $100, you get Global Entry and TSA Pre-check for five years, which is a steal IMO. If you fly regularly, it is a great deal and I highly recommend it. I am excited to fly tomorrow and go through the short TSA Pre-check line!

Readers, what have your experiences with Global Entry been?

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Comments

  1. Global Entry is fantastic. Best time saver ever – especially at DFW – my home airport. I’ve probably used it 20 times at 8 different airports and it is a breeze. However, as a result of a fairly new process, the first time you use it now – you get a big X on your ticket and are directed to a line for special screening and to manually verify your identity. It doesn’t take too long but is a pain. My husband used his Global Entry for the first time last week and he took about 30 extra minutes to process (this was in MIA).

  2. Glad to hear the interview with smoothly. I did mine at IAD after waiting for many months. I ended up getting some wonky agent who didn’t understand why I traveled so much internationally (I’m relatively young). I got the fifth degree from him. I almost thought he wasn’t going to approve the application! I find it quite odd how each agent handles the interview process so differently.

  3. Application process was quick. I think the hardest part was scheduling the interview. As someone that lives 2.5 hours from the closest site, there was nothing available until 2014. Ended up sitting at LAX for 5 hours until they were able to squeeze me in to accommodate walk up interviewees.

  4. I may be wrong, but I don’t believe Pre-Check is permitted on international itineraries. Your boarding pass will show the designation if applicable.

  5. @Kelly that is good to know! I will remember that the first time it may take longer. Better than two hours though!
    @Don Tomorrow I fly domestically, so I’m assuming Pre-check will work then. Next week I fly to Manila–I didn’t realize it’s not necessarily allowed on international flights. Thanks for the tip!

  6. NEXUS (the Canada-US version of Global Entry) is a better deal. It costs $50 for 5 years and NEXUS members are granted Global Entry privileges

  7. I travel to and from Canada a lot and Global Entry has saved me more times than I can count… pre-clearance at the Toronto airport can add hours to the front end of the trip and is completely unpredictable. With Global Entry I just walk right through.

  8. Global Entry is a life saver, so worth the $100 (that I didn’t pay thanks to Premier Platinum).
    @Don
    The majority of my flying this year has been international, and I have gotten precheck on every single trip this year. I think I’ve done 5 or 6 international trips since April and they all had precheck.
    @Rob
    I don’t think NEXUS v GE is a big difference, it’s $10/year, which isn’t anything, and for the majority of people, GE is easier to do than NEXUS due to interview locations.

  9. Global entry and TSA Pre are absolutely the best things ever for the frequent traveller. They both save me huge amounts of time on an ongoing basis, and I still feel utterly thrilled every time I get to go through TSA Pre and leave my shoes on and my laptop in the bag.

  10. As a frequent domestic business traveler TSA Pre Check has been great! The only downside is it seems lately airports or herding people who aren’t in the program thru the Pre Check lane for some reason, and this seems to cause alot of confusion because they don’t understand you don’t need to remove shoes, laptop, liquids etc.

    This also defeats the purpose of pre-screening people as safe travelers if they randomly just push people into that lane.

  11. I’ve been watching the reports of the damage in Philippines and wondering if you were able to evacuate in time. Sure hope that you are safe!

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