Global Entry Questions

Global EntryLast week a friend sent me an email with some questions about Global Entry. She is starting a new job with regular travel, and wanted to know about my experiences. I may have gone a  teensy bit overboard with my praise, but if you are a frequent traveler and travel internationally even once a year then Global Entry is a must-do!

You do an online application and background check, then an in-person interview, right? What is the interview like? That’s correct. It usually takes a few days for confirmation that you passed the online portion, although they say it can take longer than that. The interview is a repeat of a lot of the questions asked during the online application. Then they fingerprint you and take your picture.

How long does it take to set up the interview? It really depends on where you are. In my home airport there were no openings available for months, so I drove to Houston for an interview. Bigger airports tend to have more availability.

What happens when you get to the airport? You get to skip the security line? When you get Global Entry you also get TSA Pre-check. When you arrive at the airport you check in like normal with your airline (or do it online), then go to the Pre-check security line. You are able to keep your shoes on and laptop and liquids bag in your suitcase. Then when you arrive back in the US from traveling internationally you go to the Global Entry kiosk, answer the customs and immigration questions, get your printout, and head to the exit line. It is so fast and awesome compared to going through regular customs. If you go internationally a lot Global Entry is the best ever, I am not kidding.

Here are some other posts I’ve written about Global Entry:

Preparing for your first international business trip: Time Changes, Visas, Global Entry

FYI: Global Entry Users

Is Global Entry worth it?

Global Entry Success

Readers, any tips or suggestions for people considering Global Entry?


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  1. Recommendation: have your travel details handy at the GE kiosk. Some passports (especially the large page-count ones) don’t insert into the reader slot easily. You can still use the system by entering your name, flight info and origin point.

  2. Not sure where your reader is located, but one secret (or god forbid, I say it “Hack”) is to get a NEXUS card. This costs only $50 for the 5 years and gets you Global Entry and TSA Pre. It is aimed at those crossing between the US and Canada, so these interview stations are generally at US/Canadian border locations.

    While it is generally easier to enroll in just TSA pre because there are many more locations and often drop-in interviews available, you should really make the effort to go all in and get Global Entry because of the expedited immigration bonus.

    Some clarifications should be mentioned:

    Keep in mind that even if YOU have TSA pre, your airline may not participate. Like if you’re taking Spirit, well forget about it.

    TSA pre MUST appear on your boarding pass before getting into the line and per their rules, it is not always guaranteed. To help guarantee that you get it, your name on your TSA pre credentials should match your air ticket i.e. “Chuck” may not equal “Charles” in the eyes of DHS and name mis-matching is one of the biggest reasons why Pre-check doesn’t appear for many.

    Your kids under 12 (but NOT your non-TSA pre spouse) can come with you through the TSA pre line. But my entire family has had TSA pre when we booked under one PNR. It seems that my TSA pre was extended to the entire party. I can’t guarantee that’s a rule but it’s been my experience.

  3. We live in Dayton Ohio. Are traveling to Panama in Feb n being recently retired hope to travel abroad @ least once a yr.
    Read about GOES n applied for it.
    We had the opposite experience in booking an interview.
    We live an hour from a major airport but when attempting to book (around Thanksgiving)there were no openings till August (9 months).I searched n found an office in a small town near a tiny airport but close to an international port on Lake Erie.
    Able to make appointments for us in less then 2 wks! The 3 hr drive was with it..I hope.

  4. In my home airport, GE interviews were booked months out, but my checking back on the website regularly for cancellations, I was able to grab an open slot in a couple weeks.

  5. The last time I travelled internationally, when I returned to the US (through Newark, NJ) ALL of the Global Entry kiosks were down. Then today, when my husband returned from Europe through Dulles (outside DC), the kiosk read his passport and said that GE was not available. It has been more than frustrating recently.

  6. If I just got a new passport. Is my existing Global Entry membership still good? Or do I have to go through the whole approval process again? Thanks

  7. @Steve your Global Entry is still good but you will need to update your passport number on file with CBP. It just takes a couple of minutes online.

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