If you travel in and out of the States frequently, then Global Entry is a service that you need.
To use Global Entry, you must first apply, and be approved for an interview by Customs and Border Protection.
After the Global Entry application process, you can schedule an interview.
They have several offices around the country and are based at some airports.
They will decline you right off the bat if you have ever been caught trying to sneak something into the country.
Or if you have been convicted of a crime, are under investigation, or if you provide false information.
There are a few others like if you cannot satisfy Customs and Border Patrol of low risk status.
If you try and sneak something in it will be contrary to your declarations, which can get you in a lot of trouble.
I would recommend that you are always honest with your customs declaration when you enter the United States.
It just keeps us all safer, and allows the men and women of Border Protection, CBP, to do their jobs.
What is Global Entry?
For $100 a year you can have expedited entry into the United States just by using a Global Entry kiosk.
You will also need a valid passport before you apply for the year membership Global Entry program.
You will not need to present your passport to an immigration officer unless you are flagged.
Usually this will be due to how you answer the questions for entry.
Questions asking if you are bringing food into the country, or currency above a certain threshold, etc.
Once cleared by the kiosk you can go straight to baggage claim.
Being a member of the global entry club gives you a pre-checked status with the TSA.
This status gives you access to expedited security lines which does not require removal of shoes or anything from your bag.
Being part of the trusted traveler program will save you a lot of time when traveling internationally or domestically.
Who is Eligible for Global Entry?
Global entry is available to United States citizens, or have a permanent resident card for the US.
Other countries that are eligible for global entry are as follows:
Argentina, India, Columbia, United Kingdom, Germany, Panama, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan and Mexico.
Once you have applied for global entry and paid the application fee, your interview will be scheduled.
A bonus of some travel credit cards out there is to cover Global Entry fees for you.
Once you have passed your interview and agreed to the terms and conditions, you will get Global Entry including trusted traveler status.
Where Can You Use It?
Available at roughly 60 airports in the United States for convenient entry to the country.
Global Entry is also available at a handful of airports abroad where pre-clearance facilities exist.
Those airports/countries are as follows: Abu Dhabi in the UAE, Aruba, Bermuda, and Canadian airports with flights to the States.
Also Irish airports with flights operating to the US, the Bahamas and Guam.
Pre-clearance abroad allows the aircraft, upon arrival, to taxi to a gate at a domestic terminal.
This makes entry to the United States much quicker and easier for arriving passengers.
They will not be faced with long immigration lines and it also eases pressure on customs and immigration.
My Experience with Global Entry
I have been very happy with my Global Entry membership.
I have a lot of time when getting through the airport, very often avoiding lines, and getting on with my day.
After filling out my application, I made an appointment at O’Hare International Airport.
The Customs and Border Protection has an office in terminal 5 which is the international terminal.
I set a time for my interview on a day I was flying into O’hare.
I arrived at terminal 5 and was in plenty of time for my interview.
The interview process took about half an hour, while the interviewer went through a bunch of questions.
It amazed me how much information the government already had about me.
It makes you think about Big Brother watching over you and your life, but this has become the price of convenience.
I travel an awful lot internationally with just hand luggage, and can make it from the plane to the curb in 10 to 15 minutes.
Not something I could do in the past given the volume of people arriving at many airports these days.
I would definitely unreservedly recommend signing up for the very helpful status.