child and woman boarding a plane after going through global entry

Traveling Abroad? Let’s Answer All Your FAQs About Global Entry

11 min read

Planning an international trip can be both exciting and overwhelming, especially when it comes to navigating customs and border procedures. For frequent travelers planning a trip abroad this Summer, the Global Entry program offers a streamlined, hassle-free experience upon return to the United States. This guide answers all your frequently asked questions about Global Entry, from the application process to the numerous benefits it provides. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or preparing for your first international adventure, understanding how Global Entry works can save you time and make your journey smoother. Let’s explore what Global Entry is, how to become a member, and how to make the most of this valuable program.

What Exactly is the Global Entry Program?

The Global Entry program is part of the broader mission of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). It is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) initiative designed to expedite the customs clearance process for pre-approved, low-risk travelers entering the United States.

Launched to enhance travel efficiency, the program allows members to bypass traditional passport control lines and use automated kiosks at select airports. This expedited service aims to reduce wait times and streamline the arrival process, providing a faster and more convenient entry experience for frequent international travelers.

Becoming a Global Entry Member

To become a Global Entry member, individuals must undergo a rigorous application process that includes a comprehensive background check and an in-person interview at a designated Global Entry Enrollment Center. The application involves providing personal information, travel history, and documentation such as a valid passport and another form of identification.

Once conditionally approved, applicants schedule an interview where a CBP officer verifies their information, takes fingerprints, and discusses the program’s rules and benefits.

Benefits of Membership

Global Entry membership is valid for five years and includes several advantages. Members can use Global Entry kiosks at participating airports, where they scan their passport or U.S. permanent resident card, complete a customs declaration, and verify their identity with fingerprint or facial recognition technology.

The program also includes TSA PreCheck benefits, allowing members to use expedited security screening lanes at domestic airports. This dual benefit significantly enhances the overall travel experience by reducing wait times at both customs and security checkpoints.

Reciprocal Travel Agreements Beyond the U.S.

In addition to U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, the program is open to citizens of certain other countries with which the U.S. has reciprocal agreements. This international collaboration broadens the program’s reach and makes it a valuable tool for frequent travelers worldwide.

By offering a faster, more efficient entry process, Global Entry aims to facilitate smoother and more enjoyable travel for its members, reflecting the CBP’s commitment to modernizing border security and enhancing the traveler experience. The following countries enjoy reciprocal travel agreements with the U.S. through Global Entry.

  • Argentina
  • India
  • Colombia
  • United Kingdom
  • Germany
  • Panama
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • *Canada: Canadian citizens and residents are eligible for Global Entry benefits through their NEXUS membership. NEXUS is a program designed to expedite the border clearance process for low-risk, pre-approved travelers between the U.S. and Canada.
  • *Mexico: Mexican nationals may apply for Global Entry, provided they pass a background check and interview.

Answering All Your FAQs About the Global Entry Membership Program

Who is eligible for Global Entry?

Eligibility is open to U.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents, and citizens of certain other countries. Applicants undergo a rigorous background check and in-person interview before enrollment.

Can children enroll in Global Entry?

Children of any age, including infants, are eligible for Global Entry, but each child must have their own membership to use the kiosks. The application process for children is the same as for adults: it includes completing an online application, undergoing a background check, and attending an in-person interview.

During the interview, both the child and at least one parent or legal guardian must be present, and the parent or guardian must provide proof of relationship to the child, such as a birth certificate or legal documentation.

How do I apply for Global Entry?

To apply, you need to complete your Global Entry application through the Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) website, pay a non-refundable application fee, and schedule an in-person interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center.

What is the application fee for Global Entry?

The application fee for Global Entry is $100, which is non-refundable even if your application is denied.

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How long does Global Entry last?

Global Entry membership is valid for five years. Members must reapply and undergo another background check to renew their membership before their membership expiration date.

What are the benefits of Global Entry?

Each global entry member can use automated kiosks at select U.S. airports for expedited processing, bypassing traditional passport control lines. You’ll go straight to the Global Entry lane instead of waiting with everyone else. Membership also includes TSA PreCheck benefits, allowing for expedited screening at participating airports.

What should I bring to my Global Entry interview?

For your interview, bring a valid passport and one other form of identification, such as a driver’s license or ID card. Lawful permanent residents must also bring their permanent resident card.

Can I use Global Entry when traveling with my family?

Each family member, including children, must have their own Global Entry membership to use the Global Entry kiosks. There is no family application; each person must apply individually.

What happens if my Global Entry application is denied?

If your application is denied, you will receive a letter with the reason for denial. You can appeal the decision by providing additional information or documentation to CBP.

How do I update my information for Global Entry?

You can update your address, passport information, and other personal details through your TTP account. Significant changes may require a visit to an enrollment center.

What should I do if my Global Entry card is lost or stolen?

If your Global Entry card is lost or stolen, report it immediately through your TTP account. There is a fee to replace the card.

Can I use my Global Entry card for land and sea travel?

Yes, the Global Entry card can be used for expedited entry at land and sea ports of entry. However, it is not required for air travel, where you can use the Global Entry kiosks with your passport.

How does Global Entry work at the airport?

Upon arrival at a participating airport, proceed to the Global Entry kiosks, scan your passport or U.S. permanent resident card, and place your fingertips on the scanner for fingerprint verification. Complete the customs declaration and proceed to the exit.

Is there a mobile app for Global Entry?

Yes, the Mobile Passport Control (MPC) app can be used by U.S. citizens and Canadian visitors for expedited entry through select airports and ports of entry. However, it does not replace Global Entry but can be used in conjunction with it.

Are there ongoing Global Entry fees?

Global Entry membership does not come with ongoing monthly or annual fees. The primary costs associated with Global Entry are the initial application fee of $100 and a renewal fee of $100 every five years. These fees are non-refundable and cover the application process, background check, and interview required for membership. If your Global Entry cards are lost or stolen, there may be an additional fee, typically around $25, for card replacement.

While there are no additional fees for using Global Entry kiosks at airports or for the TSA PreCheck benefits included with membership, applicants should be aware of potential travel expenses to attend the mandatory interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center. These expenses can include transportation, lodging, and meals. Additionally, a valid passport is required for Global Entry, so passport application or renewal costs should be considered. Some credit cards and frequent traveler programs offer reimbursement or discounts for Global Entry application fees, so it’s worth checking if you can leverage these benefits to offset the costs.

How long does it take to get approved for Global Entry?

The approval process can vary. After submitting your application, you will need to wait for conditional approval before scheduling an interview. The total time can range from a few weeks to several months, depending on application volume and the availability of interview appointments.

Do I need to renew my Global Entry membership before it expires?

Yes, you should start the renewal process before your membership expires. You can renew your membership up to one year before the expiration date. If your membership expires, you will need to go through the full application process again.

What happens during the Global Entry interview?

During the interview, a CBP officer will verify your application information, ask you questions about your travel history and eligibility, take your fingerprints, and a photograph. The officer may also provide a brief overview of the program and its rules.

Can Global Entry be revoked?

Yes, Global Entry membership can be revoked for various reasons, including violating program rules, providing false information on the application, or being convicted of a crime. Members must adhere to the program’s rules and regulations to maintain their status.

Can non-U.S. citizens apply for Global Entry?

Yes, citizens of certain countries, including Argentina, India, Colombia, United Kingdom, Germany, Panama, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, and Taiwan, among others, are eligible for Global Entry. Canadian citizens and residents can enjoy Global Entry benefits through their NEXUS membership.

What are the differences between the Global Entry program and TSA PreCheck?

Global Entry is primarily for expedited entry into the U.S. from international travel, while TSA PreCheck is for expedited security screening for domestic and some international flights. Global Entry members receive TSA PreCheck benefits as part of their membership, but TSA PreCheck members do not receive Global Entry benefits.

Can I use Global Entry when entering the U.S. from any country?

Yes, you can use Global Entry kiosks when entering the U.S. from any country. Global Entry processing technology is available at many major U.S. airports and some international pre-clearance locations.

What is the difference between Global Entry and other Trusted Traveler Programs like SENTRI and NEXUS?

Global Entry is designed for expedited entry into the U.S. for international travelers. SENTRI provides expedited entry into the U.S. from Mexico via land. NEXUS offers expedited entry between the U.S. and Canada. Each program has specific benefits and eligibility requirements, but all involve background checks and interviews.

How do I use my Global Entry membership when traveling?

When arriving at a U.S. airport with Global Entry kiosks, proceed directly to the kiosks, scan your passport or U.S. permanent resident card, verify your identity with fingerprint or facial recognition, complete the customs declaration, and follow the instructions to proceed to baggage claim and exit.

Can I use Global Entry at all U.S. airports?

Global Entry kiosks are available at many major U.S. airports, but not all. Check the CBP website for a list of participating airports and pre-clearance locations.

Does Global Entry include expedited entry for other countries?

While Global Entry primarily benefits entry into the U.S., some countries have agreements with the U.S. allowing Global Entry members to use expedited entry processes when visiting those countries. Check with the specific country’s entry requirements for details.

How do I contact Global Entry for support or questions?

You can contact the CBP Information Center for questions or support related to Global Entry by visiting the Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) website or calling their support line. You can also visit an enrollment center for in-person assistance.

How do I renew my Global Entry membership?

To start the Global Entry renewal process, log in to your Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) account, complete the renewal application, and pay the non-refundable renewal fee.

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When can I renew Global Entry membership?

You can start the renewal process up to one year before your current Global Entry membership expires. It’s recommended that you start renewing global entry membership well before the expiration date to avoid any lapse in membership.

How much does it cost to renew Global Entry?

The Global Entry renewal fee is $100, the same as the initial application fee.

What happens if my Global Entry membership expires before I renew?

If your Global Entry membership expires before you renew, you will need to reapply as a new applicant, which includes completing the application, paying the fee, and possibly scheduling another interview.

Do I need to schedule an interview for Global Entry renewal?

In some cases, a renewal may be approved without an interview if there have been no significant changes or issues with your background check. However, you may be required to schedule an interview if additional information or verification is needed.

How long does it take to process a Global Entry renewal?

Processing times for renewals can vary, but typically, you should allow several weeks to a few months. The time frame depends on the volume of applications and the need for additional background checks or interviews.

Can I continue to use my Global Entry benefits while my renewal is being processed?

If you apply for renewal before your membership expires, you may continue to use your Global Entry benefits for up to six months after the expiration date, provided your renewal application is pending.

What information do I need to update during the renewal process?

Ensure your personal information, such as your address, passport details, and any changes to your legal status or criminal history, is up to date. You may also need to provide updated documentation or answer additional questions during the renewal process.

Will I receive a new Global Entry card when I renew?

If you use your Global Entry card for land or sea entry, you will receive a new card upon renewal. For air travel, you do not need a card to use the Global Entry kiosks.

What should I do if I am denied renewal for Global Entry?

If your renewal application is denied, you will receive a letter explaining the reasons for the denial. You can appeal the decision by providing additional information or documentation to CBP.

Can I transfer my Global Entry membership to a new passport?

Yes, you can update your passport information in your TTP account. If you receive a new passport, ensure that you update your Global Entry account with the new passport details to avoid any issues at the kiosk.

Is there a grace period for using Global Entry after my membership expires?

Yes, if you apply for renewal before your current membership expires, there is a six-month grace period during which you can continue to use Global Entry benefits while your renewal application is being processed.

Do I need to renew my TSA PreCheck membership separately from Global Entry?

No, if you have Global Entry, your TSA PreCheck benefits are included. Renewing your Global Entry membership will automatically extend your TSA PreCheck benefits.

How do I check the status of my Global Entry renewal application?

You can check the status of your renewal application by logging into your TTP account. The status will indicate whether your application is pending, conditionally approved, or if additional information is required.

What if my renewal application requires additional information or documentation?

If additional information or documentation is needed for your renewal, you will be notified through your TTP account. Follow the instructions provided to submit the required information as soon as possible to avoid delays in processing.

Is Global Entry Right for You?

Considering the numerous benefits of expedited customs processing and TSA PreCheck, Global Entry is a valuable program for frequent international travelers seeking a more efficient travel experience. It’s particularly advantageous for those who travel abroad multiple times a year, whether for business or pleasure, as it significantly reduces wait times and streamlines re-entry into the U.S.

However, if you only travel internationally occasionally, the application process and associated fees might not provide as much value. Assess your travel habits and needs to determine if Global Entry is right for you. For those who fit the frequent traveler profile, the time saved and convenience offered by Global Entry can greatly enhance your travel experience.