Funny as it is may seem, I was a bit slow in getting my act together. Despite my heavy international travel I had avoided getting this convenient approval. I often have been questioned by the passport control workers as to why I didn’t have it, especially given the number of stamps in my passport. However, I was challenged in November by a group of my fellow Travel Agency owners to complete it by December. Here is what you need to know.
What is Global Entry?
Global Entry is a program used by the United States Customs and Borders Protection service that allows approved individuals considered to be low risk expedited clearance through customs when arriving in the United States.
Besides the advantage of clearing the lines in customs, global entry also comes with TSA Pre-check making your domestic security experience faster and less invasive. It does require registering your known traveler number when booking your flights or attaching to your frequent flyer accounts. Full information and direction on how to do this are given to you during your interview.
How do I Get Global Entry?
The process of getting your approval is quite simple, but times do vary on it’s completion process. The cost is nominal considering your number is good for 5 years before you need to do renewal. You begin by going to www.globalentry.gov. You will be asked to set up an account. Once you have the account you can proceed or log back in when time allows. Once in your account you will have to fill out a questionnaire verifying your identity information and pay the $100 fee.
After you’ve completed the application it will go into review. The time it takes for the review to be completed and get your approval for interview will vary depending how busy the offices are and the verification of your information. You can use your log-in to periodically check for your approval as you will not receive anything by email alerting you to the approval.
Once you’ve received initial approval you will then select your global entry center and schedule your interview. Availability of appointments and the speed at which you will be able to get in will depend on your specific center. You will report to you interview center on the date and time you selected and wait in a waiting area until and agent calls you for your interview. The agent during the interview will again verify the information you entered on your application, take a photo and get your finger prints, but overall all time for interview is relatively short, approximately 15 minutes.
Now that you’ve had your interview you are approved. Your agent will give you information on activating your card, getting your TSA Pre-check and other general information for use when arriving and updating should any information change. It takes about 2-3 weeks to receive your actual card.
Tips on getting your Global Entry
-Make sure you have good internet connection and allow about 30 minutes to complete your application online.
-Remember to log back in periodically for your approval so you can set up your interview.
-Arrive 15 minutes early for the appointment as to not have to reschedule.
-Turn off your phone before going in for interview.
-For Newark, New Jersey the interview center is in baggage claim B in the back. Park in short term parking B.
-Make sure to bring your approval letter, passport and driver’s id.
-Once you receive your card remember to go back online to activate it and sigh up for your TSA Pre-check.
Now you are ready to breeze through the airport the next time you fly.