How to apply for GlobalEntry

What is Global Entry?

“Global Entry is a program of the US Customs and Border Protection service that allows pre-approved, low-risk travellers to receive expedited clearance through automatic kiosks at select airport upon arrival into the United States.”

It costs about £100 and requires a background check and face-to-face interview, but it means a faster and easier time at US airports.

When you arrive in the US, you can skip the long line at customs and go to a fast track queue or GlobalEntry kiosk to get processed more quickly and without so many questions.

When you leave the US you can use the TSA PreCheck priority security queue to get through security more quickly and without the need to remove your laptop or liquids from your bag nor your belt or shoes.

Is GlobalEntry worth it?

It’s not particularly expensive, but it’s enough of a hassle to get that not many people have it, which keeps the priority queues short and makes this all the more valuable. If you intend to make five or more trips to the US in the next five years, it’s probably worth the upfront cost and hassle to save you time, hassle and potentially money in the long run (more on that later).

“Potentially money” – well, some of the cheapest flights I’ve seen have involved risky transfer times; having to exit the connecting airport terminal and re-check your bags before your final flight is a fairly common scenario. You might decide it’s too tight a squeeze ordinarily, but if you know the connecting airport to your flight has a Global Entry kiosk, you know you’ll need less time to make the connection and you may decide to go for it.

Or there may be a cheap 7am flight that would normally be too early for you when you consider you have to be there in plenty of time to go through ecurity, etc. But if the airport has TSA PreCheck then you know you’ll get through security quicker and can afford to turn up a bit later, making this viable flight option.

Global Entry not only means spending less time at either end of the airport – it also offers opportunities to cut costs that may not be open to you otherwise. That that considered, it could pay for itself in a single flight.

How long does Global Entry take to get?

  • Apply months in advance
  • Double check the opening times for interview on arrival (main dashboard is often WRONG)