Unless you are brand new to Boarding Area, you should know that Global Entry is the TSA Program for speeding you through international security and passport control. So if you have a diplomatic passport, don’t worry about it, but for all others who travel internationally, here are some easy ways to get it.
The normal way is to pay $100, fill out an application, go through a security interview at TSA, and then receive your card. For all the steps to follow, you still have to do everything except pay the $100. Note that the card is good for five years, so even if you did pay the $100, we are only talking $20/ year. Definitely worth it if you travel internationally more than once a year. Another key benefit is that the Global Entry card will also get you through TSA Pre-Check domestically so that is a big boost to those not already enrolled. If you are a Service Member, you are automatically enrolled in TSA Pre-Check, but you may want this for your spouse, SO, or traveling friend.
How does it work? When you arrive from an international flight, instead of going through the typically long lines to wait for a CBP officer, you have a special line much like TSA Pre-Check. At the end of this (hopefully) shorter line you come to a kiosk where you insert your card and answer a couple of questions and then are on your way.
One note of caution is that your Global Entry card is tied to the passport that you submitted at the time of application. Don’t be a dummy like me and get a new passport and then wonder why the machine doesn’t work! If you do get a new passport, go to the local TSA office and they will update your information.
Here are ways to avoid having to pay the $100 fee:
- Be a United 1K, Platinum, or GS member and UA will refund you the fee (this is how I got mine)
- Get the Platinum Card (either personal, business, or Mercedes-Benz) from American Express and they will give you a statement credit for the fee (Andy taught us how to get this card for free if you are a Service Member)
- The new Citi Prestige card refunds you the fee (and here is how to get that one for free - maybe)
So get one and even pay for one for your traveling companion so you can both go through together. I am not sure how long your marriage would last if you said to your spouse “wait in this line honey, I’ll go through this kiosk and meet you on the other side”!