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”!



Posted by glenn | 15 Comments

15 responses to “Getting Global Entry the Easy Way”

  1. Paul says:

    Just a point of clarification. Global entry is CBP’s program, not TSA.

  2. Steve says:

    Article is so off base! Global entry is run by cbp and NOT tsa!! You got the pre-check run by tsa part right though! 🙂

  3. JohnSD says:

    If you renew your passport during your current Global Entry you don’t have to visit any office – you are able to update your passport information via the GOES membership website:

  4. Brian says:

    New passport information can be updated online. Login to the your GOES account, and click update documents on left side of screen.

  5. Bruce says:

    When arriving back into the US by air, a passport is used at the kiosk. The card is used when arriving into the US by land or sea.

  6. Jerry says:

    Now if only they can figure out a way to get my luggage off the plane just as quick…

  7. Donna says:

    I’m a bit unsure if one has to apply for the Global Entry program even if he/she has a KTN through the military?

    • glenn says:

      @Donna – Yes, if you want those benefits. Known Traveler Number (KTN) will get you Pre-Check, but not Global Entry. Global Entry will get you through Customs fast, but TSA Pre-Check or a KTN will not help there.

  8. Mike says:

    A US diplomat arriving in the US is afforded no special entry. We stand in line like everyone else unless we have the Global Entry.

  9. Molly says:

    Okay but HOW do we go about getting Global Entry for free?? I can’t find any links, as a service member when I try to sign up i’m prompted to pay the $100 fee online.

    • glenn says:

      @Molly – Sorry if it wasn’t clear, but you pay the $100 fee with one of the credit cards mentioned and the CC company refunds you that amount. Happened automatically in my case, but you can always call if they don’t follow through.

  10. Scott says:

    Click this link to get a Chase Sapphire card, which gives you a free TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry (along with many other benefits).

  11. Dillon says:

    I’m still not clear on whether U.S. active duty military need to apply for Global Entry (for personal travel) like everyone else or not. I know they get TSA precheck, but what about Global Entry?

    • glenn says:

      @ Dillon – We just get the TSA Pre-Check for free. You need to apply if you want Global Entry. The good news is that there are a bunch of credit cards out there that will cover the cost of the $100 fee.

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