My husband and I recently applied for Global Entry. We are planning an international trip this fall and Global Entry should help simplify our airport and customs experiences.
Benefits of Global Entry
- No processing lines
- No paperwork
- Access to expedited entry benefits in other countries
- Available at major U.S. airports
- Reduced wait times
- TSA Pre✓ Eligibility
If you are wondering which of these programs would be better for you, here is a helpful post:
The Application Process
Getting Global Entry is a 2 step process. First you fill out the application on line and pay the non-refundable application fee. Once the application has been conditionally approved, you will be assigned a Known Traveler Number. In order to complete the process, you will then have to set up an interview at an Enrollment Center.
What you will need to bring to your Interview Appointment
- Invitation for Interview Letter
- Passport or Permanent Residency Card
- Proof of Permanent Residency like your Drivers License with current address, mortgage statement or utility bill.
Cost and Payment for Global Entry
The cost to apply for Global Entry is $100 and it must be renewed every 5 years. You can pay the application fee via credit card. Many travel and rewards cards offer reimbursement of the fee (once every 4 years) as a benefit.
Our Application Experience
I took advantage of the credit card reimbursement option and paid for each of our fees with a card that included that benefit.
For my application, I used an IHG Premier credit card to pay for my fee. After completing the application and payment process, I didn’t receive any messaging from IHG, so a few days later I accessed my IHG account online. I was pleased to find that the $100 credit had been issued to my account right away.
We used our Capital One Venture card to pay for my husbands fee. After completing the application and payment process, we received an e-mail notice within minutes from them. It stated that we would receive a credit to our account within our next 2 billing cycles. Instant notification but slower reimbursement.
Update: The Capital One credit ended up only taking 7 days to post!
I had considered applying for Global Entry a year ago, but since we were only traveling domestically last year, I decided to hold off until this year. Unfortunately, during that time, things have changed. The processing time for Global Entry applications and getting Interview appointments has slowed down dramatically. This is in part to Government Shut Downs and realigning some processing staff to other areas (like border control).
Expecting a long processing time, I started our applications on January 18th to allow us enough time for completion before our September trip to Europe. Give yourself plenty of time to complete the in depth application, as it took me about 90 minutes to complete both of our applications.
I was pleased to receive a change of status e-mail notice already on January 20th! I logged in and found that our applications had been conditionally approved pending our interviews. I looked at the availability for a few nearby interview sites and the wait time for appointments was only a week or two out. That was way better than what I had expected! I have read horror stories about people waiting months, and months to get through this step of the process. I can only conclude that our area must not be as greatly affected by the slow down as some other parts of the country. Lucky us!
Now I don’t feel like I have to rush to complete my interview right away. Since the nearest sites are 1-2 hours away from our home, we want to be able to schedule our appointments on the same day in order to only need to make the trip once. The days and hours for interviews vary by site. Some sites only offer a few days a week for interview appointments and have limited hours. While other sites offer a wider schedule of available dates which may even include weekends. I should be able to complete the interview process within the next few weeks.
As is the case with most government programs, don’t expect it to be easy, convenient or cheap. Do check to see if any of your credit cards offers a Global Entry application reimbursement credit to offset the cost. Even though the initial process to receive Global Entry is a little complex and time consuming, the benefits of having a Known Traveler Number and being able to move with ease through airport customs and security checkpoints when we travel will be worth it in the end.
Dream, Plan, Save, Adventure!
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