Topics Covered Hide
- Understanding how the global entry program works
- Who should go for the global entry program
- Getting a global entry card
- Getting checked by the TSA in advance
- Being able to enter other countries
- Considering where you can use your global entry status
- How to get the global entry status
- Documents required for the applications
- Alternatives to the global entry program
You need to go in about a couple of hours early, check-in, and get the luggage on the band. Then, you need to wait for the gate to show and spend a bit more time in a queue. The same rule applies when you leave the airport.
The situation is even more problematic in the USA. The authorities are extremely protective when it comes to the borders, and waiting times can often exceed an hour, especially in large international airports.
Fortunately, the government has agreed that some citizens may not necessarily need to go through very rigorous screening due to already being checked and flying on a regular basis. This is when the so-called global entry dual citizenship program kicks in.
The program allows approved citizens to skip queues at large international airports in the USA. It is not designed for Americans only, but also for people from a bunch of different countries. Now, what do you need to know about it?
Understanding how the global entry program worksThe good news is that for global entry, dual citizenship is not needed. It is aimed at Americans and people from a few other countries. It is basically a shortcut that allows people to skip all these queues by being checked in advance.
Forget about all the paperwork required to enter the country, not to mention all the questioning. Instead, some airports will have small booths that will allow you to cut the queues and get out of the airport straight away.
If you have been to the UK lately, the program is similar. The UK does not have such a program, but there are a bunch of gates in most airports where passengers can go with their passports and get checked by a machine. If anything seems wrong, the gate does not open, and the passenger must go to a classic office.
The program in the USA is different though, but it also allows skipping queues. The procedure is not free, but it implies all sorts of checks – what they normally do at the airport. A quick interview will also be needed. Once approved, you can skip all these things whenever you enter the USA.
Such a permit is valid for five years and must be renewed if you still need it. Although the initial interview must be taken face to face, the renewal is done online. Once in, you will become a trusted traveler and will be given a number.
If you have traveled recently in or around the USA, you might have noticed all these booths in major airports. Skip immigration queues and get straight to collect your luggage – if you have any. Get in, scan the passport and fingerprints, get a receipt and hand it to an officer – free to go then.
Keep in mind that this global entry system is not covered by all the airports in the country, but only the busiest ones for now. Then, just because you have the global entry, dual citizenship, or other privileges, your family will not be able to go through if the members are not in the same situation.
Plus, every now and then, a random check will still be conducted. You may still be invited for an interview by an officer. Furthermore, this program does not cancel the necessity of a visa if you normally need one. All in all, it is definitely worth the time and money if you fly frequently.
Who should go for the global entry programThe global entry program is aimed at those who travel a lot. If you only fly a few times a year or once a month, you could probably wait for an hour every now and then. But if you do it more often, chances are you need to save time.
The status is given to citizens who do not pose any risks to the security of the country. Of course, it is mostly aimed at Americans, but people from other countries are also able to apply. There are some specifications regarding the countries, though:
The status will help you when entering the USA. Flying locally will not get you on these special lanes. Therefore, if you normally fly locally for business purposes, the program is not suitable. The good news is that the global entry program also includes the TSA PreCheck, which will help domestically.
The PSA PreCheck will cost about $85. On the other hand, the global entry program is around $100. The difference is insignificant, and even if you are not planning to fly internationally, the program is still worth your money.
The application is not refunded should it fail. Basically, if you get rejected, the fee stays. Make sure you meet all the criteria. If you think your background check will fail or you have been convicted in the past, it may not be worth applying.
Assessing the advantages of the global entry program
It is quite obvious – the possibility of entering the USA without wasting hours a year is certainly a plus. However, this accreditation comes with even more benefits that should be considered. Here is what you need to know.
Getting a global entry cardThis global entry card is aimed at permanent residents of the USA – including citizens. While the card will not give you a major advantage when crossing the border into the USA, it is more helpful when crossing borders with Canada and Mexico.
You can use this card when you travel by sea or land too. For instance, if you come from Mexico, the program is known as SENTRI. Canada has a similar one – NEXUS. These global entry cards have similar chips and will allow you to use such lanes if you travel by land.
While many countries require the passport as an identification document, the truth is you can use these cards as IDs – forget about the passport and driver’s license. The option is convenient when you fly locally or if you need more than one form of identification.
Getting checked by the TSA in advanceThe so called TSA PreCheck is one of the benefits of the global entry dual citizenship program, yet you do not necessarily need to be a citizen of another country too. You can speed your way through queues by getting on the exclusive lanes.
Such lanes do not require such a strict check – you can keep the belt and shoes on, but you can also keep your laptop in a bag. As an adult, your TSA status will also expand to kids under 12 years old, if any. They cannot qualify for membership by themselves, but your membership will expand to them.
Now, the concept may seem a bit confusing because this check is done by a different company. However, the number you get with the global entry membership will also be used by the TSA. You can use the same number, as you have already been checked once.
Being able to enter other countriesThe global entry program is designed by the USA for its own borders. Other countries have different similar programs. Now, if the USA and these countries have an agreement, you can basically use the membership to enter other countries.
As an American citizen with this status, you can also cut queues and go to exclusive lanes in countries that have reciprocal arrangements with the USA. Of course, not all passports in a partner country may have such lanes – just like in the USA.
Each country has its own rules. Go to Germany, and its EasyPASS program will require early registration and checks. On the other hand, the SmartGates program in Australia only requires a check by the American authorities.
Assessing eligibility criteria for the global entry program
It is important to become familiar with the eligibility criteria for this global entry program if you truly want to succeed. There are a bunch of reasons wherefore you could get rejected – and, of course, waste your money.
Unsurprisingly, some credit cards come with such benefits and may provide a full rebate on the program, so it is worth trying it then, even if there is a decent chance of getting rejected. Now, what makes you ineligible for this program?
- Providing the wrong information on the application. Even if you do not do it on purpose, failing to complete everything or entering the wrong information by mistake will most likely lead to rejection.
- Facing an investigation. It makes no difference if the investigation is conducted by a local agency, a state or federal one. Authorities will need to see the final result before proceeding.
- Being a convict. If you have been convicted before, you are considered risky, so your application will be rejected. Pending charges go in the same category.
- Being guilty of violating traveling laws in other countries. It makes no difference what laws you broke – custom laws, immigration regulations, and so on.
- Being inadmissibility to the country based on local immigration regulations. There is room for interpretation here.
- Being unable to prove that you are a low-risk citizen. The authorities will search and dig to ensure you are safe, but there might be dead ends.
Considering where you can use your global entry statusThere are dozens of enrollment centers all over the USA – these are the places where you can get the application done and even take your interview. Some of the most popular airport codes to find such centers include ABQ, ATL, BOS, LAS, MIA, JFK, and PHX.
The list is likely to be updated on a regular basis, as new centers pop up. Make sure you double check the official CBP website upfront and find the nearest center based on your location. Then, it is worth knowing where the booths and lanes are too.
For instance, if you only travel to certain places and there are no such fast lane options or booths, it is not worth signing up for the global entry program. Even if you can be approved straight away, what is the point of having it if you are less likely to use it?
At the moment, there are around 50 airports in the USA that allow skipping queues and going in for the fast lanes. There are also a few airports in other countries that provide similar benefits. Here are a few examples, yet you should always double check upfront:
- Abu Dhabi International Airport
- Chicago O’Hare International Airport
- Dublin Airport
- John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York
- Los Angeles International Airport
- San Francisco International Airport
- Toronto Pearson International Airport
How to get the global entry statusSo, you are interested in global entry. Dual citizenship is not required or discussed in the process and will not affect your application. Gaining entry into the program implies gathering all the required documentation first.
Apply over the Internet and make sure you have all the documents. Americans obviously have the most straightforward application for this status, but foreigners may need to provide more documentation. So, if you are an American, you need to begin with the Trusted Traveler portal.
Register on this governmental website and create your profile. Make sure every detail you include is correct. If you have a middle name, include it there. Do not go for your nickname or a short name, but the full name – just like it is in your passport. Everything must be official.
You will find the application form there. It takes a bit to complete it, and again, you must include all the details you have. Once done, you will be asked for the payment, which is about $100. The processing fee is not refundable. You will then need to wait.
Overall, the processing time should take a maximum of two weeks, but most people get a reply faster than that. Once approved, you need to log on to the Trusted Traveler website and get ready for a face to face interview. The interview cannot be taken online.
Fortunately, there are dozens of centers where you can take the interview in the USA. Most of them are located in or around airports, so it should not be too hard to find something close to you. As you try to book it, you will find more dates and times available.
The interview is not very long and will get you to pass if you meet all the eligibility criteria. If the interview is passed, you will need to give your fingerprints. You will also give a new photo. You can then start using your new status, as soon as you get all the proof and documentation.
Documents required for the applicationsDocuments required for this application tend to be confusing and may vary widely. For example, if you are British, you need a background check from local authorities first – you will need to register later. The same rule applies if you are Swiss – you need clearance from the local police first.
If you are Indian, you need the Trusted Traveler registration before getting the police clearance in India. On the other hand, those in South Korea must register on their own program first – Smart Entry Service – and then go for the American one.
There are different rules and regulations for different countries. Fortunately, the information is pretty straightforward, and the Trusted Traveler website will give you all the details you need – what to do first, where to go, and so on.
Now, talking about documents, make sure you have everything needed to complete the application. Here are some of the most popular documents you are likely to be asked for throughout the application. Make sure you get everything ready.
- Proof of citizenship, but it depends on your country.
- Passport or another form of identification, yet the passport is internationally recognized.
- Documentation regarding other citizenships.
- Proof that you can enter the USA, such as a visa.
- Permanent resident card if you live in the USA.
- Valid phone number.
- Valid email address.
- Court documents if you have had any convictions in the past.
- Vehicle details if you plan to visit the USA by driving a vehicle from Mexico.
- Address history over the last five years.
- Employment history over the last five years.
- Travel history over the last five years, if any.
- Valid driver’s license if you are coming to the USA by land – driving a car.
- Proof of address, such as a utility bill or perhaps a bank statement.
Alternatives to the global entry programThere are more such programs that could provide different benefits. Each of them comes with its own requirements and advantages. Benefits are similar, after all, but requirements may vary a little – here is what you need to know.
Nexus is aimed at those traveling between Canada and the USA. It helps travelers coming by land, sea, or air. Both Americans and Canadians can sign up for this program, which allows different lanes at the borders or skipping queues in airports.
The application and document requirements are similar – a quick form and an interview. The price is lower though – about $50 per adult, and kids under 18 can go in for free. However, there are less enrollment centers for this program than for the global entry.
The E-Passport App is similar and aims to make long and exhausting border controls easier. You need to perform the procedure about 24 hours before landing – or sooner. You need to answer a few questions about why you are visiting the USA, scan your passport, and get a QR code, which you will use to pass.
The app can be used for free, and since there are not so many people using it, queues are even shorter. It is aimed at Canadians and Americans only. Make sure your travel destinations accept it – there are less airports taking it when compared to the global entry scheme.
The TSA PreCheck program is handled by the Homeland Security agency, rather than the CBP. It is also included in the global entry scheme, but then, some travelers are not bothered about international travel – in this case, global entry passes are not required, so they could do with the TSA PreCheck alternative.
Applications are similar, but the TSA PreCheck costs around $85, so it is cheaper than the global entry program. However, the extra money will give you access to plenty of other opportunities – even if you are not planning to go abroad right now, it might be worth considering it for the future.
ConclusionBottom line, the global entry program is currently one of the most popular options out there and ensures less hassle and time spent at airports for frequent travelers. It is an affordable option for those who understand that time is money.
There are, indeed, a few alternatives that can help the same way, but they only work locally, or they cover certain countries. At the end of the day, it is only a matter of personal needs – consider where you travel, what airports you normally do, and how often you do it.