The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol’s Global Entry "trusted traveler" program offers the opportunity for international travelers to save valuable time. Is this program right for you? Here are a few details that might help in making that decision.
How Global Entry works:
Upon arriving stateside, Global Entry Program members can head to a kiosk -- rather than wait on a Customs agent -- and present a passport or U.S. permanent resident card and make their declarations. A transaction receipt is then printed and the traveler is directed toward baggage claim.
The Global Entry program is available to U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. Citizens of South Korea and the Netherlands and Mexican nationals also are eligible. Canadian travelers can partake in the program through the involvement with NEXUS. To be cleared for the program, applicants must be in good standing with Customs and Border Patrol as well as state, local and federal law enforcement organizations.
Global Entry application process:
The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol breaks down the Global Entry application process in great detail at its website. The Global Entry cost is a nonrefundable $100 fee, and the application requires an interview with a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer.
Is it worth it?
That determination is best made on a case-by-case basis. The program is designed for, but not limited to, frequent international travelers. It is available at about 40 airports throughout North America, so it probably also depends on which hubs a traveler frequents. The process of getting cleared to be part of the Global Entry program requires a “rigorous” background check and interview. All that said, the time spent on the front end to become a part of the program, can save a traveler the inconvenience of waiting on long airport lines on the back end.