The Global Entry Program is a program designed by the United States government to allow quicker movement through airports for people who are deemed “trustworthy.” This means that if you qualify, you can enter the U.S. without all of the hassle of paperwork and customs checks and get on with your business more quickly than those who must use the traditional method.
There are other benefits to the program as well, all of which you qualify for if you are accepted into the program. This can be a difficult task for some people, but for others, you just have to follow a few steps and you’ll be registered fairly quickly. Here a quick guide so you can see if you can simplify your travel with global entry.
Who’s Eligible For the Program?
If you are a citizen without a criminal past, then you may qualify for the Global Entry Program. This means that there are several things that may hinder your acceptance or may you outright ineligible. These things include:
Having been convicted of a criminal offense or have charges pending on you. While not every criminal offense will disqualify, any major crime, including DUIs, will instantly make you ineligible for the Global Entry Program. This is because the government is looking for trustworthy individuals and even if you’re no longer involved with any criminal activities, one strike in your past can render you ineligible.
Being the subject of an ongoing investigation. Your application will be denied if you are involved in any way with a current investigation.
Having been in violation of any agricultural or immigration laws in the past. This helps the government prevent the program from being used for smuggling illegal plants and animals.
It’s best to know these rules before you waste your time paying the application fee.
How do You Apply?
If you think that you are eligible for the Global Entry Program, then there are a few things you need to do.
First, you must create a Global Online Enrollment System (GOES) account. Fill out the application and pay the $25 fee. Once you are preliminarily accepted, you will need to schedule a security interview. Once the interview is scheduled, you will need to bring your current passport, another form of photo ID and fill out a basic contact information sheet.
You will also need to be prepared to submit a few other pieces of information, like any previous names, employment history, any foreign countries you’ve visited in the past and your address history for the last 10 years. The government will use this information to conduct a background check to make sure you are trustworthy.
On a case by case basis, you may also be required to show utility bills, mortgage payments or rent bills.
More on the Interview
The interview may take longer, but the typical timeframe is about 15 minutes, where the interviewer asks you questions once you’ve provided the personal information requested.
Just be honest with the security officer. They likely already know the answers to all of the questions they are asking you, so they are looking to see how trustworthy you are. They may ask about your previous travels and why you want to join the Global Entry Program, which will give them an idea about your travel intentions. They are tasked with helping to keep the airlines safe, so never lie to them or you will be quickly denied.
Remember: if you get the interview, there’s no reason to be nervous because they’ve already moved you on after the background check.
The Benefits of the Program
Is the global Entry Program worth the money and the time you put in? If you travel outside the country frequently, then the answer is a definite yes.
Not only will you be expedited after arriving back in the United States, you will automatically be enrolled in other countries’ programs that are similar, so you can move quickly through their airports as well. Your entry into the program also qualifies you for the TSA Pre-Check in the U.S., so you will be able to skip the long security lines and get checked more quickly.
While wait times will always vary, sometimes you can move from security to you gate in about a minute. And since the re-entry into the U.S. is done electronically, you won’t spend much time getting back home, either.
If you’re eligible for the program, it may be right for you.
Samuel Lewis writes about travel but he tries to leave the travel destination guides for other people to come up with, focusing himself on more detailed/useful pieces for a wider travel audience.
Featured Image from Flickr Creative Commons.