Few of us on this planet enjoy waiting in long lines. That’s where Global Entry offers a significant advantage to the international traveler.

Belonging to the family of trusted traveler programs run by the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency, Global Entry sets out to reduce the time spent in lines by using facial recognition technology for pre-approved low-risk travelers reentering the U.S.

In this article, we’ll break down the benefits of Global Entry, the eligibility requirements and the application process. We’ll answer the following questions as we go through:

  • Is Global Entry worth it?
  • How long does Global Entry last?
  • How much is Global Entry?

Is Global Entry Worth It?

So, is Global Entry worth it?

That’s the question we’re setting out to answer.

The benefits of Global Entry can be more than worthwhile for the frequent international traveler. Even if you fly internationally just a handful of times during the five-year membership period, Global Entry could be of value to you.

Expedited CBP processing can remove the stress of long lines and allow you more time to enjoy the better aspects of air travel, like airport lounges.

After we have discussed the features and associated costs of Global Entry, you’ll be in a better position to figure out if it’s worthwhile for you.
The Benefits of Global Entry
With Global Entry membership, you can say goodbye to long immigration lines and intrusive security screenings.

Instead of waiting in a long line to have your passport and identity verified by a CBP officer, you’ll have access to dedicated Global Entry kiosks with facial recognition technology when reentering the U.S.

With Global Entry, the whole verification process can take less than 30 seconds.

You’ll find Global Entry kiosks at more than 70 airports at home and abroad. The CBP has a network of preclearance locations equipped with Global Entry kiosks. If you use Global Entry kiosks abroad, you’ll clear CBP processing before you even land in the U.S. You can experience the convenience of preclearance CBP processing at the following international airports:

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (AUH)Montreal (YUL)
Aruba (AUA)Nassau, Bahamas (NAS)
Bermuda (BDA)Ottawa, Ontario (YOW)
Calgary, Alberta (YYC)Shannon, Ireland (SNN)
Dublin (DUB)Toronto (YYZ)
Edmonton, Alberta (YEG)Vancouver, British Columbia (YVR)
Halifax, Nova Scotia (YHZ)Winnipeg, Manitoba (YWG)

The convenience of Global Entry membership doesn’t stop there.

As a Global Entry member, you’ll receive a Known Traveler Number (KTN). This number grants you complimentary access to TSA PreCheck® lanes when flying out of the U.S., expediting security screenings.

As a TSA PreCheck member, gone are the days of having to remove your belt, shoes, liquids and laptop during security screenings. Instead, you’ll enjoy a less intrusive, expedited security processing check in a dedicated lane.

Additionally, Global Entry members are also eligible to use Nexus lanes when reentering the U.S. via northern land borders.

Global Entry Benefits, Eligibility, and Application Process

Global Entry Kiosk | Photo by Josh Denmark Courtesy U.S. Customs and Immigration

Eligibility and Application Process

To be eligible for Global Entry, you’ll need to be either a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident or a non-U.S. citizen from an eligible foreign country. Citizens from the following countries can apply for Global Entry:

Canada*MexicoSouth Korea
SwitzerlandUnited KingdomTaiwan**

* Canadian citizens can receive complimentary Global Entry membership via Nexus membership.

** Keep in mind that Global Entry policies, requirements and rules often change. For the latest policies, consult the International Arrangements page of the Global Entry website.

In addition to citizenship requirements for Global Entry, your application could be denied if you:

  • Have criminal convictions, outstanding warrants or pending criminal charges; if you’ve violated immigration, customs or agriculture laws of any country; are being invested by any law enforcement agency
  • Failed to provide the necessary information, or provided any false information, on your application
  • Are inadmissible to the U.S.
  • Have previously been denied purchase of a firearm

While there is no age requirement for Global Entry membership, children under 18 do require the consent of a parent or guardian.

If you meet the eligibility requirements for Global Entry, you can begin your application by creating a trusted traveler account. You’ll then submit required information and identity documents, as well as pay the nonrefundable application fee of $100 for enrolling.

After submitting your Global Entry application, you need to wait until you receive conditional approval. This allows you to attend an interview. You can book your interview at a CBP enrollment center near you.

You also have the option to complete your Global Entry enrollment interview on arrival, via the enrollment on arrival (EoA) scheme. This enables you to complete your Global Entry interview at an international CBP preclearance airport or a participating U.S. airport upon arrival, saving you hassle when enrolling.

If your interview is successful and you’re approved for Global Entry, you can expect to receive your membership card in the mail within two to four weeks after approval.

Global entry benefits, eligibility and application process.

With Global Entry, it can remove the stress of long queues and allow you more time to enjoy the better aspects of air travel, like airport lounges.

Making the Most of Global Entry: TSA PreCheck and Kiosks

So, how do you use Global Entry for TSA PreCheck?

Global Entry membership gives you a dedicated KTN. This enables you to use TSA PreCheck lanes for expedited security screening. This will save you the hassle of unpacking laptops and liquids, as well as taking off your shoes, belt and light jacket. You’ll experience a quicker security processing check, as well as lower your risk of leaving valuables behind.

If you’re wondering how to use Global Entry kiosks for expedited processing, here’s how it works.

When entering the U.S., you’ll use a Global Entry kiosk that verifies your identity with facial recognition technology. After verification, assuming you have nothing to declare to customs, you’ll be able to proceed onward with your travel.

In some cases, Global Entry kiosks may require you to scan your passport and will issue you a receipt to be presented to a CBP officer before proceeding. However, most airports are phasing out this system, so it’s likely you won’t even need to do this.

And in the case that Global Entry kiosks are unavailable, you’ll still have priority privileges in standard passport control lines, expediting the customs clearance process.

Validity Period and Renewal

So how long is Global Entry good for?

Global Entry membership is valid for five years.

You’ll be able to renew your membership one year before its expiry date. And if you submit a renewal application before your membership expires, you can still use Global Entry up to 24 months after the expiry date, in the case that renewing takes longer than anticipated.

To renew your membership, log into your trusted traveler account and click the “Renew” button in the Global Entry dashboard. You’ll need to declare your citizenship status, confirm the program you wish to renew and confirm that you acknowledge the requirements for Global Entry.

From here, you can follow the guidelines on the Membership Renewal page and update the relevant information. Once this is done, you’ll be redirected to the Final Review page, where you’ll need to select “Confirm and Continue” in each section. Click “Save and Continue”, and you will be brought to the Certify page where you can select either “yes” or “no.”

Lastly, you’ll reach the purchase summary page where you can click “Pay Now” and pay the nonrefundable Global Entry application fee of $100.

While interviews aren’t necessary when renewing Global Entry, it’s best to check your trusted traveler account regularly for updates regarding your membership status.

The Cost and Details of the Global Entry Interview

To apply for Global Entry, you’ll pay a non-refundable application fee of $100.

Because all travelers wanting access to Global Entry kiosks require Global Entry membership, this means that children and infants must also pay the $100 fee. Likewise, there aren’t any discounts for seniors or military members.

Every applicant must attend a Global Entry interview to complete their enrollment. This can either be at an enrollment center near you or at a preclearance location abroad through the EoA program. Currently, airports in Aruba, Bermuda, Canada, Ireland, the Bahamas and the United Arab Emirates offer the possibility of CBP interviews.

Global Entry interviews conducted via enrollment on arrival don’t need to be pre-booked. However, you’ll need to make sure that the opening hours of the interview location align with your flight time and that you leave enough time for the interview before your flight (if done at a preclearance location abroad on a departing flight).

Be sure to bring your passport, as well as documents providing evidence of residency and your permanent resident card (if applicable), to your Global Entry interview.

Other Considerations and FAQs

If you’re considering a Global Entry membership, first consider your travel habits and goals. If international travel plays at least a semi-frequent role in your life, then Global Entry membership could be of significant benefit to you.

Likewise, you need to consider who travels with you.

Keep in mind that every companion traveling with you needs their own Global Entry membership to access Global Entry kiosks, regardless of age or familial relation. That means if you have a large family with kids, the cumulative cost of application fees could get quite high. In this case, you’ll need to consider if you fly often enough to justify this cost. This is where a travel rewards credit card that reimburses the Global Entry application fee can be of great value.

Here are the answers to some FAQs about Global Entry:

Are there any discounts for Global Entry membership renewal?

No. Global Entry renewal will cost you the exact same fee of $100.

What is the Global Entry mobile app?

The Global Entry mobile app allows members to submit their photos and travel documents via the CBP Global Entry app, enabling them to skip the kiosk. This further expedites the CBP processing experience. Clearance with the app is available at the following airports only:

  • Dulles International Airport (IAD)
  • George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  • Miami International Airport (MIA)
  • Orlando International Airport (MCO)
  • Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT)
  • Seattle Tacoma International Airport (SEA)

Do Global Entry members get front-of-the-line privileges at all U.S. airports?

No. Front-of-the-line privileges are available at airports with Global Entry only, when kiosks are unavailable.

How do I replace a lost Global Entry membership card?

You can request a new Global Entry membership card through your trusted traveler account, for a replacement fee of $25.

What’s better, Global Entry or TSA PreCheck?

Global Entry expedites CBP processing upon arrival into the U.S. while TSA PreCheck expedites the physical security screening process on flights departing the U.S. If you take domestic flights only, TSA PreCheck is all you need to make your airport experience smoother. But if international travel is on your agenda, then the extra $22 for Global Entry membership is worthwhile. Plus, Global Entry includes a TSA PreCheck membership.

For a deeper discussion, check out this article on Global Entry versus TSA PreCheck.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

To return to our original question “Is Global Entry worth it?”, the answer depends on your individual travel goals as well as the people with whom you travel.

For the frequent international flyer, the cost of Global Entry can quickly be offset through frequent travel. But Global Entry could still be worthwhile for the occasional international and semi-frequent domestic flyer, since they too can benefit from TSA PreCheck membership during the physical screening process on domestic flights.

Just be sure to consider who you’re likely to fly with. If you’re the only one with Global Entry membership, you’ll either have to wait for the rest of your travel companions as they go through normal CBP processing or skip the Global Entry kiosks altogether and join them in the line. This would negate the benefits of Global Entry, making it harder to offset the $100 membership fee.

If you’re considering Global Entry membership, keep in mind that many travel rewards credit cards offer statement credits toward the nonrefundable application fee, reimbursing you and giving you free membership. For example, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, the Capital One Venture X Business, and certain IHG One Rewards program credit cards all offer fee reimbursements of up to $100 for Global Entry.

This not only benefits the solo traveler but offers an even greater advantage to the larger family or group, who can cover membership costs for multiple children or companions with greater ease.