Travel Tips: Global Entry

Do you hate waiting in line at security?  Do you hate going through customs?  Me too! Something about the security and customs lines always make me to break into a cold sweat. It must be all the times when I was carted off to the little room in the back for questioning before I got my green card (try explaining to a customs official what an actuary is!). Recently, I applied and got my Global Entry card.  

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Getty Images [via CNBC]

Global entry is a program offered by Customs and Border Protection. It allows for expedited screening on your way back into the US. This means no waiting in huge lines for customs after your long and grueling trip back home. You simply skip all the lines, walk up to a kiosk, scan your documents, and proceed through customs. It also has an added benefit of making you eligible for TSA Precheck. TSA Precheck grants you access to expedited security on your way into the airport, and it can be a lifesaver when you’re running late. Some of the benefits of TSA Precheck are:

  • No lines, like none, on many occasions I’ve made it from the curb to through security in under 5 minutes.
  • No need to remove shoes, belt, or jacket.
  • No need to take anything out of your bag, like laptop, bag of liquids etc.

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[via TSA.gov]

Not all airports have TSA Precheck, but if your local airport is a major hub then chances are it does.

The fee for all this expedited goodness is $100 application fee, and it is good for 5 years. The cost is high, but if you travel often, it’ll be completely worth it. Bonus, if you have American Express Platinum card, you will get the $100 fee reimbursed. After you fill out your application (which is quite extensive), it takes a month or two for it to be processed, and an email will be sent to you to set up a time for your interview.  The interview process is pretty painless; you go to the CBP office, watch a video, answer a few questions regarding your record, get your finger prints scanned and voila, done.

Hopefully, this tip makes traveling easier for you in the future. My Global Entry and little essentials that I bring in my carry-on help ease the flying ordeal.  We are flying to the West Coast today and heading to Yosemite national park tomorrow.  Check back here next week for more stories and pictures.  Happy Friday!

 

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