I Now Have Global Entry and You Should Get It Too*

It took me a couple months, but I am now a proud Global Entry (and therefore, TSA Pre Check) member. The process was a little confusing and somewhat annoying, but in the end there’s no question that it’s worth it. If you travel even a couple times a year, I’d suggest you join as well. (*If you don’t travel at all, it’d be pretty stupid.) Since I had to rely on the advice of some others in this confusing process, I thought I’d share what I learned so I can make it as easy for others to join this glorious program.

Global Entry is Glorious

I suppose I should back up and explain what the heck these two programs are. Global Entry is like a fast pass for customs and immigration when you come back into the US after traveling abroad. Instead of standing in line to speak with an agent, you can use a kiosk to pass through immigration. It prints out a receipt which gives you access to a priority line through customs. In general, it’s awesome except that you don’t get the person actually saying “welcome home” every time you come back. I always loved that, but if it saves me half an hour or more (as it often will), then I’m willing to make that sacrifice.

Still, for me the Global Entry program alone wasn’t worth it because I don’t travel abroad all that often. (Ok, 3 times this year, but normally I don’t.) Sure, it’s only $100 for 5 years but it’s the hassle of the initial sign-up that made me pass. But when TSA Pre Check came along, that changed things. Pre Check is a fast pass for airport security in the US. When you get the Pre Check line, you don’t have to take your shoes off, take your laptop out, etc. It’s pretty awesome, and it’s expanding to around 100 airports. Some airlines have been giving this to travelers who are elites in their frequent flier programs, but you can’t just sign up on your own. You have to go through a program like Global Entry.

So back in July I decided to give it a shot. If you’re a US citizen/permanent resident, Dutch citizen, South Korean citizen, or Mexican national, you can join the program. (Canadians can join via the Nexus program.) I went online and filled out the extensive application. I mean, this thing looks at your history going back for several years. It requires previous residences, everywhere you’ve traveled, and more. Once you finish filling it out, you pay the $100 fee (regardless of whether you get accepted or not), and then you wait.

It took one week until I received an email saying my application status had changed. I logged on and it told me that I had been approved for an interview so I just needed to schedule one. Good freakin’ luck.

The nearest enrollment center where I could get an interview was LAX. In fact, nothing else was even close. I went on to schedule my interview and was told nothing was available. Um, ok. So I went to Twitter and was told that LAX in particular is tough to get an interview. Just keep trying. So I did and maybe a week later, some dates opened up… in December. I was going to have to wait more than 4 months for this? Come on.

I went back to Twitter and some suggested just walking in instead of making an appointment. I thought about it, but I didn’t do it. Someone tried that while I was there and they were denied, so it may be hit or miss. Another person said to keep trying because other dates would open. Sure enough, in mid-August, a ton of dates opened up in September, so I snagged one for the 5th and was ready to go.

There are three things you need to bring to the Global Entry interview. First, you have to bring a copy of the letter that invites you to interview. I’m told that you’ll get into trouble if you don’t and it could delay things. Then you have to bring your passport (or whatever else you’d normally use to get into the country). Lastly, you need to bring proof of where you live. For me, my driver license worked out but if that doesn’t have your current address, you can bring something like a utility bill.

The big day came, and I prepared for a grilling. I was WAY over-prepared. I showed up at the Bradley Terminal at LAX and they told me to take a seat and wait. I saw a lot of people waiting there, so I was afraid it might take awhile, but I was wrong. Within 5 minutes, they had called me and another person to go back. The interview between me and the Customs/Border Patrol (CBP) officer went like this:

CBP: Have you been to Canada in the last 5 years?
Me: Yeah
CBP: Have you been to Mexico in the last 5 years?
Me: Nope
CBP: Ok, you’re all set.

I’m not exaggerating at all. It was that quick. Then he took my fingerprints, took a photo, gave me a pamphlet on Pre Check, explained the basics of Global Entry, and sent me on my way. It’ll take a couple of days for it to become active, but I can start using it right away once that’s done. They send a physical card as well, but I was told that it’s basically unnecessary unless I go into Australia or New Zealand. Then I can use their fast pass systems with that card.

And that was it. I’m looking forward to using it on my next flight. I’d suggest the same for anyone who is fed up with regular security lines, or immigration lines, or customs lines….

[Original photo via Shutterstock]


85 Responses to I Now Have Global Entry and You Should Get It Too*

  1. David says:

    Presumably those of us who have been places that the US Govt considers a bit dodgy in the last few years can forget about applying…

    • john says:

      Iran and Pakistan did not raise eyebrows.

    • Aaron says:

      I was worried having been to Iraq amongst many other countries in the Middle East but the only questions asked of me in my interview were, “Have you ever had trouble entering the U.S.” and “Have you ever been arrested.” That was it!

    • Joe says:

      My three visits to North Korea were not a problem, though they did ask me about them in the interview.

  2. Erik says:

    You actually can apply to TSA precheck on your own – they just rolled out a program for $85. It’s not available in most cities yet (IAD & IND only for now), but I assume it’s coming. Not exactly sure why someone wouldn’t just pay the extra $15 for GE though.

    My interview was more rigorous than yours, though not by that much. I was asked why I was applying, had to remember everywhere that I’d been in the last 5 years for the CBP officer, and was questioned a bit about why I went to Morocco. Still, not that bad.

    • stan says:

      the extra $15 for GE is well worth it if you plan to fly outside of the US even once in the next 5 years.

      a couple of weeks ago i used my GE for the first time departing YYZ for the US. there must have been 250 people waiting in line for immigration. i walked up to the empty kiosk, scanned my fingerprints, answered the four questions on the touch screen, handed the slip to the customs officer and that was it. it took maybe 90 seconds.

  3. Global Entry / Pre Check is amazing! Even faster than the elite lines at most airports, and the convenience of not removing shoes or laptops is great.

    Amex Platinum card holders get the fee reimbursed

  4. I agree the prgram is great but I am in a linbo from which there seems no escape.
    My GE card was issued after I proved my 1979 arrest for driving with expired registration and not paying the ticket (same cop stopped my on the day after the ticket was due–hey, it was in college), yet they can’t seem to get this cleared off their system no matter how many people try. I even tied my Congressman and got a non-sensical explanation of how to use the GE card after a clear explanation of the problem (ok, I didn’t vote for the guy anyway).
    So every time i enter the country I get taken into a little locked room while they sort it out. I’m treated like a criminal–not allowed to get up from the chair. I was yelled at to stay seated when i stood up to stretch.
    What a bureaucratic waste.

    • Tom says:

      I had a similar problem. A traffic issue that occurred 43 years ago!!! I was in limbo because no court or police records exist.

      I even became a police officer and this din not pop up until GE.

      In the end, a lot of talking on my part and a sympathetic agent got my treasured card.

  5. FBKSan says:

    Regarding ‘welcome home,’ I’d be with you except ‘welcome hone’ is usually preceded by ‘where were you? Why did you go there? Why are you comeing back? What do you do for a living? Why’d you pick that job? What’s your dog’s name? Why don’t you have a cat?’ No thanks.

    Unfortunately, some airport (e.g., ORD) have you talk to a human AFTER the kioskn which slows things down and adds hassle. Hopefully that won’t spread.

    FYI you also need that card if you want to return to the US from Canada by road (more quickly than you would otherwise).

    • Tower18 says:

      The land border card you’re referring to is NEXUS, and yes, you need the card and land crossings. However, you cannot use Global Entry at Canadian land crossings…only NEXUS.

      Hence, if you travel to Canada even somewhat frequently, you must get NEXUS instead of Global Entry. It’s even cheaper!

      NEXUS gets you Global Entry, and costs $50
      Global Entry DOES NOT get you NEXUS, and costs $100

      • ptahcha says:

        Except you have to do your NEXUS interview in Canada, which may be more cost than Global Entry.

        Also, the Global Entry card does grant you land entry out of Canada into US.

  6. Neil S. says:

    I joined about 8 months ago – before a lot of the press started happening. Once I was notified to schedule my interview, I had my choice of days and times, starting the day I got the email.

    My interview at JFK was about as rigorous as yours. They asked 3 questions confirming things I’d said online, and fingerprinted me. The longest part was being made to sit and watch the video about using the kiosks.

    And though it’s likely obvious, enter the GE number in the Known Traveler section of all of your airline profiles. I had some bad luck at the beginning at LGA trying to use Pre by showing my GE card. More my fault, and fixable.

    Very excited about the new locations.

  7. So one day these quicker/short ‘special’ lines will be slower and longer then the non-special lines. The more people that use them at major airports the longer/slower things will become.

    Who knows, maybe one day standing in the regular line behind first time travelers with seven kids and 90 year old grandparents will be faster…..lol

    • Stefan says:

      I’ve had a few experiences when the precheck line actually looked longer than the normal line. But remember, everyone in this line is a pretty seasoned traveler. Practically everyone has one bag. Nobody has to rifle through all of their belongings to pull out liquids and laptops. Nobody has to take their shoes off. You just throw your bag on the belt and walk right through.

  8. Ogi says:

    JFK was a dream – the whole process was 5 minutes and i got approved while sitting in front of the CBP officer. I didn’t bring the letter though – I just pulled it up on my phone.

    • stan says:

      JFK is a great place to do the interview. they have slots 7 days a week and lots of open space (at least they did 9 months ago when i had my interview)

  9. Shane says:

    Global Entry and Pre-Check are great. In the interview, they have your full immigration record so when they ask questions, they are trying to see if you fully disclosed where you have been. My interviewer asked about me being in Mauritius when I was actually in Mauritania (big difference) which added a whole 1 minute to my interview.

    The most important thing when you use Global Entry is if you have a doubt about whether to declare something or not, declare it. I had a questioanble item and declared it. It turned out to be OK, but they Customs officer at Dulles said you are better off declaring then getting caught and losing your global entry, which is what will happen even if you forget about that apple from the hotel in your backpack that the dog finds. If you declare, they have expedited lines for GE members (at least at IAD).

  10. Chan says:

    I just went through LAX on Pre-Check last week. It was awesome. I’m actually less annoyed at having to get on a plane in a week because of it. Definitely worth the $100.

  11. MGW says:

    I got GE about 4 years ago and love it every time I use it. Pre global entry, I would wait in line for 30-60 minutes at customs at IAD and ORD, but now, I’m through basically as fast as I can walk. They also have permanent lines at airports now that they didn’t have in the early days, which really speeds things up and reduces the angry glares of passengers waiting in the non-GE line. On a return trip from London, I went through while my wife waited and had time to get our bag, get lunch, and then get our car before she got through the lines.

    Pre-check is basically the same way. Security is basically a non-event that takes 30 seconds. My wife initially was skeptical and didn’t think that normal security in the elite line was that bad, but one day she went through one way and I went through pre-check and even in situations with minimal lines, it saves 10-15 minutes.

    If you travel more than once a year, I highly recommend getting global entry. Once you have it, you will wonder how you ever traveled without it.

  12. Laura La says:

    My interview was about 15 minutes long! They asked me about my income; who I know in the United Kingdom and Brazil; what I was doing in Singapore, Indonesia, and Turkey; how often I travel outside the US; how many days long on average my trips outside the US are; what countries I was planning to visit in the near future; what airline I fly most often; and about my two ex-husbands.

    On the bright side, my final approval email arrived about three hours after I got home from my interview.

  13. Katherine says:

    I have had it for about 4 months now and love the TSA PreCheck–out of Logan Terminal A, it makes a HUGE difference in time to get through security. I travel internationally quite a bit and have found Global Entry a little finicky on the kiosks. The last time I flew out of Calgary, the machines just would not read my GE card. It was easily fixed as the immigration officer gave me a card and processed my passport/documents quickly. I will get to test it out at Logan Airport later this month! Totally worth the $100 for me.

  14. Matt H says:

    I have been a Nexus/Global Entry since 2008 and can tell you it is so worth it. At the time, I was traveling to Canada weekly. That has stopped, but the ability to skip the long lines at passport control whenever I travel internationally makes it worth the $100…to me, at least. Adding Pre-Check access makes it all the better.

  15. Tica says:

    Global Entry is awesome. You zip through quite fast not only thought immigration but also through the special line at customs. Unfortunately, not sure what is wrong but I have yet to be cleared for TSA pre-check.

    since I applied in Miami they asked when had last been to Cuba!

  16. MCB says:

    I joined last year, it was much easier to get an appt in DFW and the C&I lines there can be more than an hour. Best investment ever. I used Global Entry in Australia a couple of times this year and only needed my passport not the GE Card

  17. Do not lose your Global Entry card. I lost it during a move, and to get a replacement card they put you through it all over again, only it takes longer! And if you don’t live in the same city anymore, you have to travel hundreds or perhaps thousands of miles because they make you go through an interview again. I requested the replacement in June, was told in September I was approved for an interview and could now schedule an interview, got an interview scheduled for January, and I’ll have to fly to the interview!!!

    • ptahcha says:

      You can apply for an interview at any locations where there’s Global Entry office. My initial interview was at IAH. I had an issue with my passport when I became an US citizen, and they were able to resolve it at DFW.

  18. James says:

    No, no, no…Global Entry is awful! No one should sign up for it. I have it, and I hate it. Don’t sign up for it. Let those of us who signed up for it suffer. You’ll regret it if you sign up for it. It’s much better to stand in the regular immigration line than ever go through Global Entry. Just say no!

  19. Paul says:

    I have been a member of GE for two years and it paid for itself twice over by getting through ORD immigration and customs and catching my connecting flight after late arrivals. PreCheck has been great this summer when flying out of ORD on Friday evenings.

    Don’t undrstand the frustration mentioned in the beginning of the post… maybe the Cranky Flier is just cranky.

  20. I joined the program in March of 2012. I returned two months ago from a week-long trip to St. Martin and flew into Newark. What a difference Global Entry made; I was told I didn’t have to fill-out the immigration form the airline folks pass out on board when coming back to the USofA. I got the “Welcome Home” greeting from the agent who collected my receit from the machine. It was the best – and quickest – $100 I ever spent – at SFO. Pre-Check automically shows up on my boarding passes and makes going through local security, even at ORD, painless.

  21. Nick says:

    I have had Global Entry for some years now (it feels like that anyway) so how do I get an invite for TSA Pre Check, as a colleague of mine who flies little got it automatically – what is the magic here – I have also signed up for Clear to make life easier. I’m a Brit travelling on a British passport, have been resident in this country for 17 years – no US passport. Any bureaucratic sages out there?

    • stan says:

      add your trusted traveler number to your profile on the web site of every airline you fly. i did this and i get pre check 100% of the time.

      • Stefan says:

        This is the last, very important step Brett left out of the article. You do have to wait for the card to come in the mail and find the number on the back. This number has to be entered in your reservation in order to use precheck.

        • CF says:

          Stefan – You do not need the card for that. When you receive your initial letter to get an interview, your number is assigned and appears there.

    • CF says:

      Nick – If you have Global Entry, you’re eligible for Pre Check. As stan says, make sure you put the number in all of your profiles or reservations.

  22. Ed Kelty says:

    We were grandfathered into Global Entry through our membership in Nexus – the Canada/US border crossing card. After approval of our histories, we were interviewed by two US and two Canadian agents on the border at Champlain, NY, who politely wanted to know why we were going to Canada so often. They took our photos and fingerprints which allowed us entry by land or sea. However, we had to go to a Canadian airport to get the iris scan for entry by air since at that time the machines were not available in the US.

    All had been going well until our last trip to Atlanta. Leaving DCA, I had to take everything out of my pockets including paper maps. On the return, we were picked for random rejection and had to hike over to the regular line where again we had to get rid of all paper as well as metal from our pockets, take shoes off, etc. It is great when it is working for you.

    • Hunter says:

      I’ve noticed since activating the GE on top of my PreCheck, I haven’t once been rejected for PreCheck. Prior to that it has happening about 40-50% of the time.

  23. JD says:

    As a brit who comes in and out every week or two with hand luggage most of the time it has changed my life. A superb system

  24. Hunter says:

    I did my interview in MSP and it took about 45 minutes. I was questioned at length about my previous trips to Manila, Hong Kong, Peru and Honduras, which out of all the counties on my list seemed mostly like odd choices to be concerned about. I’ll finally be using my GE for the first time next month, so I’m pretty excited. I only did it because UA paid for it, as I was already in PreCheck.

  25. Dale says:

    What’s the difference between NEXUS and global entry?

    • Alex Hill says:

      NEXUS allows Global Entry-like entry to Canada in addition to everything Global Entry does. And, despite being more useful, it costs $50 instead of $100!

      The drawback is the NEXUS interview has to be at a station with Canadian officials, which is US-Canada border crossings or one office in Seattle.

  26. gary says:

    Been using it for almost a year. Fee is covered by AMEX if you have a platinum card. Atlanta airport has 2 locations (behind security and an office park nearby where CBP has offices), so they have more slots for interviews. It’s great and am looking forward to roll outs at more airports.

  27. Martin says:

    How come you can use it to use Smartgate to enter Australia and NZ but we cannot use Global Entry??

  28. I haven’t traveled much internationally the last ten years or so. Out of curiosity, can you still get your passport stamped when using GE? Aside from having a passport full of stamps (which is cool), it helps jog the memory when in a background check questionnaire, I’m asked all of the places I’ve traveled internationally.

    • CF says:

      Hajime Sano – I’m assuming you can’t get your passport stamped if you use Global Entry, but remember, that’s only for when you come back into the US. You still get the cool stamps from all the countries you visit.

    • CP says:

      The past several times I’ve come back into the U.S. (at both LAX and DFW), they’ve not been stamping my passport, anway. Instead, they’ve been stamping the blue immigration card.

      • Alex Hill says:

        Indeed, no stamps in the passport when you enter the US with Global Entry. Incidentally, Australia stopped stamping my (US) passport on arrival in January too, even when I go to a passport control agent instead of the SmartGate. I think they’re now tracking all entries electronically instead. I’m in favour, as I filled up a third of the visa pages with stamps within six months of getting my new passport — and I don’t travel nearly as much as some. Getting additional pages is a hassle and costs some money, so happy to put it off!

    • Actually, I like having stamps for travel in both directions. There is less chance of my leaving out an overseas trip when I fill out a security clearance form or background check form.

      I can see it being a problem though for those who travel enough to fill-up their passport pages before they expire.

      • ptahcha says:

        Depending on what passport you are holding, but definitely no passport stamping with Global Entry. That confused the CBP officer who was doing my citizenship interview. Also, I don’t believe CBP stamp in US passports anymore.

  29. Mark Wheatley says:

    This is now a weak spot in our security structure. Now that this class of people are not screened along with everyone else, anyone wishing to harm us will focus on cultivating a method of attack via this vector.

  30. Alex Hill says:

    Even for Australia, you don’t need the Global Entry card (and it in fact won’t do you any good). You need a US e-passport which has been approved for global entry (or, of course, any Australian or Kiwi e-passport), and you slide it into a machine reader just like the US global entry machines. The machine gives you a receipt which you take to a gate. The gate photographs you and, if you match, on you go. Brilliant, fast, and easy; can easily save 30 minutes at SYD (my home base).

  31. Jim says:

    There are other ways you can get Pre-check. If you are flying United, you can sign up on their website for free (just need to be a Mileage Plus member). Other airlines reserve it for their elite level customers. Or you can sign up for Nexus for $50.

    However, I will not sign up. I find it offensive to be asked to pay extra money to avoid being groped and harassed at the airport.

    This program also makes no sense. A terrorist could easily pay the money to get the expedited screening and sneak something onto the plane.

    • stan says:

      your statement is ludicrous.

      there are few differences in the screening:

      – no removal of shoes
      – laptops can stay in their cases
      – jackets can stay on

      there is nothing on this list that could allow a terrorist to “sneak something onto the plane”

  32. yo says:

    I had to go through numerous security background checks and all that, plus face to face interviews, credit checks, interviews with friends and neighbors, employers for a State Department job. They went deep.

    Still, I’ll probably do the pre-check, I loathe the TSA and the shoes and the laptop and all that BS.

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  34. Evelyn Penn says:

    I, too, opted for Global Entry because I didn’t think my airline would get around to offering me the PreChek. And I occasionally fly to Canada for business so figured the money was well-spent. I have not been unhappy. Leaving computer in bag, shoes and jacket on, and not being behind families with children and strollers has been wonderful. I am not against the above mentioned families, but just want to get thru security and on my way.

    My appointment was, initially, three months away after being accepted for the interview – and I had the appointment at Dulles (IAD) which is not my favorite airport. Luckily, they opened a center in Washington, DC; sent me an email notifying me of the new center and I was able to make an appointment within two weeks. Have been using my new “status” since May and couldn’t be happier.

  35. Rog says:

    Be careful with GE. There is a $100 application fee, which is non-refundable. They do a very rigorous background check. Have a previous drunk driving conviction? Forget it. Ever been in a drug diversion program? Don’t even bother. Any previous customs violations? Don’t even think about it.
    And, yes, you can appeal a denial, but it is very rare that they overturn their decision. Their decision is usually final. They purposely make the appeal process as vague as possible to discourage you from trying.
    Good luck if you fit into any one of these categories.

    • Karl Yoder says:

      While the background check is indeed rigorous, having a single misdemeanor (including a DUI) does not automatically disqualify you if (a) it was only one ever, and (b) conviction date was over 10 years ago. That said, they can choose to deny you for any reason and don’t have to say why. I don’t know about drug-related incidents but common sense would indicate that’s a no-go (since drugs and customs don’t mix well).

      This is not to imply that getting a DUI is somehow “OK”, simply that it does not result in automatic disqualification.

  36. jonathan reed says:

    The government has work to do. A few years ago I went thru the Nexus application. Had to make an appointment in a border town (US/Canada or US/Mexico). Got the card. A couple of years later I got my wallet stolen with my card. To get a replacement I would have to make an appointment for an interview in a border town. Why? They had already scanned my retinas. With
    presumably adequate security in every airport in the country why can’t interviews, if needed, be conducted in more locations?

    • This explains perhaps why I have gone through more work to get a replacement card than I did when I got my original Nexus card. I, too, have to go to Seattle, not nearby Portland. It seems that I am reapplying all over again. When i go for my interview in January in Seattle it’ll have been more than 6 months. I could have gone up to Blaine and cut a month and a half off that time, but it’s very inconvenient. When this card is renewed will I be required to go through the same procedures again? I hope not. I’ve attempted to complain, but talk about reaching deaf ears, they just don’t care.

  37. John K says:

    Your lucky they didn’t make you sit through that boring video.

  38. Cherry says:

    It is the greatest thing ever. It saves a lot of time! However, the process of getting it was very annoying. But still, a great system!

  39. Scott says:

    GOES is very much worth the money you have to spend to get it. Plus, my domestic tickets always say “TSA Pre-Check”; however, I have had both hips replaced and three back fusions and I always set off the “beeper” when I go through the metal detector which means I still have to take off my shoes and my belt, empty my pockets, etc., and get a pat-down. So, anyone with medical appliances in their body should not think “TSA Pre-Check” will save them any time.

  40. cahdot says:

    i got GOES last year and it works well but i never have Pre check on my boarding pass?? will have to check…also i previously went to HK and Vietman so my GOES took a little longer;

  41. BRog says:

    I was one of the first to sign up for Global Entry (according to my interviewer at ORD) almost 5 years ago, so my credentials are about to expire and I’m in the process of renewing, so I will keep you posted. So far the system seems to be similar for renewals (although the interface is better than when first launched – the first time around it kept timing out when I was entering the countries I had visited in the previous five years).

    I couldn’t get an interview for a few months, but I may try on my next trip to see if I can walk in to be sure I get it done before the expiration. It will be interesting to see if there is any difference in this interview vs. the last (which was very simple, just a few innocuous questions, about 3 minutes). I have added Russia and the Middle East as part of my travel circuit now (vs. mostly Western Europe the last time around) so we’ll see if they ask about those specifically. The fee was the same ($100), but United Global Services is covering it this time around, so that’s a bonus.

    I love Global Entry – it has meant I have been able to make connections where it would have been impossible without it and my average time from touchdown to downtown Chicago is about 1 hour (with no checked luggage and not at rush hour, of course). And I love never having to fill out the blue customs card. My one complaint is that every airport runs it a little differently after you go through the kiosk process, which is a bit annoying, especially where they make you wait in another line to see an officer.

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  43. EW says:

    Even a traffic ticket can result in denial.

  44. TR says:

    I finished GOES in December. I haven’t had a TSA Precheck show up on a single flight yet. I have my number in all my airline websites attached to my frequent flier account, but it hasn’t worked.

  45. Dan Comstock says:

    I tried to enroll in Pre Check, but no appointments available. Since I live about 100 miles from the Albuquerque enrollment center it’s not very convenient to drive down and then *hope* I can do a walk-in. After poking around on the web a little I saw a mention of the fact that Global Entry gives you its own advantages (with no requirement for a minimum number of uses) plus Pre Check for only $15 more. I was able to get an appointment for the very next day, and my notice of approval arrived while I was driving home. Now I’m seeing mentions around the web that people are taking mini-vacations in New Mexico just to take advantage of the lack of crowds at the enrollment center here. The only hitch I had in the entire process (so far) was having to wait in line for about 5 minutes at the gas station. Whole thing took about 24 hours from filling out the form online and scheduling my appointment to getting my approval, although of course I still have to wait for my card to arrive in the mail.

    • Steve E says:

      I did the online application in late February. It took about 4 days before my status changed and I could make the appointment. In the Seattle area, appointments are about a month out. Unfortunately, the first one available and convenient to my schedule was the day I’d be flying out on a long weekend vacation.
      But since my wife hasn’t done her application yet, I’d have skipped pre-check with her anyhow.

  46. Robert says:

    I just renewed my Global Entry (having signed up some 5 years ago), and I didn’t have to do another interview. So at least that’s some time saved. You don’t have to worry about a second interview when your membership expires.

    Of course they didn’t really do any questioning during the interview, only taking my fingerprint, my picture, and teaching me how to use the kiosk.

    All is good.

  47. Anna says:

    A word of caution:
    If you have any arrests in your history, even if you were found innocent or no charges were ever pressed, and even if the record is legally expunged, by signing up for Global Entry and giving them your finger prints, you will forever be selected for additional screening (bodily and luggage search) every time you go through border control for any reason and in any line. It is NOT easier if you have any history whatsoever, innocent or otherwise. This is not made clear before the application process.

    • Joe says:

      I had an incident 41 years ago (caught with 4 prescription diet pills) which I disclosed on my application. My application was conditionally approved. Does that mean I’m okay, or would they wait until the interview to reject the application? Do they do the majority of the screening/rejecting before the conditional approval or at the interview?

  48. EJ says:

    Note that if you get Nexus it is only $50 and covers you for the exact same benefits as Global Entry as well as fast entry into Canada and Mexico. I learned the hard way, I got Global Entry and since I was traveling to Canada often for work, I applied for Nexus to get the perk of bypassing customs lines and interrogation there too. My short interview, retina scan and $50 got me all that and it invalidated my Global Entry card. All I need is the Nexus card to do everything the GE card did. What a scam. I spent $150 when I really only needed to apply for the Nexus card to get all the GE benefits and more. Just go Nexus folks, trust me!

  49. Amanda says:

    My “interview” was even quicker.

    I walked in. Officer asks for passport and letter. Did he want my driver’s license? Nope– no need. No questions. My picture looks weird and is kind of crooked…

    Weird. But… glad it was quick and easy?

  50. Neville says:

    There are two different numbers on the back of my global entry card. One is the PassID towards the top left and the other, in larger font, is also a 9-digit number on the right side. Does anyone know what the difference signifies?

  51. Steve says:

    I too am confused about the PassID number and a Known Traveler Number – which one do you use for PreCheck?

  52. Dan says:

    Steve, you put your PassID Number into the Known Traveler Number. Neville, the PassID Number is the only number to be concerned with.

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