There was a time pre-9/11 when airport security lines moved faster, and you didn’t have to take your shoes off. For better or for worse, we seem to be stuck with obscene lines where we are collectively treated like sheep being hoarded into machines for examination by complete strangers. If only there were another way…
And there is. It's called Global Entry, and I'm going to show you how to get it, and how to get it fast.
Global Entry is a government program designed for you to regain some of your previous speed and dignity while making your way through the airport. That’s right! At the minor inconvenience of $100 and an interview process that usually takes months to setup, you can go back to experiencing some of the privileges enjoyed by travelers pre-TSA. You can leave your shoes on your feet, laptop in your bag, belt on your waist, and even a light jacket if you apply for and get approval from US Customs.
Okay, so I might be throwing a little shade, but going through the process really isn't that bad. And if you travel a lot internationally, it's definitely worth the time you'll save in the long run. Wanna jump to the head of the line at the airport? Get Global Entry. Here’s how:
Create a Global Online Enrollment System (GOES) account. Regardless of your age, you must have your own GOES account.
Log in to your GOES account and complete the application. A $100 non-refundable fee is required with each completed application. (Travel Hacking tip: Get your application fee refunded by paying for your application fee with the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card. Learn more about how we use credits cards to travel better here)
After accepting your completed application and fee, CBP will review your application. If your application is conditionally approved, then your GOES account will instruct you to schedule an interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center. Each applicant must schedule a separate interview.
You will need to bring your valid passport(s) and one other form of identification, such as a driver’s license or ID card to the interview. If you are a lawful permanent resident, you must present your machine readable permanent resident card.
Wait times for scheduling an interview to get Global Entry vary considerably throughout the country, but you do not have to schedule your appointment at the center nearest to your home address. I’m from Minnesota and still maintain an address there, but decided to schedule my interview while visiting Puerto Rico, saving me months of waiting. U.S.
Customs and Border Control claims to be working on improving wait times, but until they are able to find a way to speed things up substantially, don’t shy away from finding an office that will see you faster.
Once you’re approved for Global Entry you’re automatically eligible for TSA PreCheck, which allows you to skip to the front of the line when traveling domestically. You’re all set to use these programs for five years. When it is time to renew, simply pay the $100 fee, and reapply online. Scheduling another interview won’t be necessary in most cases.
And that’s all there is to it. Let us know about your experience and if you have any questions in the comments.