Last year, my husband got Global Entry. He travels for work on average once per month, and has found the hassle of the application process to be worth the benefits.
What is Global Entry?
Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection program that enables pre-screened applicants to have expedited re-entry into the United States. A few facts about Global Entry:
- It costs $100, but the following credit cards offer reimbursement of Global Entry fees:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase Ritz-Carlton
- Citi Prestige
- Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite
- American Express Platinum
- When traveling internationally, you can use a passport kiosk for expedited re-entry to the U.S. and skip the longer immigration lines.
- Global Entry includes TSA Pre√ which has the following benefits:
- Wear shoes, belt and jacket through the security checkpoint
- Keep laptops and liquids inside your bag
- Go through separate TSA Pre√ security lines (which are hopefully shorter) through participating airlines
Getting Global Entry requires filling out an online application that asks about your current and previous addresses, employment history and countries you have visited.
After your online application is conditionally approved, you must schedule an interview at an Enrollment Center. Most of the enrollment centers are located at major airports, and you can see your closest one here.
Global Entry expires after five years. If you have to renew your passport before your Global Entry expires, you must update your online profile with your new passport number or visit an Enrollment Center in person to scan your new passport.
Do kids need Global Entry?
Yes. No. Sort-of.
If you are traveling internationally and are using Global Entry for expedited re-entry into the United States, then yes, kids need their own Global Entry approval. They will not be able to bypass the immigration line with you unless they have their own Global Entry known traveler number.
However, if you are using the TSA Pre√ benefit of Global Entry to go through the faster airport security lines in the U.S., then kids ages 12 and under can go through TSA Pre√ with parents that have TSA Pre√ or Global Entry. So if you are only traveling domestically, the answer is no, kids don’t need Global Entry to get through the TSA Pre√ line with you.
Last fall, I got the Amex Platinum card with Global Entry reimbursement. My husband convinced me to apply for Global Entry since the TSA was cutting back on the number of low-risk passengers it would move to the TSA Pre√ line for free (see this post from One Mile at a Time for more information).
Since my husband and I both have Global Entry and my kids are all ages 12 and under, they have been able to join us in the TSA Pre√ line six times this year so far, and we still have three more flights before the end of the year. Totally worth it!
Why is my kid getting Global Entry?
We recently filled out the Global Entry online application for my oldest child. Why?
- He is turning 13 next year and he won’t be able to go through the TSA Pre√ line with us after his birthday. While some people report having luck getting moved over to the TSA Pre√ line without having TSA Pre√ or Global Entry, we have not found that to be the case at Dallas Love Field. In fact, one time the TSA agent said our kids couldn’t come with us through the line, but he was corrected by another officer.
- We have a few trips coming up, and we’d like to do his in-person interview while we are already going to be at an airport.
- It’s free! My husband recently got the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, and one of the benefits is the reimbursement of Global Entry fees. The statement credit was issued on the same day the $100 charge hit the account.
How long does it take to get approved for Global Entry?
Here was my son’s timeline:
9/25/16: Applied for Global Entry
10/2/16: Conditionally Approved for Global Entry and invited to interview
12/27/16: Interview at Global Entry Enrollment Center
We ended up finding an interview slot at our home airport for a day when my son would be off school. DFW used to have Saturday interview time slots, which is how I was able to get approved so quickly last year. However, Saturday interviews are no longer available.
We had hoped to get him an interview at the Denver Enrollment Center during our trip in November, but the earliest we could get an appointment there was next April. Yikes!
Who should get Global Entry or TSA Pre√?
For my family, Global Entry has been totally worth the time and effort. Going through airport security with my kids is a breeze! You should consider getting Global Entry if:
- You fly more than twice a year
- You travel internationally once a year or more
- You dislike long lines
- You are over age 12 and your parents already have it
- You have a credit card that reimburses the fee
TSA Pre√ is only $15 less than Global Entry, so if you are going to apply for one, it may as well be Global Entry.
Do you have Global Entry or TSA Pre√? Will you get it for your kids once they hit age 13?
P.S. I’ll be on vacation till next Friday, and may not be able to reply to questions or comments till I get back. Sorry!
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.