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How to apply for Global Entry

A step-by-step guide on how to apply for Global Entry and the interview process

Anna Meyer Photography

If you're an avid traveler like myself, then you know the life sucking experience of standing in line for customs after you've already been in the same clothes for 48 hours and just want to get the heck home! I did this far too many times before I decided to apply for Global Entry, which I actually did while waiting on this said line.

Global Entry allows you to expedite the process of waiting to go through U.S. Passport Control/Customs, by simply moving you to a line for "Global Entry" holders, which is far shorter, because well, you need to apply/pay for it. You'll be walking by the massive line of people waiting saying "see ya suckers!" Jk. But honestly, you'll be home taking a nice hot shower and snuggling up under your oh, so, missed sheets, while everyone else is still standing at the airport.

Step 1

I made the mistake of clicking on the first website I saw, which was a scam site, paid 100 bucks for an application, received nothing and went "ssss," "shoot." So, make sure the website you click on has that .gov tagged onto the end of it so you know its legit. (I swear it was the jet lag delirium)

Step 2

If you are on a desktop, click on the small box to the right of the page that says "Apply Now" If you are on a mobile version, you'll have to scroll down to the bottom and you'll see the same thing.

Step 3

"Choose a Program to Get Started"

Choose Global Entry and you'll also be applying for TSA Pre-Check! Double dose of efficiency right here. If you were coming into the country by car, or even by boat (for your cruisers), you can utilize this. Expedite your process leaving and coming home from your vaca. To apply for Global Entry, including TSA Pre-Check it is $100.

If you qualify for TSA Pre-Check on a flight, you are allowed to go through security without removing your shoes, belt, light outerwear, laptop and bag with liquids.  There is often a separate TSA Pre-Check line that is usually faster.  You will know if you are eligible for TSA Pre-Check as it will be printed on your boarding pass near your name.  Please note: TSA Pre✓ is only available when flying on certain airlines – the current list of airlines can be found on the TSA’s website.

Step 4

Create a login and begin your application process. You will need your passport for this. The application took about 5 minutes and includes the following questions:

  • Personal information (name, email address, gender, eye color, height, language preference)

  • Other names used

  • Date and place of birth

  • Contact information (home, mobile and work phone number)

  • Citizenship information (passport number, date of issue and expiration date)Driver’s license (number and expiration date)

  • Current addressAddress history (other addresses in past five years)

  • Current employment status (employer name, employment period, occupation, street address of employer and phone)

  • Employment history  (other employers in past five years)

  • Travel history (list any countries other than the US, Canada and Mexico traveled to within the past 5 years)

  • Additional information: Have you ever been convicted of a criminal offense in the United States or any other country? Have you ever received a waiver of inadmissibility to the U.S. from a U.S. government agency? Have you ever been found in violation of customs laws? Have you ever been found in violation of immigration laws?

Step 5

Wait to be Approved for an Interview. Once you are approved, Global Entry does not contact you via email so you will need to continuously check the website to see if you've been approved. I waited 4 months for my approval but I hear that that isn't the norm and it usually is much quicker than that.

Step 6

Schedule an Interview

Once you are approved, you will have access to scheduling an interview. You can select where you want to be interviewed and when, however, some Global Entry enrollment centers are busier than others, which had me interviewing in Philadelphia instead of my home town of Baltimore. If you have a limited period you want to receive your Global Entry you may have to travel to do so. I also heard you can just show up at your closest enrollment center, but I suggest scheduling it ahead of time.

Step 7

The Interview

I arrived at the enrollment center and was quickly invited into the interviewing room with a U.S. Customs + Border Control Officer. My interview took about 15 minutes however, there was another officer in the room with us who had cranked out 4 interviews in the span of mine. My officer asked me questions like,

  • Why do you want to have Global Entry?

  • How often do you travel?

  • Have you ever been convicted of bringing in food to the country that you did not claim?

  • Have you ever been arrested or convicted of a crime?

I had my fingerprints taken, a photo taken, and I was on my way.

What to Bring with you:

  • Passport

  • Driver's License

Step 8

Once Approved

Once approved your Global Entry dashboard online will have a traveler number which you could use immediately to qualify for TSA Pre-Check.  All you need to do is log into your frequent flyer account and put in the number in the known traveler number box.   Within about 10 days you will receive, by mail, your Global Entry Membership Card.

I am about to use my Global Entry for our next retreat to Greece coming up and will let you know how it goes! If you have any questions about the process of obtaining a Global Entry Membership, let us know!


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