Have you recently landed in Houston airport and seen the massive queue ahead of you with 5 officers sitting in the 30 booths available?
Personally, I´ve always wondered what Global Entry was all about and how you avoid going through the processing lines. In Sweden and the EU we have electronic passports you scan in a booth which simplifies and automates the entry process. Even though USA passport holders have the same electronic passports the process is nowhere near as simple and due to Custom Border Patrol regulations long waiting times are nearly always inevitable. Not any more thanks to Global Entry a virtual processing system.
The obvious benefits are:
No processing lines.
Access to expedited entry benefits in other countries.
Available at all the major US airports.
Reduced waiting times.
TSA PRE Eligibility.
You also get Sentri with it which will help you cross the US border by land much faster due to it´s special lane.
Here are some myths and truths about Global Entry.
Myth: Global Entry is only for US Citizens.
Truth: U.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents and citizens of a few other countries are eligible for Global Entry membership. Global Entry is also available to:
Citizens of United Kingdom
Citizens of Germany
Citizens of the Netherlands
Citizens of Panama
Citizens of South Korea
Canadian citizens and residents are eligible for Global Entry benefits through membership in the NEXUS program.
If you are under the age of 18, you must have your parent or legal guardian's consent to participate in the program.
Myth: Only adults can have global entry.
Truth: There is no minimum age requirement for Global Entry. However, if you are under the age of 18, you must have your parent or legal guardian’s consent to participate in the program. Your parent or legal guardian does not have to be a Global Entry member.
Regardless of your age, you must create a Global Online Enrollment System account, pay a non-refundable application fee, and schedule an interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center.
If you are under the age of 18, a parent or legal guardian must be present at time of interview.
Only if you are enrolled in the Korean SES program, Korean applicants must be at least 17 years of age in order to participate in Global Entry program.
Myth: It’s expensive and it’s not worth the hassle to get it.
Truth: The cost for Global Entry is very reasonable if you are a frequent flyer and often book your connections with 2-3 hours to ensure you have enough time to clear the CBP processing. Your time is well worth it. On average the process takes between 3-4 weeks.
Myth: It is a type of visa.
Truth: No, it is a virtual processing system,that will help you clear the border process faster. You still need to have a valid visa for the USA.
Myth: It is attached to a visa or passport.
Truth: It is valid for 5 years and it is not linked to your visa or passport expiration date. If your passport or visa expire, then all you do is notify Global entry about it and your new document details will be added to the Global Entry program.
All the above facts we gathered from interviewing a local expert in the Global Entry program Alejandro J. Orci. If you would like to know more about it or have further questions you may contact him via email.