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Global Entry Application/Worth It?

Hello. I will be going to the UK with my sons in November. It's been awhile since we've been to Europe. Just a few questions:

  1. Is it worth it?
  2. Do I still have time to process our applications?

Thank you to everyone for your advice! It is greatly appreciated!

Posted by
8367 posts

It is worth it if it is worth it to you. That is what matters, not what other people think.

Global Entry allows for quick entry into the United States and usually comes with TSA precheck. It is unknown if you have time to process applications. Many people have reported that the interview appointments are booked for months out, but there are two work arounds. 1) A quick interview upon entry to the US 2) frequent checking of the appointments for cancellations.

How often do you travel? Will the convenience of Global Entry or TSA precheck be used once or twice every few years or do you travel more often than that? Do you have one of several credit cards that will reimburse you for application fees?

Posted by
9562 posts

Just note that it is not always a “quick” interview upon return to the U.S. — i had to wait more than two hours in Atlanta for my interview last November.

I guess it's true that the interview itself is quick !

But having to do the interview on entry means that you are definitely not getting the Global Entry benefit upon that entry. But it sure is nice once you do have it.

Posted by
180 posts

When I researched Global Entry, the website said it took 4-6 months. We had about 4 and a half months so we didn't do it this time. Seems like you have about 4 and half to 5 months.

Posted by
53 posts

We’ve had our Nexus pass (which includes TSA precheck, Global Entry, and fast lane driving into Canada) for 7 years. You bet it’s worth it! Renew every 5 years. ($50) Best experience was flying into Seattle a year ago. Upon arrival we were told passport control computers were down. Waiting in line, standing, no toilets. After 30 min passport control comes through asking “anyone with global entry?” A few of us followed agent. We were processed quickly. Looking at the crowd of arriving passengers- there had to be 2000 in line.
Grateful for global entry.

Posted by
908 posts

Is it worth it?

Depends. If you travel regularly, then GE coupled with TSA Precheck is worth it. If this is a one off trip to Europe, then maybe not. I would apply and see how you like it. FYI, we have GE and to us it is worth every penny.

Do I still have time to process our applications?

Unknown. I would imagine that they are backed up, judging by the backlog of passports the the State Department is handling.

Posted by
951 posts

I travel frequently and have had Global Entry for years. This year I talked my husband into getting it. You can get Global Entry and TSA pre-check together and some credit cards will pay the fee. The application and pre-approval was quick, but we tried for 6 months and could not get an interview in the SF Bay Area. So, my husband had his appointment last month when we came back from Europe in SFO. It was super quick, he was done before out luggage was loaded off the plane.

Global Entry can be a time saver. Just note that it only applies to you, you cannot take your family (grown children and spouse) through Global Entry. Each has to have their own.

Posted by
14976 posts

I've had GE for nine years and I'll be renewing later this year.

While you have to answer the "is it worth it" question, here's what happened to me in January at JFK. Arrived in the arrivals hall packed and backed up to the bottom of the escalator and circled around it. I, however, went to the GE area. We were taken first before everyone else. From stepping off the plane, going through passport control, walking through customs (carry on bags only) and walking out of the terminal--eight minutes.

Is it worth it?

As for the included Pre-Check--no shoes off, no toiletries out off the bag, no electronics out of the bag. A usually much less crowded line.

Is it worth it?

Posted by
17899 posts

The Global Entry picture ID has come in handy a few times. The program in general has been worth it for me. The time for approval? Apply now so you don't have to ask if you have time on the next trip.

Posted by
332 posts

Not having to wait in line is always worth it. Not sure if you have time, though. We applied last June and my husband was pending within 4 days. It took my application 10 months just for pending. As luck would have it, there was a four day pop-up clinic at our small airport the next week and we were able to schedule our interviews right away. Otherwise we would've had to travel to D.C., Charlotte, or Atlanta.

Good luck!

Posted by
417 posts

I applied for GE in February. I'm still waiting to be conditionally approved (which you have to be before you can schedule your interview for final approval). My United credit card covered the cost of the application, so fortunately I'm not out of pocket for this s-l-o-w process. In the meantime, I'll use Mobile Passport. Our whole family already has TSA Precheck, which is 100% worth it.

Posted by
270 posts

I had GE for five years. I found that the Mobile Passport line was always shorter than the GE line at Logan Airport in Boston. MP is free, so there's no issue using both and going to the shorter line.

Posted by
11152 posts

We have had Global Entry ever since it was offered and can’t imagine traveling internationally without it.

Posted by
8660 posts

Personally speaking the answer is yes.

Fly LAX to LHR yearly. Avoiding the long immigration lines after a return flight is a blessing. Global Entry does that.

Posted by
417 posts

It is excellent for making it through the airport customs and immigration, as well as security for the Pre-Check. We also use it for the Nexus line returning to the US after a Canada trip. We had to learn the procedure of holding the card up to the camera before approaching the guard station.

Posted by
7534 posts

I will offer a different perspective. I have traveled internationally 1-3 times a year for the last 15 years, and about once a year prior to that for another 7. I also traveled domestically for business for about 10 years, the equivalent of a couple flights every other week.

I did get Precheck, mainly to keep my shoes on and not to have to pull things out of my bag, it was well worth it. In Retirement travel, it is "nice" but not a deal breaker. The process was easy, do the forms, then head down to a local office for pictures and fingerprints.

Global Entry however I passed on that. Why? Arranging the in-person interview was a pain, I would have had to travel several hours (I fly out of a regional airport) or try to fit it into a travel itinerary, so the pain of the process was more than I was interested in. (Know several others in my business and area that also tried, and gave up as too much a hassle)

Based on my experience, what would GE have saved me? Not much. I fly back through places like Detroit, Minneapolis, and Atlanta (Delta if you can't tell) and into terminals that are largely Delta volume. I maybe wait 10 to 15 minutes at most, less now that some places have the kiosks. In the cases that the GE folks have made it through quick, they were stuck waiting for bags with everyone else. At times, I have beaten the GE people through (I took it lots of people who do not travel often and were trying to figure out the kiosk). So for me, don't have it, don't miss it, if I get through 10 minutes faster? I am just waiting longer for my next flight.

Now if you fly into one of the nightmare airports regularly, especially as your final destination, and you only do carry-on on the way back, then yes, you can make a case that it will save you time; and if you travel more than once or twice a year, then that can have value.

If the application process was as simple as precheck, sure, why not. Consider also, with Facial Recognition, e-gates, pre-loaded traveler information and the like, lines keep getting quicker, even as volume increases, basically "GE" for everyone is coming through better technology...heck, even made it through immigration at Heathrow in 10 minutes using the e-gates.

Posted by
1803 posts

I’ll add one more benefit that hasn’t been mentioned previously. So far at all US airports I’ve been able to use the metal detector lane. Avoiding the X-ray exposure from the body scanner makes it worthwhile to me. It may be a very small exposure but if I can avoid it why not.

Posted by
483 posts

I applied for global entry two days ago and got my tentative approval yesterday. The more local interview sites (I live near BWI and Dulles) wouldn't even come up on the site as an option for me when I tried to schedule an interview, so I booked an interview 6 hours away in early September (they had two days in August, but I'll be out of town those days). I've decided to think of it as a mini vacation and that way I'll have GE when I go to Europe in October.

I was recently fingerprinted and had my background checked for work, so maybe that had something to do with the quick turn around time?

Posted by
3207 posts

I got GE just before Covid hit, so my first trip was in May. I flew Iberia, which is not part of TSA, so I had to go thru regular security. There was one person ahead of me in line at Security. So it wasn't needed there. Arriving back in Logan, the first section was for US non-GE people. There were a handful of people in line so I didn't even bother looking for GE because the section where it would have been was mobbed and I didn't want to lose the chance to breeze through the regular line, which I did. So...I didn't need either TSA pre or GE, this time. That being said TSA pre is well worth it for domestic flights and for 15 dollars more you get GE to use if you want. It's probably good to have now that I've done the interview, but I don't have the same interest in many international trips as I used to have...at the moment anyway...so I wouldn't begin the process at this point if I didn't already have it.

Only you can decide if you will fly enough to not make the interview a hassle. I'm on the fence...

Posted by
13931 posts

I'll just say I think it depends on where you live and how convenient it is to get to a face to face interview. Paul mentioned upthread it's a drive for him. When I got mine 7 years ago I drove 6 hours down to Boise (but I met up with a forum member for a meal and that was fun, lol). SIL just got back after taking a 2-day road trip with friends. They drove from N. Idaho to the border crossing at Sweet Grass MT (8 hour drive) for their 5-minute interviews. Seattle is closer but more traffic. None of the Border Crossings in Idaho participate in the program.

So...first thing is to add your location to your profile, lol....

Posted by
228 posts

A couple we travel with have Global Entry. My wife and I do not, instead we use the free Mobile Passport Control app. In ALL our recent travels, we have gotten through passport control in the same time or sooner than our friends. In my opinion, Global Entry is not worth the cost or the interview hassle.

Posted by
110 posts

I previously had pre-check, but it was expiring so I decided to change it to global entry. I applied in spring of 2022 for myself and my then 13 year-old daughter. Our initial approval took nearly 11 months. My approval came one day, and hers the next. In between there I had to renew her passport, and I was afraid that was going to slow things down. I don’t know if it did, or if we were just some of the unlucky ones who it took unbelievably long to get approved.
Then it took us three months to do our interview. Initially, we were going to travel to Chicago from Wisconsin. But then something opened at MKE that worked for us. Just frequently look at the appointments because things are opening all the time. Our interview was about 5 to 10 minutes for the both of us together. It took about three weeks for our cards to arrive.
We do have a European trip planned, and I would’ve liked to have done it on entry. But a minor niece is coming with me, who does not have global entry, and I was unsure of the problems that that would cause.

Posted by
14976 posts

For those contemplating Mobile Passport.....check to make sure your home airport offers it. Not all do. And.....should there be a computer issue, which happens, you won't be able to use it.

If you have Global Entry, and the computers go down, you can show your card and be moved to the front of the line.

Posted by
818 posts

Frank - if the computers go down, most GE folk don't even bring their card, lol

Posted by
14976 posts

Frank - if the computers go down, most GE folk don't even bring their card, lol

I do.

I also applied today for renewal.

Posted by
9562 posts

I always bring mine when traveling precisely for this reason

Posted by
17899 posts

Years ago you could cross into Mexico and back with a driver's license. So was I surprised when coming back they demanded a passport, but laughed and let me pass with my GE card.

Posted by
2018 posts

I just renewed my Global Entry. I did the application on Tuesday and then this morning (Thursday) I received notice that it was approved. Best of all, they are not asking me to come for another interview!

Posted by
646 posts

Another way around the long wait time to get an interview is to just walk into an interview center at a major airport where they're offered & wait your turn. I did this at SFO & probably waited less than 15 minutes. You're likely to get GE for 5 years, which I renewed on-line last year. I think it took a few weeks for approval. I would check on-line to be sure this option is still available. I was at SFO recently & walked by the Global Entry office, no one waiting.

Posted by
58 posts

We got it in 2019 (insert laugh here). Had to drive to N Falls for interview. Only works for coming into US (not other countries). Doesn't help at the Canadian border unless you also have Nexus.
We just travelled to UK but flew out of Toronto so hasn't really been useful for us..

Posted by
2018 posts

Wee flew home late last night back to SEA. Global saved us so much time! the regular lines were completely full and the Ines snaked way past the entire area where they had the lines set up. At Global we walked right up, she asked is a question or two and off we went. I would guess from how slow the regular lines were, Global saved us at least an hour, if not more.

Posted by
748 posts

I fly in and out of O'hare in Chicago. I have had Global entry for about 10 years with international flights 4 - 5 times per year, barring Covid disruptions. With GE and no checked bags, I am frequently outside waiting for my taxi 30 minutes after landing.

I feel so strongly about GE with an ORD destination that I insisted my travel companion get Global Entry before our just completed trip. When we arrived at O'hare last month, the lines for regular immigration were hours long. We were through GE and customs in less than 3 minutes.

My companion monitored the GE website for any interview within a day's drive and was very lucky to snag a cancelled interview slot about a 5 hour drive away. I think it took 4 - 5 months to complete the interview from the time my companion was told to schedule to the time slot used. Then, there was still a wait of weeks to get the card, but probably the status was in the system prior to physical "evidence".

If you fly in through a smaller airport, GE might not be necessary. The interviews have become much harder to obtain since I initially enrolled. Interview locations are also not always convenient unless one lives near a major international airport. I can fully understand why some don't make the attempt even if they fly internationally frequently.

Posted by
1 posts

I applied online on 12/18. Was conditionally confirmed on 12/19. Found an appointment in Rockford IL for 12/30, which is about an hour and a half from where I live. Process should be complete is less than two weeks. It all depends if you can be flexible about the interview. A friend drove to Toledo from Chicago for their interview (only 1 available quickly) but she stayed overnight with long-time friends in the area so it was a win-win.

Posted by
610 posts

I’m at four months and waiting. Didn’t win the fast turnaround lottery on renewals. Having it is essential for my travel.

Posted by
110 posts

It took 11 months for conditional approval for my daughter and I when I applied nearly two years ago. She was 13 when I applied, 14 when we got approved. I don’t know if doing gets too held it up. But, yeah…11 months.

Posted by
14976 posts

The good news is......if you applied for renewal prior to your expiration date, you can continue to use it even if you are past the expiration date.

Exact wording:

Due to a significant increase in application volume, we are extending the grace period to allow you continued full benefits while U.S. Customs and Border Protection is finalizing your renewal application.

Posted by
417 posts

I applied on March 1. I was conditionally approved last week while I was in Switzerland (so a 9+ month wait for conditional approval). I hoped to do the interview on arrival when I landed in EWR, but there was a long line of folks already waiting and I didn't have that long of a layover. And to my disappointment, there is no dedicated line at EWR for Mobile Passport.
After the holidays I'll probably spring for the Appointment Scanner app so I can get an appointment quickly (I'm in ATL) and get it done. Though my next international travel is with my husband, who doesn't have GE and likely couldn't get it (youthful indiscretion).

Posted by
279 posts

Like others, the process does take awhile. To us it is worth it. It gets us TSApre here in the states. Using the kiosk for re-entry into the US is easy and quick. We've had one for almost 10 years.