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Global Entry

I am thinking about applying for global entry and would like to hear what travelers who have this think of it. If you have global entry do you ALWAYS get TSA PRE even on non-international flights? What is the advantage of having this designation and how hard is it to get? How long after you apply does the designation come thru?

Posted by
4572 posts

sherryjb Global Entry and TSA Pre are two different things run by two different federal agencies. When you get Global Entry (which is connected with your passport) you are given a Trusted Traveler Number (your GE number) which you can use when booking any flight and qualifies you for TSA Pre status, if the airline you're flying participates. That is, you have to enter the number every time when booking online - its not automatic.

Do a Search on this website for Global Entry and you'll see tons of previous threads on the subject. You'll see many different experiences and times it takes for approval. What can take time is that you have to schedule an appointment at a convenient (CBP) location (usually at an airport) for an interview.

Posted by
54 posts

You should always get TSA precheck for domestic US flights if you have Global Entry (as long as you enter your trusted traveler number when making your reservation online or when you include it as a part of your frequent flyer account with the airline that you are flying on). I can't give you my experience with that however because I am still waiting to be approved. My wife and I applied for Global Entry in July 2019. I was tentatively approved a month later subject to an in person interview. My wife is still waiting to be tentatively approved six months after applying online. Even though I was tentatively approved there have been no available interview appointments at our local airport in Seattle. I finally was able to get an appointment at Seatac airport in May 2020. This has been a big disappointment. I only travel internationally every other year, I applied for Global Entry because it includes TSA precheck and was only $15 dollars more to apply for Global Entry than for TSA precheck. I have no doubt that my wife will eventually be approved. Also, there are alternatives to interviewing at the local airport, I could have easily scheduled an appointment at the land border in Blaine, Washington but that's about a two hour drive each way. Also, for frequent international travelers who have been tentatively approved they can interview when returning to the USA when going through the regular customs and immigration process.

If I had known about how long it would take for my wife to be tentatively approved and for me to get a local interview I would have applied for TSA precheck instead. I have used Mobile Passport (a government app that can be downloaded to a smartphone) a couple of times and it has really sped up the CBP immigration and customs check process, so I do recommend that.

Posted by
2909 posts

Having global entry does include TSA pre-check. TSA Precheck is available only on participating airlines. Make sure you include your known traveler number when you buy tickets.

When you go through security at US airports, it doesn’t matter if you are flying internationally or domestically with regard to TSA precheck access.

What is the advantage of global entry? You go through immigration much more quickly as you use kiosks. You avoid those hideously long lines arriving in the US.

As for how long it takes for you to get Global entry, it depends upon how long it will take for you to get an interview. Sometimes the wait is just a few weeks or the wait could be several months. If it is the latter, if you have the persistence, you can go online as often as possible to look for interview cancellations. I did that when I applied for global entry and my persistence paid off. What would have been a 7 month wait was reduced to one week because I was constantly looking for cancellations. Then after the interview, you’ll get global entry acceptance letter perhaps a couple of weeks later.

Posted by
592 posts

In late October, returning from Barcelona to Oakland (with three other international flights having landed within 10 minutes of our flight).....there were exactly a million people in line for passport control and four people in the Global Entry line. See that smile on my face?

Posted by
2734 posts

We chose to get the TSA PRE instead of the Global Entry to save a few dollars. After seeing the advantages of those having GE over us waiting in line with PRE, we will be upgrading to GE when our PRE expires.

Posted by
4522 posts

You should always get TSA precheck for domestic US flights if you have Global Entry...

Not always true.

The TSA likes to mix things up a bit, believing that acts as a deterrent to bad guys. So they intentionally deny TSA Precheck privileges to people who qualify for them, once in a long while. I've had TSA Precheck (and yes, Global Entry, too) for many years now and have used them a lot (I used to commute by plane for a while). I have been denied use of TSA precheck 2 or 3 times over the years (at my regular airports where the airline and the flight was using Precheck). The TSA simply picks someone at random and denies them Precheck, forcing them to go through the non-Precheck line once in a blue moon. They also randomly give away Precheck privileges to a few travelers who do not have it, also at random, just to mix things up.

So, while it's almost always true that for those airlines that participate in Precheck, at those airports that have a Precheck line (which is open), then you should get to use the Precheck line. But there may come a day when you are denied and you have to suffer with the shoes-off crowd. Hopefully when that day comes, you weren't cutting it too close on the time to make your flight.

Worth noting: There are also some things in your flight history that may trigger a (temporary) denial of the use of Precheck. One example is if you have a habit of flying to certain cities in or near the Middle East (Istanbul is one often cited), especially if booked on a one-way ticket or with no checked bags. That kind of combination may get you the dreaded "SSSS" routine even if you have TSA Precheck, Global Entry, and other mojo up your sleeve.

Posted by
4630 posts

TSA Precheck is an easier, faster process, less involved, the application can be processed in more places than Global Entry. If you are only concerned about Precheck and not so much Global Entry, then do that.

It also is dependent on how often you travel internationally and what Airports you use for entry. If you travel once a year Internationally, I find it hard to justify spending the time and money to get Global Entry. I have also found the Airports I use, Global Entry makes little difference, they keep increasing the number of kiosks for use. If you check a bag, then quick processing usually means you just spend that time saved waiting for your bag. In the balance, if you travel Internationally several times a year and fly through highly major airports, then it makes sense, for minimal travel, it seems more effort than benefit.

Posted by
277 posts

If you travel once a year Internationally, I find it hard to justify
spending the time and money to get Global Entry.

If you were also considering Precheck, then I think it's totally worth it even at that level of travel, because then you'd effectively be paying $3 per trip to get Global Entry. TSA Precheck is $85 for 5 years, while Global Entry is $100 for 5 years. The cost difference is only $15, and so if you travel once a year internationally, then that's $3 a trip across your 5 trips.

Of course, if you were not also considering Precheck already then I wouldn't do it ($20/trip for Global Entry is a lot less of a value). And it definitely should be noted that the Global Entry application process tends to take longer than the Precheck application process -- in particular it can take forever to get an interview, which you'll need the first time you apply for GE.

The TSA likes to mix things up a bit, believing that acts as a
deterrent to bad guys. So they intentionally deny TSA Precheck
privileges to people who qualify for them, once in a long while.

This is definitely true. But I also don't think this makes any difference to choosing Precheck vs. Global Entry, because even TSA Precheck members (i.e. those who applied directly to the TSA for precheck, not those who got Precheck via Global Entry) can get denied Precheck once in a while. So it can happen either way, and 95%+ of the time if you have GE you'll get TSA Precheck.

Posted by
2817 posts

I have had GE and TSA-Pre for 5 years. I was flying a lot when I first got it, not all that much now, and I found it very worthwhile.

IF I would have waited for an opening at my home airport, it would have easily been a year before I would have had the required interview. Since I was traveling, I was able to get an appointment at one of the airports I was flying through and completed the interview within 6 weeks of being notified I was approved.

Every flight I was on departing from a US airport after receiving my known traveller ID number and entering it into the various airline's online systems I did get TSA Pre if the airline participated in Pre. My only complaint is when making a connection from my international flight to the final segment home there were never any TSA Pre lanes within the security recheck after customs and immigration. So you spend nearly zero time getting cleared back through customs, but then spend hours going through the security recheck. Maybe this has changed.

Note that this all applies only to airports within the USA. GE and TSA Pre do nothing for you if you are not at a US airport. You have to go with the flow of the regular people.

Posted by
1520 posts

I've had Global Entry for 5 years. I love it. It's perhaps the best $100 I've spent. I fly to Europe 4-6 times per year, and Global Entry has saved substantial time with all but one re-entry into the US (exception = a day of Global Entry chaos at JFK this fall -- it seemed to be fixed the next time I traveled through JFK).

The wait for me for an interview was several months at Charlotte (75 minute drive) or two weeks at Atlanta (nearly 3 hour drive). I drove to Atlanta.

Since getting my Trusted Traveler Number, I have never not received TSA Precheck. Interestingly, people who fly with me on the same PNR almost always get TSA Precheck, too. I fly Delta almost exclusively; my TTN is saved in my Delta profile, so I don't have to enter it when buying tickets.

I'm due to renew this year. It's a no-brainer (and one of my credit cards will reimburse the fee).

Posted by
2038 posts

Like David, I do not always get Precheck. I've had Global Entry since June 2019 and did not get PreCheck on 3 flights since then. However, It also appears that Delta keeps deleting my Global Entry from my account, so that may explain some of it.

Posted by
2 posts

@dougbagel2 we also live in Seattle area and wait was horrendous for ‘interview’ part of application ( which literally took 5 minutes each!. Made the trip up to Blaine with an appointment but believe we could’ve done a walk in. Definitely worth the trip up vs waiting the lengthy timelines at SeaTac!

Posted by
555 posts

I just have three things to add to the other posts:

  • I love global entry. I travel internationally frequently for work and it does save time.
  • Global entry applies to the person, not the family traveling with the individual. Every time I take my husband with me, I have to stand in the regular line and even with the mobile passport app, it can take awhile. So if you plan on traveling with someone else, unless you want to have them wait in line while you go Global entry, then they will need one as well.
  • TSA pre is generally a real time saver, but TSA pre is not always available in all US airports. Even when it is available, it may not be open. Also in some airports, they give you a card that says you are TSA pre, but you have to stand in the regular line, so while you don’t have to take off your shoes and empty the laptop bag, others may. I apologize as I cannot recall the airports where this is a problem as I have been through so many lately, losing track.

Sandy

Posted by
8038 posts

Is Global Entry worth it? Let me tell you my experience last week at JFK.

I arrived at Terminal 7. Walked to the Global Entry kiosk. I Inserted my passport, had my photo taken, took the slip, walked to guard booth, he took the slip and said thank you. (no questions but sometimes they ask if you have anything to declare), I then walked through customs (I only have carry on), stepped outside the terminal and up to the AirTrain. Total time from stepping off the plane to Airtrain platfom--8 minutes. (A new record for me.)

So, is Global Entry worth it.........Absolutely.

I only once had a boarding pass issued without precheck in the 7 years I've had Global Entry. It was on British Airways. I went to the check in desk and asked if they could do anything. (I had my Global Entry card with me.) They reentered my number and a new boarding pass with Precheck was issued.

As for interview appointments.....you have to keep checking for a cancellation.

Posted by
124 posts

I’ve been thinking of getting Global Entry since my credit card will cover it at no extra charge. There do not seem to be any appointments in Boston in 2020. Nearest appointments are Hartford CT or Warwick RI in mid-June and those are too late for our trip. If I want to go to one of the Canadian border crossings in NY or New England I can get an appointment within days.

Posted by
6346 posts

Our closest interview office is 2.5 hours, so we interviewed at JFK on our way out of the country and are so glad we did.

We appreciate the short lines with it, but the best was at the Port of Vancouver boarding an Alaska-bound cruise where US re-entry is done at the Port. The lines snaked forever, but we were able to sail through the empty, dedicated Nexus/Global Entry line.

(Cala) We carry our cards on all trips, even domestic, in case the airline computers have bumped the number out. Number is re-entered and we go through pre-check.

Posted by
381 posts

Get Global Entry...it is SO WORTH it! Make certain that you check the airlines you most frequent and register your trusted traveler # there on your personal profile and every time you buy a ticket they will register that you have Global Entry. I have never been denied TSA pre-check since I got my Global Entry number. We were entering the USA a year ago from France at JFK.....late afternoon and the lines were forever. We must have been in a group of 500-600 just coming into customs......an agent yelled out for anyone with Global Entry to follow him.....out of the hundreds there we were only about 15 of us.....and we sailed right ahead of everyone else in line and got through in minutes......YES! We had an interview in Nashville ( did not live there) that only took minutes....and our time to be registered and enjoy the benefits did not begin until we were both approved. Atlanta seems to be the only airport ( that we have seen) that is so well equipped for international travel that can get you through customs quickly without Global Entry....the rest seem to be behind in their processing so GE pays off if you are there......I will add this......I have a buddy whose husband travels frequently to Switzerland.....he got Global Entry since he travels so often......and made a careless mistake of forgetting an apple that he left in his flight bag....he got all kinds of trouble when they randomly checked him and found it.....so she warned me......if you have Global Entry DO NOT ABUSE IT!

Posted by
2817 posts

Global Entry is tied to your PASSPORT, not your airline profile. TSA Pre Check is why you enter your known traveller number into your airline frequent flyer profile so when your ticket info is sent for verification you get the PRE label on your boarding pass.

What this means is if you change passport you must go and enter the new number into the government GE web pages to continue being able to use the GE kiosks. This info is not automatically updated. Seems State and Homeland don't talk to each other (no surprise). Very important!

Posted by
1090 posts

It’s a mixed bag for me.

I live on the west coast so that usually means early morning flights to most places. Many times TSA Pre isn’t even open when I get to the airport. Then TSA makes you stand in the regular line. So there goes the convenience of fast security. And yes, you have to remove your computer and liquids.

I wrote to TSA about this. Their response? “You get to keep your shoes on!”

Big whoop.

Another thing. If you have the TSA app you can pre-fill most of the fields and still get fast service on reentry.

Other times I’m really glad I have it, especially on holidays when the airport is jammed.

On waiting for the interview:
Book one when you can. It will be months out. Then keep checking back for cancellations. They almost always open up. You rarely need to wait months.

Posted by
7249 posts

For the Seattle folks...anyone heading over to Idaho? You might be able to get in to Boise (office is on the "back" side of the airport).

I get the "sorta-PreCheck" at my local teeny airport. I get the yellow card at the podium where you enter the line, then get to leave my shoes on and go thru a regular metal detector instead of the nude-o-scope.

I usually come in thru SLC. On re-entering security after Immigration for my onward flight you get the yellow card thing as well. Last trip when my carry-on went thru the machine the attendant called out "Is that an iPad in there? You should have pulled it out". I said - I have Global Entry and pre-check and she actually apologized and said she was sorry for losing track of who had Pre.

I've had very good luck with no waiting at GE kiosks and very nice and helpful agents in that area. It's definitely worth it to me.

Posted by
2909 posts

Carol F, if I were you, I would spend time each day when you have a chance on the website that schedules interview appointments and hit refresh again and again until you see a cancellation in the Boston area. I did this for the NYC area 15 to 20 minutes at a time many times a day until I found a cancellation. if either Providence or Hartford is also convenient, constantly check each of those cities as well. it can get quite monotonous and annoying when you don’t see an interview appointment open up but once you do, it will make your day.

Posted by
2301 posts

Sherry, I see Continental references Boston. I got my GE in March 2019, so the schedule may have changed. However, I scheduled my appointment just two weeks out at the O’Neil Federal Building downtown...next to Boston Garden or whatever it is called at this moment. When I was there they took people without appointments...kind of like standby. If you are willing to wait then that is an option as well...or was last year anyway.

Posted by
4969 posts

After we got pending approval for GE ( August -- within days of application) we found there were NO appointments at SFO before our December departure so, rather than constantly checking for interview cancellations, we went with the interview-on-arrival method. Took maybe 15 minutes waiting (sitting) for an interviewer to be available yesterday on our return (no standing in line with the general public) and cards will be in the mail within two weeks.
Looking forward to getting PreCheck on our next flight -- and using the GE card as "Real ID" on domestic flights.
Since we both got the application fee covered by our credit cards, it was worth every penny.

Posted by
12 posts

I applied for Global entry and got my pre approval within a week or two. But the local airport was full for a year. So I started looked at a quick International flight so I could do the interview on reentry. Then I looked at LAX & SFO. Then it hit me like a thunderbolt. Why not hit a snowbird destination? So PHX in February it is! I'll mix in some baseball & sun. Sometimes a plan comes together