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revisiting Global Entry -- it is working well for you?

It appears to be a few months since the RS forum had much to say about the Global Entry program ($100; 5 years; skip lines at airport) so I thought I'd check in and ask how it has been working out for those of you who have joined the program.

Worth it? Saving much time/trouble? Better than the mobile passport app?

The CBP interviewers are coming to my local location in April so if I decide to give Global Entry a try I need to fill out the online form in the next few days; that's why I'm asking now.

Posted by
10048 posts

I love it. Fast, easy, on my way 1-2-3.

Since getting it, the longest it's taken me to get through Passport Control and Customs is probably less than 10 minutes.

I've never tried the mobile app because I have GE.

Add Pre-check and it is worth the $20/year.

Posted by
1767 posts

The last time I went out of the country I had to skip using my GE since I was with my mother who doesn't have it.

TWO HOURS! Yes, TWO HOURS to get back in the USA. People using GE were walking right on in.
The mobile passport app is a joke and really doesn't do anything to help!

Posted by
381 posts

We have considered Global Entry but have never had a problem with long lines re-entering the US. Atlanta is a breeze and this past fall flying into Atlanta from Rome we found the Global Entry line to be longer than the regular line. We were able to move through the process quickly...15 minutes.

Posted by
12551 posts

We go out of the country 3 times a year and Global Entry has made life a lot easier.

Posted by
928 posts

I signed up for Global Entry but my husband doesn't have it so when we came back into JFK last July, we used Mobile Passport and it worked great. We walked right by the few people in the Global Entry kiosk line, but it seemed GE would have been quick, too, had I gone that route. Guess what I'm saying is MP might work fine for you if you don't otherwise need GE. I got GE primarily for TSA PreCheck, since it wasn't much more expensive, just in case I needed it. It has more than paid for itself just for my PreCheck benefit.

Posted by
1068 posts

I like it. Whether the airport is efficient or not I've always gotten through quicker with Global Entry.

Posted by
1886 posts

LOVE IT! Just be aware that one can still be selected for the random security check despite having Global Entry. But, 99.9999% of the time one is pretty much guaranteed a hassle free process both with screening and with re-entry. I'm slowly getting used to it being okay to leave my 3 oz. bottles in my luggage. But, in some countries they have to still be taken out. So, regardless, I pack them all together in one little bag, so they can be easily removed from carry-on, then easily reinserted as necessary.

But, yes, soooo worth if, if you travel a good bit.

Can't give a comparison to the mobile passport app, as I have no experience with that, and still (go ahead and laugh) use a flip phone :o

Posted by
1289 posts

I have a slightly off topic question about Global Entry. I will be applying soon. My passport is my legal name Kathleen but I never use it. My driver's license is Kathy which I use on everything including my taxes. Will that be a problem? I really don't want to go through the hassle of redoing my driver's license.
Thanks,

Posted by
178 posts

You need to use your passport name since the 2 are linked.

Posted by
3492 posts

Definitely worth it as it saves a great deal of time & trouble. Never used the mobile passport app so can't compare.

Posted by
433 posts

I can't compare but used the passport app in Minneapolis and bypassed a huge line. Very easy and free.

I don't travel enough to bother with GE but with either approach I think it depends on your arrival airport's capabilities and staffing.

Posted by
1767 posts

Blockquote
We have considered Global Entry but have never had a problem with long lines re-entering the US. Atlanta is a breeze and this past fall flying into Atlanta from Rome we found the Global Entry line to be longer than the regular line. We were able to move through the process quickly...15 minutes.
Blockquote

A breeze?? That's where it took TWO HOURS! It's not a breeze it's an unmitigated nightmare!

I have never breezed through Atlanta and feel like they are going out of their way to treat returning citizens like criminals.

Posted by
928 posts

Carol, I'm surprised you had such an ordeal here, too. We last flew direct from Europe to ATL in 2013 but it was no hassle. We were in the first seats in Comfort on Delta, though, so maybe we were just ahead of the crowd. Has this been a frequent issue here?

Posted by
1767 posts

You do the kiosk. You get the piece of paper. You get in a line that wraps back past the kiosks. You wait in that line almost 2 hours. While in line you notice that after every 4th or 5th Person the agents disappear for a while and that most of the booths are not opened. You hand your piece of paper and passports to a surly agent. He proceeds to flip through every page. Ask you why you were in Russia last year and generally treat you as if your passport is fraudulent. Reduced one girl in front of us to tears.

Nightmare. One airport employee told us the agents were doing a slow down because They were mad about something

Posted by
1182 posts

Works fine for me. I get more use out of the TSA Precheck benefits as I fly more domestic than I do international. GE at $100 vs $85 for Precheck only might as well pay the extra for GE. It's nice to be able to leave liquids in the bag, your shoes and belt on and walk through the metal detector.

Posted by
11271 posts

"One airport employee told us the agents were doing a slow down because They were mad about something "

That was my thought as I read your account, particularly when you mentioned that you were questioned about past travels. So, while your experience was horrible, it's not typical of arriving during a non-slowdown.

Posted by
1610 posts

It works better some places than others. We had an experience similar to Carol's coming back from Mexico to Seattle. We got out little slip of paper, then had to get in the same line as everyone else. There were stations for GE, but they were unmanned. Going through Atlanta 2yrs.ago, an agent took us to the front of the line when we'd gotten our slip of paper. And arriving in Seattle last summer it went much faster. Whether it was the time of day or terminal, not sure. Mostly, it seems to work great.

Posted by
1952 posts

Same issues for us traveling from Rome to Atlanta to Denver last Spring. We missed our flight from ATL to DEN because we waited in line with our Global Entry cards in hand for way longer than we should have had to when re-entering the US at ATL. Is it just that airport then? I've used GE for a couple of years and never had any issues before (always performed as expected!) but this was our first time through ATL. I must say, Delta was great about getting us on the next and last available flight home, though, once we got through. We were only an hour late so were grateful for that, at least. It was a zoo in their immigration/security lines back into the US, no matter what "special" card you had!

Posted by
3537 posts

I have Global entry through my NEXUS card and it has been a great time saver at airports. In my case, it also gives me benefits in Canada.

I wanted to point out that some of the "higher end" credit cards will give you a $100 credit toward your global entry fee. You may want to check that you are not missing out on that perk with a credit card you already have or were thinking of getting.

Posted by
4556 posts

I'm a bit confused about people saying that they had to wait in line with Global Entry. What line? at Dulles you go to the kiosk. It takes 2 minutes. I got an "X" on my slip once (I answered "yes" to the food question; I still did not have to wait in a line.

I have had GE for almost 5 years. My original card was issued for 5 years and 8 months (it expires on your birthday after the 5 years). It has been worth it to me and I will be renewing shortly.

Posted by
6076 posts

Some of these reports are about using the GE card to get in at airports. We were told they were only for land/sea entry points - that the GE data was linked to our passports for airport entry. This is what the CBP website says: "Only your passport or lawful permanent resident card are accepted at Global Entry kiosks. The Global Entry card cannot be used at Global Entry kiosks. NEXUS cards are accepted at Global Entry kiosks located on Canadian Preclearance Airports." Is that not what people are experiencing?

Posted by
1660 posts

Great responses, everyone. Thanks for sharing your experience.
I've gone into the extraordinarily user-hostile website for the Customs y Border Patrol and appear to have successfully
put in my demande for Global Entry. Fingers crossed.

When they say they want a list of all the countries you've visited in the past five years, they don't really mean all , do they?
And they mean 5 years from today or 5 years from when they issue their number?
What I mean is that I didn't want to mention Uruguay.

Posted by
5689 posts

So when will it be 5 years since you were in Uruguay ? Might be easier if you delay your application ??

Posted by
10048 posts

Carol (Atlanta) I think people are confused with your answer. At first you said you couldn't use GE because you were with your mother and it took 2 hours.....and then you made it sound as if you used GE and it still took 2 hours.

Which is it?

Posted by
928 posts

I did quite a bit of research and trolling on forums before putting in my GE application, and the overwhelming consensus was if in doubt, put it on your application. They didn't seem to care about some things that might be questionable as long as you were honest and declared them, but if you leave anything off, woe be unto you. They'll know, and likely deny your application.

Posted by
3469 posts

If you visited a country and your passport was stamped, you need to mention it on your GE application if you want to be approved.

They know where you went. Failing to mention it makes them think you might be hiding something else. (Not that I'm paranoid or anything ...)

Posted by
1767 posts

We were NOT GE. There are two types of kiosks in ATL.

one is GE and that one had no lines at all.

The other type is suppose to "speed" up the rest of us. Basically it's the same as GE, but you don't get the GE line you just now have a piece of paper from the machine instead of the old customs/immigration form you used to fill out. After you do that KIOSK you get in the line from you know where.

From that line I could see GE. It NEVER had more then 2 people in it and most of the 'wait' was people who didn't understand the system and stopped and stood around. (If you expected that agent to actually wave you forward that was an error. He just sat there until someone walked up and then he did look up and deal with you!)

Sadly this is not the only time I have been in a line from you know where in Atlanta. One time someone came out to yell at us because we were back down some long hall and "you folks are in the non US Citizens line" ... finally he goes to look, comes back and says "Oh you are in the right line" LOL!

There's a reason I paid for GE as soon as I heard about it... (And then there was my interview... talk about a joke. They handed me the questions, told me to write the responses and that was it. It was VERY apparent that the questions we got, were not really a form you were suppose to actually complete, but what they were suppose to ask, there was practically no room to write on the paper LOL!)

Posted by
3469 posts

stan,

I don't see anyone here talking using the GE CARD to go through immigration at airports.

They are using their passports linked to their GE membership at the GE kiosks which print out a slip of paper you then present at the dedicated GE immigration booth and you walk through. When this works, it takes 2 minutes or less to clear immigration. The complaints seem to be that at some airports the dedicated booths are closed and even with the GE slip of paper, they have to wait in the line with everyone else which can take 2 hours or more at some airports at the busier times.

I did use my GE card to go through security for a domestic flight when my driver license had expired and I was waiting for the renewal to arrive in the mail. TSA looked at it like they had never seen one before (probably because they had not) but no problems using it as ID.

Posted by
6076 posts

Apologies. Using GE cards at the airport is mentioned in Andi's post above, and using NEXUS card in Carol's post. I thought it was a pertinent question, as I know more than a few people that assume the card was what you used to get in, in lieu of a passport. Hence the link to "working well". I am traveling soon and wasn't planning to take my GE card.

Posted by
1767 posts

I didn't even get a card until I renewed this year. I wondered what I was suppose to do with it, it's just in the passport case. I have not used it for anything :)

Posted by
1182 posts

A little off topic but, if your hands are dry the machine has a hard time reading your fingerprints. It happened to me last year. Fortunately I had a small container of hand lotion. That took care of the problem.

Posted by
381 posts

Our GE has saved us lots of time and stress at entry points including Newark, Dulles and SFO. I use the GE card as my travel ID instread of my driver's license. The GE name matches the passport name, and the middle initial on my driver's license is different. After I had GE I wondered why I wasn't getting TSA Pre. Once I changed the name in my airline profiles so that the middle initial matched my GE/passport instead of the driver's license the problem was solved. You wouldn't think that a middle initial could cause so much trouble huh?

Posted by
12551 posts

MrsEB, the interviewer we used (both times - we renewed last year) were great. Kind, amusing, efficient; and I imagine that they did their job in making sure that the person that made the application matched the photo.

Posted by
99 posts

I've used Global Entry for the last two years and plan to use it several times this year.

I like to sit at the back of the aircraft so by the time I get off, everyone else is in line. I walk right by them to the GE kiosk, insert my passport, put my right hand on the glass for fingerprint scanning, then answer a half dozen questions. Depending on how I respond to the questions I have my photo taken after which the kiosk prints it along with my flight information. If I have nothing to declare I get a nice clear picture. If I have something to declare I get a picture with a big "X" on it. Then I go to the baggage claim, grab my bag, and walk on by everyone who are waiting in line to speak with a customs agent, directly to the final exit point. There I give my printed GE paperwork to the Customs Agent. One year I had two bottles of wine which put me over the allowable limit so I had an "X" on my GE photo paperwork. I explained that to the Agent and he waived me though - it wasn't worth messing with. The other time I had nothing to declare and again was waived through. 95% of my time from start to finish is waiting for my bags.

My interview was short but professional. Obviously they had already performed a background check and just asked a couple of questions - "why do you want GE"? etc. I told him that I was planning on overseas trips each year now that I am retired and I like the TSA Pre-check feature too! He laughed and said that is what most people want it for. We spent another 15 minutes talking as I asked him questions about what common items could or could not be brought back.

I have never used my GE card and queried TSA about using it to gain access to the TSA Pre-check lane. When I fly Condor the TSA Pre-check isn't printed on the ticket. TSA said no - I can't use the card. Apparently each airline needs to signup in order for their passengers to be eligible for the TSA Pre-check lane.

Posted by
1660 posts

I'm drumming my virtual fingers on the cyber table while waiting for my GOES listing to show my GE entry as more than 'pending review' but I see that the system has assigned me both an application number and a PASSID number --
does that mean that the PASSID number will be my GE known traveler number if and when I make it through the gauntlet,
or is the known traveler number yet another number down the road?

Posted by
99 posts

I just checked my GE application response letter and "Re: Your application for the Global Entry Program Membership: #xxxxxxxxx", it is the same number as shown my GE card labeled as "PASSID". This is the number that I use when booking flights with participating airlines. My GE Card has three different numbers on it, I have no idea what the other two mean. Sorry, I don't know about the online number but my PASSID number is a 9 digit numerical number with spaces followed by a 5 digit alpha numeric number which I don't use. I don't use the PASSID for re-entering the US as it is tied to my passport.

Posted by
10048 posts

Your PassID is what you will use when asked for your Known Traveler ID. This is put in your airline reservations to get TSA Pre Check.

For GE, all you need is your passport and your fingerprints.

Posted by
506 posts

GE is great. My wife and I have used it for over 5 years and we are usually home before the everyone clears regular customs from our flight. Remember to renew before your GE expires. We renewed as soon as we were eligible. If you don't you get to start the process all over, as someone told who let theirs expire.

Ed

Posted by
19 posts

I can't speak to the mobile passport app; I haven't traveled out of the country with a smart phone. I can however, report that Global Entry has saved time for my wife and I when we have returned to the US. We have carried the cards with us, but because GE links to your passport, we have not had to show the cards on entry. We carry them for back-up ID in case our passports are lost or stolen. We have had GE for nearly 4 years, and if you include the TSA Precheck perks, it is definitely a worthwhile investment. Things have worked smoothly in San Juan, P.R. and Seattle, but because of volume at Miami there was an extra 2-3 minute wait. No big deal. I believe that we were able to use a GE dedicated lane when entering the US while driving over the US/Canada border. I am satisfied with the product and plan on renewing when the time comes.

Posted by
242 posts

I may have missed this in all the responses...GE also works on re-entry through Canadian airports. I was surprised and grateful for that last year.

Posted by
219 posts

I appreciate this thread and the info everyone has included. Our GOES interviews are tomorrow! Looking forward to using the feature (especially TSA Precheck) when we travel next.

Posted by
1 posts

I am going on five years with GE. In the first few years it was absolutely fantastic, and of course the TSA PreCheck benefit alone is super helpful.

However, in the last 3 out of 4 times that I have used GE (once in Montreal and twice at JFK Terminal 8), I have encountered significant problems - enough to make me wonder if the program is entering a state of neglect.

On two occasions (Montreal and one of the JFK visits), the kiosks were functioning very poorly (taking forever on each step and timing out completely at times). In Montreal I had to go through the process 5 times before I successfully got to the end! The other kiosks in the terminal were no better.

At JFK one time it took two attempts, timing out once and going very slow the other time. Also at Terminal 8 they seem to have reduced the number of kiosks down to just 6 (one of which was out of service), causing the GE line to take longer than, say, the Mobile Passport line.

On my other recent JFK Terminal 8 experience, the kiosks were down completely on a very busy day at the airport. And without my Global Entry card on hand, or a GE kiosk customs receipt to show, I wasn't even able to use the GE customs lane after baggage claim without getting lectured!

I am curious if other people have noticed similar declines in the reliability and speed of GE upon arrival? Is there anyone we can complain to about it?

At the moment I still recommend it but I hope this is not the sign of a disturbing trend in what was previously an excellent program.

Posted by
2 posts

I use it a couple times a year at SFO to get back into the USA. It works wonderfully. Never had to wait for a kiosk, takes about a minute at the kiosk to get my receipt, have only carry-on luggage, so I zip to the Global Entry customs exit line and I'm out of there in a total of about five minutes. Probably almost before anyone on my plane is even through the immigration line!

Posted by
314 posts

Has anyone applied recently? I just put in an application and am wondering what the lag time for appointments is. I have three locations near me where I could go so I hope they just give me first-available.

Had a thought while filling out the application: when listing the countries you've visited, make sure you list connecting airports as well, because if your passport was checked at a place, it will be on the electronic record.

Posted by
12551 posts

I use it a couple of times a year in Atlanta, never takes more than 5 minutes.

Posted by
3469 posts

It is up to you to choose where and when you go for your appointment after you re notified you have qualified, they don't assign one to you. It doesn't have to be a nearby airport either. When I applied, my closest 3 airports offering interviews had a 3 to 6 month backlog. I went to the interview at an airport I happened to be passing through that had openings and was done within 10 days of being notified I could do the interview.

Posted by
314 posts

Good news! My application was provisionally approved, and while one NYC interview center had no appts before December, the one at JFK had slots open on July 10! I'm all set to run out there and I'll have an active number to add to my reservation in time for my trip at the end of the month!

Does anyone know how the mobile passport app works in conjunction with GE? Or does it?

Posted by
3175 posts

Astorienne, it's at T4 near the baggage claim/bathrooms/escalator to Airtrain. Very friendly office too. That appointment list at JFK can be fluid so if you want to go earlier, keep checking as often as you like. Each time I checked, I kept refreshing again and again for things to pop up and they did.

Posted by
314 posts

Continental, thanks for the tips! I'm not really excited about going to JFK just for that, so I'll keep an eye out for any cancellations at the centers in Manhattan. JFK even has a cancellation tomorrow! That's too short notice for me, sadly. (And while I was composing this post, I was also rechecking all the locations--a slot popped up a few days earlier, on a Sunday, so I won't have to take off work!)

Posted by
11271 posts

Astorienne, if you have Global Entry, you don't need the Mobile Passport app. Either one allows you to bypass the long lines.

Posted by
3175 posts

JFK is indeed inconvenient; unlike Manhattan as you saw, they have more openings popping up at any time. I hope you can find an opening in Bowling Green!

Posted by
3175 posts

Continental, thanks for the tips! I'm not really excited about going
to JFK just for that, so I'll keep an eye out for any cancellations at
the centers in Manhattan. JFK even has a cancellation tomorrow! That's
too short notice for me, sadly. (And while I was composing this post,
I was also rechecking all the locations--a slot popped up a few days
earlier, on a Sunday, so I won't have to take off work!)

Oh good! Is at JFK, which I know is a huge pain, or in Bowling Green?

Posted by
1624 posts

Hi Avirose, I've used Global Entry on two trips to Europe and it worked great. Just returned from Dublin which has US Customs and Immigrations on site. A very good idea. Unfortunately, this time I was traveling with a friend who doesn't have GE so I figured it would be polite to stand in the regular line with her. There were two people in line for GE and probably 250 in the regular line. Took us about 30 minutes to get through the line versus 2 minutes in the GE line. This thread is from February so I'm sure you've already made your decision but it's "thumbs up" for GE!

Posted by
314 posts

Continental--my appt is at JFK. I will keep checking Bowling Green for a cancellation. Right now they just have Sept. dates open--too long to wait IMO. But right now I'm pretty happy with the time I have--a Sunday afternoon is perfect, I'll just bring a book for the interminable subway ride.

Posted by
1660 posts

Quick update from me, the OP -- I had my Global Entry interview in mid-April. It lasted less than 5 minutes, and most of that time was spent trying to get a good scan of my fingerprints. It took a few attempts with each hand and thumb before the agent liked the result. The info they give you says it might take 24 hours for the approval to go through their system, but by the time I got back to my desk a confirmation email message was already in my inbox. The card showed up a week or so later, with a nice sleeve with a copper-colored interior and instructions to keep the card in the sleeve all the time.

I added the new ID number to the passenger profile info in my various airline membership webpages, so it gets listed with the rest of my info whenever I make a reservation. I haven't confirmed yet whether slight variations in my name on my airline profiles has any effect.

I've seen posts here in the RS forums recently mentioning not just crazy wait times for interviews but also clogged entry processing ports at various return airports, and I wonder if those are just momentary bad luck or if there's already some changes in place from new management. I guess we don't even really know if there are any changes in staffing or oversight for this federal function yet. But since we are in the year of the Rooster, I'm apt to notice how the cockerel takes credit for the sunrise.

Posted by
6720 posts

this:

Things have worked smoothly in San Juan, P.R. and Seattle, but because of volume at Miami there was an extra 2-3 minute wait.

I guess an extra 2-3 minutes really means things aren't running smoothly! For shame.

Posted by
314 posts

Just got back from my trip to JFK for my Global Entry interview. The questions: "have you been to Canada or Mexico in the last five years?" "Why do you want to get Global Entry?" "Have you ever been arrested?" "Have you ever been found guilty of violating any customs/border related laws?"

Got my approval email before I even made it back to the Airtrain.

Five minutes. (Plus two hours each way on four different trains, thanks to MTA construction this weekend...)

Posted by
1660 posts

Sounds about the same as my interview, Astorienne, except the agent asked me about being arrested in a couple of different ways. Since I've never been arrested as an adult, I kept saying no, and he took it as acceptable.

Posted by
928 posts

Since I've never been arrested as an adult

Okay, you can't just leave us with that ... ;D

Mobile Passport was not working when we came back into ATL in late June. I couldn't get the final submission to go through on the app, and I tried 4-5 times from both my phone and my husband's. I have GE but hubby does not, so we went to the regular kiosk. We were still out of there in 15 minutes or so. We were seated in the front of the plane though.

Posted by
166 posts

This thread is so helpful! We're in eastern Washington and the closest interview airport is Seattle, so it's a road trip just to be interviewed. We go to Mexico often...I noticed that's a question asked...certainly that doesn't raise red flags? I'd hate to spend $200.00 (non refundable) for the application to be turned down for Mexican or Canadian travel.
Thanks everyone!

Posted by
3537 posts

Cathy, if you are going to have to drive to Seattle anyway, consider. A NEXUS card. 1/2 the price, gives you precheck, global entry, and quick border crossings with Canada.

It took me less than 5 minutes to get through immigration with global entry. Then I waited 20 minutes for luggage.......

Posted by
314 posts

Cathy, the agent was looking at his screen when he asked about traveling to Mexico or Canada. I forgot until now that he also asked me when the last time I flew anywhere was. I sort of got the feeling he was looking at a list of all my border crossings and quizzing me on them. The Canada thing was a trick question perhaps--I last visited Canada in '09, so I supplied that information.

Now I'm really curious if they have a whole list of my comings and goings through my whole life. I've had a passport since I was 6 months old.

Posted by
3469 posts

Border protection and customs is working on a way to fix the long delays to get your Global Entry Interview done.

They are beginning to offer "Enrollment on Arrival" where you complete your interview on your first arrival back into the US after passing the background check that is part of the Global Entry enrollment process. There will be a line dedicated in the customs area for this. It will be offered at 5 airports initially and expanded to most Global Entry airports if it goes well.

All for it as long as it doesn't slow anything else down. We shall see. More detail in the newspaper article noted below:

http://www.chron.com/business/bizfeed/article/Customs-expedite-Global-Entry-enrollment-Houston-11273576.php

Posted by
395 posts

DH and I have Global Entry and were traveling to Europe with our college-aged daughter who does not. All three of us were TSA pre-approved on all of the domestic flights. I assume that happened because of our Global Entry status, although I realize it's possible for other reasons.

Posted by
2525 posts

After having Global Entry, I would not consider dropping it. The actual interview was fairly brief and pleasant. Since we live a long distance from interview sites, we accomplished that step by scheduling them during a layover at SeaTac Airport. Easy.

Posted by
2 posts

My experience of NEXUS (Canada) / Global Entry (US) has been incredibly positive, every step of the way through the on line application process, the interview process, this is the best dollar investment you will make towards better travelling.