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Global entry enrollment

Has anyone signed up for this offering? Is it worth the money when traveling internationally? I'm not sure it will work in other countries - such as London Heathrow. Last year we waited for over 45 minutes to go thru security and missed our train connection. I would do almost anything to avoid those horrible, long lines again.

Posted by
23465 posts

It is strictly for returning to the US and avoiding US immigration and custom lines. But a big side benefit is Pre-Check for US domestic airlines. We have had it for about eight years and love it. Makes returning to the US a breeze. Has no value for any foreign immigration or customs. Have to wait in line just like anyone else.

Posted by
104 posts

We find that it saves a lot of time at Logan Airport in Boston and is well worth the fee to us.

Posted by
4595 posts

UK offers an international frequent traveler program, but you need to travel to London several times a year and I thought at about 120 pounds a year to be costly.
I have a Canadian NEXUS/Global Entry card and I will certainly be renewing it. It's no good overseas, but I clear through my kiosks as fast as I can walk except for the 2 minutes it takes to push buttons and let them scan my retinas. A little slower via US airport transfers, but worth every penny in my estimation.

Posted by
6788 posts

It is useful, but exactly how much time (if any) it will save you depends on the exact circumstances (sometimes lots, sometimes none). TSA Precheck, which typicallyy comes with Global Entry, is also useful, though exactly how much it helps varies from "not at all" to lots.

Both of these are better to have than not having them. How much its worth it to you is a separate question.

Note that some credit cards (usually those that have a big annual fee) provide a credit for the cost associated with getting Global Entry/TSA Precheck.

Both of these are only valid in the US, of course. TSA precheck may be useful when boarding flights departing from the US, and Gobal Entry may be useful upon returning to the US from abroad, but other countries have their own systems.

Posted by
4927 posts

At $100 for 5 years, for me it has paid for itself many times over. I have saved 5-30 minutes in TSA security lines each time I fly domestically. In addition, the security requirements are fewer: you don't have to take your laptop out or liquids (same limits) out; shoes stay on. This seems to result in the lines at (TSA passengers only) scanners moving more quickly.

Arriving back to the US it varies according to arriving flights, but I've had occasions where it saved me from entry lines that appeared 2 hours long and I heard to be causing many missed connections. It would seem to have tremendous value for those landing from an international destination and traveling onward.

At SFO, global entry also gives access to wave-through lines after baggage claim, another line avoided.

Internationally, I just plan long layovers.

Posted by
1853 posts

Definitely worth it for me.

TSA precheck allows you to leave your liquids in your bag, shoes and light jacket can stay on you. And you often get to go through the magnetometer vs the full body scanner.

Note precheck requires that you fly on a airline that participates in the program.

Posted by
14249 posts

Since you don't have a location listed, I'll add that if you fly FROM a small airport they may not participate 100% in Pre-Check. For instance, I can leave on my shoes but have to take out my liquids.

I do like how fast I get thru Immigration coming home altho if I check bags that usually is a wait anyway.

If you do sign up for it, be aware that there are only certain areas where you can do your face to face interview. When I did mine in 2016 the wait time for an interview was very long but I kept checking several times a day and was able to move my interview up by several months.

Posted by
8635 posts

Make sure you know what it is and what it does. It does not help with security screening (other than giving you a trusted traveler number to use to get TSA Pre-check in the US). It is about getting through passport control (aka immigration) on return to the US from overseas. It does nothing for you on entry to other countries. There are a few locations overseas where a US passport control station has been set up (Canada, Dublin, etc.) where you can be screened for entry, whether you have GE or not.

We just used it for the fifth time since getting it, and yes it is worth it to me. We have sailed through the immigration checkpoints in minutes, noting the huge lines of other people waiting for permission to enter the US. We might have missed connections without it in a couple of situations.

Its not about the money - as you've learned, sometimes the time you save is worth more than money.

Posted by
8871 posts

Not going to help you entering any country.

I fly via LAX. Makes me so VERY happy to by pass the masses when I return from my travels.

As far as trying to avoid lines at Heathrow. Best of luck. 45 minutes?!

Waited an hour in January.

C’est last vie.

Posted by
1874 posts

I just wanted to add that certain airports in Canada (e.g. Toronto) and the Dublin, Ireland airport have US preclearance. My global entry really speeds that up and when I land in US it is just like getting off a domestic flight.

Posted by
2127 posts

And, although rare, with Global Entry you could still be selected for random normal security checking....the same screening non TSA pre-check people would get. If you see SSSSS on your boarding pass (I do not remember how many S's, but a bunch), then likely you will need to go thru normal security upon landing in the US (or I am guessing on departure from the US, too).

There is an entire thread on that in the RS Forum somewhere....seems 6 months or so ago.

Posted by
2585 posts

I'm another vote in favor of GOES, especially when you factor in Pre-Check to the decision.
I would point out, though, that so many people departing from SFO in San Francisco seem to have Pre-Check that the security line for the regular joes is sometimes shorter than the line for the slightly privileged few.

Posted by
11368 posts

We have had it for five years. We have spent ten minutes max going through Global Entry at JFK,BOS, LAX,ORD etc. where you see long lines of exhausted travellers waiting in line but you are done! Worth every cent. If you have US Global Entry and travel to London LHR at least four times a year, you can get a similar program for LHR at additional cost. As stated above GE is ONLY for re entering the USA.
You were lucky to get through LHR in only 45 minutes.
Note: We applied for Global Entry renewal in early January and have not been approved yet due to the Government Shutdown,; they are quite back logged according to a message on my GE page.

Posted by
5697 posts

If you can't get an appointment for Global Entry in time for your next trip, at least download the free Global Passport app from the U.S. State Department -- we have gotten through SFO in minutes, bypassing the long lines.

Posted by
270 posts

The mobile passport app is great, too for re-entering USA. I have both GE and I use the mobile passport app. Last year, entering the US (BOS) from Madrid, the line for Mobile Passport was EMPTY. In fact, we had to wait for an officer, who was doing other things..... eventually he just waved us through.

Posted by
420 posts

We only have TSA pre-check but it has saved us numerous time. We got got it for free through ou credit card but if I have to pay for it next time I absolutely will.

Posted by
2765 posts

If you fly through ATL, h call of the agents who are going to give you a hard time just because they can, it’s priceless.

You can wait an hour waiting to be harassed or five minutes.

Can’t wait to see what they find to complain about this time. Last time it was the one time entry to Russia and my passport. Several years ago it was the visa to Turkey. Apparently in Atlanta if you go any place you are obviously a communist or terrorist or something? My new passport has no stamps, I’m sure that will be an issue

On my last International flight they seriously asked the man in front of me wearing a Delta flight attendant uniform why he had so many passport stamps? Gee because his job requires him to fly to Europe? Lol

Posted by
23465 posts

Maybe I should avoid Atlanta, period, my Cuban stamp from five years ago might be frown upon.

Posted by
104 posts

Frank, I'm thinking the same thing. I have Cuba and Iran stamps in my passport. Luckily no officials in Boston have cared. I wondered if I would be able to renew my Global Entry online or if I'd be called in for another interview but it went through without any hiccups.

Posted by
14 posts

My wife and I have it. We travel back and forth for business and it just speeds up the process getting back in the US. When you are traveling for work, you just want to minimize the time at the airport (my wife and i have a competition to see how fast we can get from when we walk out the door from our house to standing at the gate at Newark and vice versa. So far I win for getting there but she beats me getting home). It ends up coming in real handy for certain trips. A few years ago we went to Cancun because we had done our honeymoon there many moons ago. So the trip back is a plane loaded with people that typically do not travel. Thus, you get home you have a bunch of people that are just confused and thus it takes time. Using GE takes a wait of 30-60 minutes down to 2-3. Then in the summer when a big group comes back on multiple airplanes from vacation at once, they all slam immigration and customs.

Posted by
996 posts

If you travel outside the US frequently and want to expedite your return time to the States, than Global Entry is probably worth it to you.

If you fly a lot within the US but only travel outside the country 2-3 times a year, you may want to simply consider applying for the TSA Pre Check program which gives you expedited screening through US airports. If you pair that with the CBP's Mobile Pass app for your phone, you may be able to still bypass the lines without spending as much money. Mobile Pass has saved us TONS of time when returning to the US from abroad.

Also keep in mind that even with Global Entry or TSA Pre Check, you may still be subject to what they call additional, random security screening. I've talked to people who have never encountered that once, people who travel weekly. I travel 4-5 times a year, and I (or my other half) encounter it about 40% of the time.

Posted by
136 posts

It's absolutely worth it. If you fly domestically with any regularity, it's only $15 more than PreCheck for the 5 years (and of course, you get the PreCheck benefit).

The time saving is incredible. On my last flight from Europe, it was a total of 30 minutes from when the plane landed (and I was in the back of coach) to being outside of the airport (Boston) with my checked bag.

One tip - if you sign up and your interview date is further in the future than you'd like, check the calendar regularly. Instead of waiting 2.5 months for my interview, I was able to get a date 1.5 weeks after being cleared, courtesy of diligent calendar checking.

Posted by
12172 posts

I used to be the CBP spokesman for Global Entry. The upside is Global Entry is very quick for reentering the US. You also get preferential treatment with TSA if you have Global Entry. The downside is it may not be worth the money if you don't use it often. Also you have to schedule a separate trip to a port of entry (usually the airport) to be interviewed.

I'd suggest taking a close look at CBP's Mobile Passport option. It's free, just download the app before your trip. When you arrive at your home airport, you scan your passport with your cell phone and file (essentially the blue declaration card) electronically. It gives you a QR code for your phone, walk to the VERY short line for Mobile Passport and you're through in about the same time as Global Entry.

Like Global Entry, they let me use the short line for having my bag cleared too. They ALWAYS check my bag. I'm one of the very rare super light travelers. I'm not sure whether they check mine because it's odd to carry so little or because they have to check a certain number and it takes them less than a minute to look at mine?

All of this is for using at US airports. When I was with CBP (until 2011) we were still working on bilateral agreements with countries to allow them to use Global Entry kiosks if they allowed us access to their pre-screened traveler programs. The hard part was each system was functionally different and screened different things so they were apples to oranges.

Posted by
3521 posts

Global Entry does nothing to help outside the US.

It will greatly reduce the time you spend when returning to the US dealing with Immigration at your first airport when you land. Also, it includes TSA Pre Check which does help get you through security lines faster, but also only in the US.

I have had Global Entry for several years now. Combined with the included TSA Pre Check, it is well worth the money and saves a lot of time on all my trips.

If you have Global Entry and visit the UK often enough, they will offer you their version of Global Entry as well to speed you through their immigration checks. It is a lot more expensive than Global Entry and so far has not been that appealing so I have not signed up for it.

Posted by
889 posts

SO WORTH IT! We had to wait 5 months to get our interview but our fee assessment did not begin until we were approved so I was thankful for that. Last year we flew into JFK from Iceland......the line was HUGE into customs and hubby and I were wondering what was going on....then an agent yelled out in front of the 500 people ahead of us, “WHO HAS GLOBAL ENTRY???”.....about 6 of us raised our hands and were promptly escorted to the special GLOBAL ENTRY kiosks.......the others 494 we left behind looked furious. We were in and out in minutes......to me it is essential for entry into the USA. If you fly in and out of Atlanta much it seems to be the only airport tech savvy enough to help you in and out quickly......almost where you might not always need GLOBAL ENTRY if you fly into Atlanta.
I do have a friend that has a hubby that flies to Zurich a lot for business......he had GLOBAL ENTRY and made the mistake of putting some illegal food.....careless mistake on his part......in his flight bag. They stopped him and he was grilled......said it was a MAJOR headache from then on to get back into the good graces of GLOBAL ENTRY again......so don’t abuse it!

Posted by
492 posts

Certainly worth it - certain credit cards will even give you a statement credit for the cost of GE or other trusted traveler enrollment/application fees. I wouldn't necessarily run out and sign up for those credit cards just for that benefit, but if you already have one of them you might as well take advantage of it.

As has been mentioned, GE also comes with TSA Pre-Check - so even without loads of international travel, you'll benefit from it when traveling domestically.

GE is only for returning to the US, so won't do you any good when traveling in to a place like Heathrow. Having said that, there are some pre-clearance locations where you can use your GE to more quickly clear US customs and immigration - in Ireland and Canada, for instance, you can use your GE to more quickly clear customs/immigration prior to your departing flight, and land in the US as if on a domestic flight. Very handy when flying from one of those places!

If you're contemplating it, begin the process sooner rather than later. Depending on your nearest enrollment facility, it can take quite awhile to schedule your interview!

Posted by
927 posts

Yes it is worth it. We fly internationally at least two times a year. Nothing like clearing US passport control and customs in 15 minutes. Do listen to the advice about no illegal items, they are trusting you to comply with the rules.

Posted by
21 posts

Everyone's seemed to miss a good point about Global Entry. What everyone says about speeding up passport control and customs, at least at LAX and the Fort Lauderdale cruise terminal is TRUE. But several people have said you only need TSA Pre-Check if most of your travel is domestic and you only occasionally go out of the US. True, you could do it that way, but why if you still MIGHT do some international travel? TSA Pre-Check costs $85 for five years and only works on TSA domestic security screening. Global Entry is also good for five years, works on TSA domestic security screening exactly like Pre-Check, and makes your return to the US through passport control and customs easy and quick, for $100. Yup, only $15 more than Pre-Check! That's a value you just can't pass up, even if you are only thinking about international travel over the next few years. That $15 is money well spent if I can save 30-60 minutes waiting in a US customs line after a 10-14 hour direct flight from Europe to LAX, even if only once or twice over five years!

Posted by
8629 posts

This information is really only pertinent to those living near the US Canada border, but the NEXUS card is a bargain that can't be beat.
In addition to all the advantages at the US Canada border, you also get TSA precheck and Global Entry. All for just $50.

Posted by
58 posts

All of the above are great comments and I agree. TSA pre-check is worth the $85 and if you occasionally travel outside the US the extra $15 for Global Entry/TSA pre-check is worth it. The only problem that I have been seeing lately is that TSA pre-check is so popular that there have been times, at my home airport in Minneapolis, that the TSA pre-check line is longer than the general check-in line. There's a new program called Clear which a friend of mine has. He says it is only available in selected airports but it is even easier and faster. I haven't checked it out yet but I will.