Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that gives low-risk international travelers access to expedited US customs screening when returning to the US and TSA PreCheck benefits—faster airport security lines. You’ll pay a nonrefundable $100 application fee, which is due every five years as a renewal fee.
Global Entry can help international travelers save time at US customs when returning to the country. There are ways frequent international travelers can access this program for free. Some credit cards offer application fee reimbursements every four years.
What Is Global Entry?
Global Entry is a government service that gives people who are recognized as low risk by the U.S. CBP access to quick US customs screenings upon arrival into the US. Global Entry members can use automatic kiosks to help avoid lines at more than 70 airports to pass through US customs, including most major US airports.
It costs $100 to apply, which is nonrefundable if the program denies your application. This fee is also due every five years as your membership renewal fee as long as you want to maintain your membership. After you submit your online application, you’ll need to schedule an in-person interview where you’ll provide your fingerprints, identification, and Social Security number (SSN).
How Global Entry Works
This program is tailored to international travelers and is designed to help them pass through US customs more quickly when returning to the US. Upon arrival at participating airports, members can proceed to the automatic Global Entry kiosks to begin the expedited screening process as they avoid lines. You’ll be required to present your passport or US permanent resident card to use a kiosk.
To use Global Entry, follow these steps:
- Proceed to a Global Entry automatic kiosk at participating airports
- Present your passport or US permanent resident card
- Place finger on the scanner for verification
- Complete a customs declaration
- Receive your transaction receipt and pass through US customs
To apply for a membership you need to create a Trusted Traveler Programs account. U.S. CBP will review your application. Once your application is conditionally approved, you’ll be required to schedule an in-person interview to finish the application process. You can access Global Entry kiosks at more than 70 airports upon approval.
Who Global Entry Is Right For
Global Entry was put in place to help frequent international travelers access quick US customs screenings when returning to the US. It also gives members access to fast airport security lines through TSA PreCheck at no additional cost. Additionally, some personal and business credit cards provide application fee reimbursements. This means some people can access this program for free.
Global Entry is right for:
- Frequent international travelers: Global Entry offers automatic kiosks as a way to speed up US customs screenings for international travelers who pay for a membership. This can help cut out waiting in long US customs lines when returning to the US.
- People who want access to Global Entry and TSA PreCheck: Global Entry memberships also include all benefits TSA PreCheck offers, such as faster airport security lines and fewer security requirements. If you travel both internationally and inside the US, you can access both programs’ benefits by applying for Global Entry.
- People with credit cards that offer application reimbursements: There are few personal credit cards and business credit cards that offer application fee reimbursements. If you have a credit card that offers this perk, you can gain access to this program at additional no cost, besides any annual card fees the issuer may charge.
This screening program can help reduce the amount of time you spend waiting to get through US customs, which varies depending on the airport. If you become a member, you can access automatic US customs kiosks and faster general airport security lines.
Global Entry Costs
Global Entry requires a nonrefundable $100 application fee. This means you can’t get your money back if your application is denied. Once you’re approved, your membership is valid for five years. Once your membership expires, you’ll be required to renew Global Entry for $100 if you want to maintain the benefits.
Some credit cards offer application fee reimbursements. These cards typically offer both Global Entry and TSA PreCheck reimbursements. So, if your card offers this benefit, you can choose between the two programs. Global Entry is tailored for international travel and TSA PreCheck is tailored to domestic travel. However, keep in mind, through Global Entry you can receive TSA PreCheck benefits and the application fee is only $15 more than TSA PreCheck ($85).
Global Entry Kiosk Locations
Global Entry kiosks are available at more than 70 airports, including Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), San Francisco International Airport (SFO), and John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), three of the 15 busiest US airports. However, only some airports with Global Entry kiosks also offer enrollment offices.
Airports That Offer Global Entry Enrollment Offices
There are 53 airports that offer both Global Entry enrollment offices and automatic kiosks, including the 15 busiest US airports. In addition to offices located in the US, there are also a handful of enrollment offices outside of the US, such as in Canada, Puerto Rico, and Qatar. You can use the Global Entry enrollment office locator to find a location nearby.
Global Entry Eligibility
US citizens, US lawful permanent residents, and Mexican nationals are eligible for a Global Entry membership. Additionally, this program is available to citizens of the following countries: Argentina, India, Colombia, United Kingdom, Germany, Panama, Singapore, South Korea, and Switzerland.
There’s no minimum age requirement to access this security screening program. However, if you’re under the age of 18 then you’ll need consent from your parent or legal guardian. Your parent or legal guardian does not need to be a Global Entry member to give consent. But if you want to use the program with your family, each family member needs their own membership.
Reasons for Global Entry Ineligibility
The U.S. CBP also provides a list of reasons that make you ineligible for a Global Entry membership, including providing false information, having pending criminal charges, or inability to satisfy U.S. CBP of your low-risk status.
You may not be eligible for participation in the Global Entry program if you:
- Provide false or incomplete information on your application
- Have been convicted of any criminal offense or have pending criminal charges or outstanding warrants, including driving under the influence
- Have been found in violation of any customs, immigration, or agriculture regulations or laws in any country
- Are the subject of an ongoing investigation by any federal, state, or local law enforcement agency
- Are inadmissible to the US under immigration regulation, including applicants with approved waivers of inadmissibility or parole documentation
- Can’t convince U.S. CBP of your low-risk status
The bottom line is those with a clean background history should have no difficulties applying for Global Entry. There aren’t many requirements besides having a passport or US permanent resident card and completing your in-person interview.
How to Get Global Entry
To apply for this program, you’ll be required to submit an application through the Trusted Travelers Programs website, which includes your citizenship information, address, and date of birth. In addition to the application, you also need to schedule an in-person interview where you will provide fingerprints and your passport or US permanent resident card.
Follow these eight steps to get Global Entry:
1. Visit the Trusted Travelers Programs Website
To begin the application process and apply online, visit the Trusted Traveler Programs website. From the homepage, click the green “Get Started” button under the Global Entry column. This will redirect you to a security notification page that requires your consent to continue. Click “Consent & Continue” to proceed to your application.
2. Log In or Create a Trusted Travelers Programs Account
You will be directed to log in with your username and password or create a new account if you have not yet done so. To create an account, simply click “Create an account” and enter the email address you prefer to use. Next, follow the instructions sent in a confirmation email. Once you gain access to your account, you can begin the online application process.
3. Submit Your Online Application and Pay Your Fee
Start to work your way through the online application process. Each step is easy to complete, and the application typically takes no more than 20 minutes to finish as long as you have all the information handy. Typical Global Entry application information includes citizenship, your address, and date of birth.
Additionally, you will also need to pay the nonrefundable $100 application fee when you submit your application. If you have a credit card that offers free Global Entry, be sure to use that card to complete this transaction. If you don’t have a card that offers this perk, consider opening a card that offers application fee reimbursements before applying for this program.
4. Wait For Your Conditional Approval Status
After you submit your application, U.S. CBP will review your information. If you’re given the green light, you will receive an email notification that you’ve been conditionally approved. The email also will contain your conditional letter of approval, which you’ll need to print out and bring to your in-person interview.
5. Schedule Your In-person Interview
Once you receive your conditional approval, it’s time to schedule your in-person interview. Through your online Trusted Travelers Programs account, click on the “Schedule Interview” button. You’ll be able to select the closest Global Entry enrollment office from the available list. The program requires you to schedule your in-person interview within 30 days of your conditional approval or you may need to reapply.
6. Attend Your In-person Interview
The final step of the application process is to attend your in-person interview. Remember to bring all the required pieces of information and documents, which include a valid passport or US permanent resident card, proof of residence, and your conditional approval letter. The in-person interviews typically take about 15 minutes, which involves a background check and a walk-through on how to use the security screening program.
7. Use Your Global Entry Benefits
Once you’re approved after your in-person interview, you will receive your Global Entry card in the mail within one to two weeks. Be sure to activate your card online when you receive it to access Global Entry kiosks at more than 70 airports and TSA PreCheck benefits at more than 200 US airports.
8. Renew Your Membership Every Five Years
Your Global Entry membership is valid for five years, and you can begin the renewal process up to one year in advance. To renew your membership, log in to your Trusted Traveler Programs account and select the “Manage Membership” page. Once on the “Manage Membership” page, select to renew your membership. You’re required to pay the $100 renewal fee and update any outdated information. You typically won’t need to schedule another in-person interview.
How to Get Global Entry for Free
Some credit card issuers offer Global Entry application fee reimbursements on select personal and business credit cards. If you have a card that offers this perk, you can receive a $100 statement credit when you apply for and renew your Global Entry membership. These cards also offer reimbursements for TSA PreCheck application fees in case you prefer to only have TSA PreCheck benefits.
Best Credit Cards That Offer Free Global Entry
American Express Platinum Card®
|Intro APR||Regular APR||Annual Fee||Credit Needed|
|N/A||N/A||$550||Good - Excellent|
The American Express Platinum Card® is designed for people who travel often and want to access luxury travel perks, including airport lounge access. You can earn a large sign-up bonus and access Global Entry for free. However, this card is a charge card, which means your balance will be due in full monthly. You should only choose this card if you can meet those repayment terms and afford the card’s high annual fee.
Note: The information related to the American Express Platinum Card® has been collected by Fit Small Business and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.
Venture® Rewards from Capital One®
Best For: Unlimited travel rewards and top-tier travel benefits
|Intro APR||Regular APR||Annual Fee||Credit Needed|
|N/A||17.24% to 24.49% Variable||$95, waived first year||Good - Excellent|
The Capital One® Venture® Rewards card is best for people that want to earn fixed-rate miles on every purchase. Additionally, this card offers a large sign-up bonus that can be worth several hundred dollars. Choose this card over the American Express Platinum Card® if you want a card with a more affordable annual fee.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Best For: Receiving exceptional travel rewards and benefits
|Intro APR||Regular APR||Annual Fee||Credit Needed|
|N/A||18.49% to 25.49% Variable||$550||Good - Excellent|
Chase Sapphire Reserve® is tailored to people who want top-tier travel perks like free Global Entry or airport lounge access through a traditional credit card instead of a charge card. Plus, it offers excellent rewards on travel and dining purchases. Unlike the American Express Platinum Card®, this Chase credit card is not required to be paid in full monthly. Any unpaid balances will be charged interest until they are paid off.
Note: The information related to the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Credit Card has been collected by Fit Small Business and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.
Business Credit Cards That Offer Free Global Entry
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
Best For: Gaining access to unrivaled travel rewards and luxury travel perks like airport lounge access
|Intro APR||Regular APR||Annual Fee||Credit Needed|
|N/A||14.24% - 22.24% Variable||$595||Good, Excellent|
The American Express Business Platinum® Card is best for business owners who want premium travel perks and the best travel rewards. You can receive free Global Entry or TSA PreCheck and unlimited free access to over 1,200 airport lounges worldwide. Choose this card if you can afford the high annual fee and to repay your balance in full because it’s a charge card.
Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business is best for business owners who want to earn fixed-rate miles on every purchase and a huge sign-up bonus. You can also earn top-tier rewards for travel-related purchases made through Capital One. This card’s annual fee is significantly more affordable than the American Express Business Platinum® Card, and it is waived for the first 12 months.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card is designed for business owners who fly with Southwest Airlines. You can earn a large sign-up bonus and fixed-rate points for every dollar you spend on Southwest Airlines-related purchases. Only choose this card if you are a frequent Southwest Airlines customer.
Note: The information related to the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Card has been collected by Fit Small Business and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.
Global Entry vs Other Trusted Traveler Programs
In addition to Global Entry, frequent travelers can also choose from four other programs that offer expedited security screenings. These programs include TSA PreCheck, Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection (SENTRI), NEXUS, and CLEAR. The type of travel you do—domestic or international—and the level of benefits you’d like to receive determines if another program, other than Global Entry, is better for you.
$85 every five years
Faster security lines
$122.25 every five years
Faster security when entering the US from Canada and Mexico
$50 every five years
Faster clearance when entering the US from Canada
$179 per year
Faster identity screening to skip the general security line
Global Entry vs TSA PreCheck
Both TSA PreCheck and Global Entry offer expedited security clearance to low-risk travelers. TSA PreCheck provides faster airport security lines at more than 200 US airports while Global Entry is designed to speed up US customs screening for travelers returning to the US. However, if you are a Global Entry member, you’ll also receive TSA PreCheck benefits. TSA PreCheck costs $85 every five years compared to Global Entry’s $100.
Global Entry vs SENTRI
SENTRI is tailored to people who travel from Mexico into the US or from Canada into the US by air or land. This program offers members an expedited security screening process with US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and you may receive TSA PreCheck benefits. SENTRI costs $122.50 every five years.
Global Entry vs NEXUS
NEXUS is meant for people who strictly travel between Canada and the U.S. This security program offers faster clearance when returning to the U.S. from Canada by air, land, or sea. NEXUS has a $50 application fee, which is due every five years if you want to renew your membership.
Global Entry vs CLEAR
CLEAR is meant to help frequent travelers pass through the general TSA security line more easily. This program lets you skip the general TSA line and uses fingerprints and eye scans to identify you. After it verifies your identity, a CLEAR representative will escort you to the front of the regular airport security line. It costs $179 per year, and you can enroll on CLEAR’s website.
Global Entry Benefits and Disadvantages
Global Entry is a great government program to join if you travel often and want access to faster US customs screenings for five years. However, the application fee is nonrefundable if the program denies you and enrollment offices are scarce.
Global Entry Benefits
- Faster US customs security screening: Global Entry gives frequent travelers the opportunity to pass through US customs more quickly when returning to the US from anywhere outside of the US. No other government security program matches these benefits.
- Also offers TSA PreCheck perks: When you’re approved for a Global Entry membership, you’ll also receive access to TSA PreCheck benefits—faster general airport security lines and fewer security requirements.
- Memberships last five years: Your Global Entry membership is valid for five years. You can renew your Global Entry membership up to one year in advance for $100.
Global Entry Disadvantages
- Your application fee is nonrefundable: This program has a nonrefundable $100 application fee, which means you can’t receive a refund if your application is rejected.
- Nearby enrollment centers may be hard to find: Global Entry enrollment offices are scarcer when compared to other government programs such as TSA PreCheck. Global Entry enrollment centers are typically found at major airports and U.S. CBP offices.
- All family members must have their own membership: If you are traveling with your family and plan to use Global Entry, every family member will need a membership, including babies.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Global Entry
We covered a lot of information on this expedited security screening program. Some questions are asked more often than others, and we address those here. If you have any other unanswered questions, please comment below and we’ll provide an answer.
How do I get Global Entry?
To apply, visit the Trusted Travelers Programs website. From the homepage, choose Global Entry and click “Consent & Continue.” You’ll need to log in to your Trusted Traveler Programs account or create one. Once logged in, complete the application and wait for your conditional approval. You will then need to schedule an interview to complete the process.
How long is Global Entry valid?
Global Entry is valid for five years. You are able to renew your Global Entry membership online up to one year in advance. You will be required to pay $100 to renew your membership. Renewal typically takes minutes, however, it may take longer if you need to schedule an interview to update any information.
Which is better TSA PreCheck or Global Entry?
The type of travel you do likely determines if TSA PreCheck or Global Entry is best for you. Choose Global Entry if you travel internationally and want faster clearance through US customs. Choose TSA PreCheck if you travel within the US and want access to expedited airport security lines.
Global Entry is a government program that gives low-risk travelers access to expedited US customs screenings when returning to the US. The program costs $100 and memberships last for five years. You can apply online for a Global Entry membership.
There are ways you can avoid the $100 application fee. Some credit cards, like Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business, offer application fee reimbursements as statement credits every four years. You can apply online in a matter of minutes.
For rates and fees on the American Express Business Platinum® Card, please click here.