Global Entry for frequent travelers

Per Boat Shoe Boy’s suggestion, I submitted an application to the Global Entry program that is available for U.S. citizens. I didn’t know a ton about it prior to applying, but his family — a crew of frequent travelers — suggested it to us as we’ll be heading in and out of the United States more frequently in the coming years.

The program is essentially a trusted traveler program. After applying and being conditionally accepted, you head to a Global Entry interview site to conduct an interview with an agent. The initial application that you submit requires a fair bit of information — every place you’ve lived, worked and traveled within the past 5 years, plus other personal information so they can ensure that you’re a low-risk traveler.

Above, you can see the personal profile screen which shows the status of your application,  your profile, plus any notifications that you receive from the program. I’ve obscured some personal information, but you’d see an application and a member ID # that is specific to you.

The interviews traditionally take months to get, but I seriously lucked out. The day that I received my conditional approval, an interview slot opened up for the following afternoon.

I went in for my interview at SFO and was out in about 30 minutes. I had a picture taken and a handy clearance sticker affixed to my passport. The whole process makes re-entering the US a breeze. Instead of waiting in a long immigrations line, you walk up to a Global Entry kiosk, scan your passport and your fingerprints to enter. I have never entered through Miami but from what I hear it can be a beast — this should make it quite a bit faster!

Naturally, the approval is only good for the person that’s been approved which means spouses and children (even infants) can’t piggyback on that. For anyone that travels frequently, this is a great option. The application fee will run you $100, but once you’re approved you’re good for 5 years under the Global Entry program (provided you play nice and don’t have it revoked at all during the 5 year period).

Happy belated Christmas to me! Such a great way to close out 2012.

Are you guys part of the Global Entry program? What do you think?
Has it made your life easier?

xoxo from SF,

More about Shannon Kircher

Shannon Kircher is the founder and editor of The Wanderlust Effect. Founded in 2009, she has continued to document her international escapes as an expat in Europe and the Caribbean. Additionally, Shannon is the founder of Compass & Vine, a luxury boutique travel design firm, and is the Director of Marketing for the Frangipani Beach Resort. Shannon holds an MSc in Social Policy and Development from the London School of Economics and is a current candidate for WSET Level 3 in Wines & Spirits.