Overseas travel is fun, but coming back to the USA can be a little rough – the jetlag, the long transit times, and time zone changes always make me a more than a little cranky. But that all changed when I spent $100 applying for Global Entry last year, was accepted, and now I am one of the 1.3 million people in the USA who can speed thru U.S. Customs and Immigration upon arrival back into the USA. And the best part about it – I never really spent the $100 because Global Entry fee was returned to me as statement credit as a benefit of the Platinum Card® from American Express. According to the Global Entry website, “Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Though intended for frequent international travelers, there is no minimum number of trips necessary to qualify for the program. Participants may enter the United States by using automated kiosks located at select airports.”
Sounds good? The Global Entry also lists these benefits:
- No processing lines
- No paperwork
- Available at major U.S. airports
- Reduced wait times
And oddly enough, I have found all of these to be true:
- On the plane you don’t fill out the annoying little blue Customs Declaration Form since all of the information is electronically filled out at the kiosk
- I have never had to wait at a Global Entry kiosk and I’ve used them at JFK, BOS, BWI, SEA, LAX even during peak periods
- After placing your passport into the machine, you confirm your flight number, answer the Customs Declaration Form questions – which defaults to NO TO ALL – place your fingers on the biometric scanners to verify it’s you, and then out comes your receipt.
This receipt gets you ‘front of the line’ privileges – thru a separate line – to see the Immigration agent and then the same ‘front of the line’ privileges to see the Customs agent.And the other amazing benefit to Global Entry is that it gives you a unique number that you can use for TSA PreCheck. With TSA PreCheck, you number that you give to your airline, and most of the time TSA PreCheck will print out on your boarding pass, allowing you to use the quicker TSA PreCheck screening method in 120 airports across the USA.
TSA Precheck and Global Entry have saved me countless hours thru the security checkpoint and then skipping potentially long lines coming back into the USA. This makes the $450 fee for the Platinum Card® from American Express even more worth it when you can reduce your times waiting in line.