Navigating Smooth Travel: A Comprehensive Guide to Global Entry

If you’re a frequent jet-setter, you may have noticed that not everyone travels the same way. Some utilize expedited security screening programs like CLEAR to cut the security line. Others focus on accruing membership points with specific airlines to unlock benefits like sky clubs or special boarding zones. Still others like to take their shoes off immediately after boarding the plane, ensuring you smell their feet for as much of your flight as possible.

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No matter how you travel, there’s a way you could be doing it better. 

Global Entry is one method that can relieve stress and save time while navigating airports, especially if you travel internationally often.

Let’s dive into your complete guide to the benefits, application process, and quick start guide to Global Entry, starting with the most essential question: what is Global Entry?

What is Global Entry?

Available at most major airports, Global Entry is a membership program that can fast-track your entry into the United States. 

The Global Entry program accepts pre-approved, low-risk travelers into the program, offering an expedited customs security process that uses photo-capturing technology to verify your identity.1 U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a law enforcement organization that oversees border security, immigration, lawful travel and trade, and agricultural protection, organizes and runs the clearance program.2

Global Entry is a Trusted Traveler program like TSA PreCheck®, NEXUS, SENTRI, and FAST. Each program aims to enable expedited clearance of travelers and shipments of goods to and from the U.S. Thorough screenings and background checks on candidates are performed on the front end, which saves you time on the dates of your scheduled departure and arrival.

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Who Can Apply for Global Entry?

Any U.S. citizen or U.S. lawful permanent resident (colloquially known as a Green Card holder) can sign up for Global Entry. Citizens of certain countries like the United Kingdom, South Korea, and India can also apply. Visit CBP’s website to view the complete list of eligible citizenships that can apply for Global Entry.

Traveling with little ones? Children are eligible for Global Entry membership but need parent or guardian permission if they are under 18. Similarly, for the interview portion of the screening process, a parent or guardian’s presence is required if the applicant is under 18 years old. 

Even if you’re enrolled in the Global Entry program and traveling with your children, your benefits do not extend to them, your spouse, or your traveling companion. So, if you’re going on a family vacation and want everyone to be able to use Global Entry’s benefits, you’ll need to apply for each family member individually.

The Benefits of Global Entry

Membership in the Global Entry program isn’t free. The application fee is $100, not to mention the time cost of filling in forms, attending an in-person interview, and the processing time for the application. However, the benefits may far outweigh your monetary and time costs if you’re a frequent flier.

  • TSA PreCheck included – TSA PreCheck, an expedited transportation security administration (TSA) clearance program, is included with your Global Entry membership.3 TSA PreCheck has at least a $78 USD value and allows you to skip the long departure security lines at U.S. airports in favor of shorter, speedier lines. While regular security lines can be unpredictable, most TSA PreCheck members get through security in less than 5 minutes because you don’t have to remove your laptops, shoes, and belts. Both Global Entry and TSA PreCheck are valid for five years.
  • No paperwork – Are you tired of filling in monotonous paperwork every time you fly into the U.S.? Thanks to Global Entry’s pre-screening process, you can skip this step upon landing. All you have to do is check in at the Global Entry kiosk, and you can get home or to your next destination faster.
  • Extended benefits to other countries – Your Global Entry membership might save you time on your entries to other countries. For example, you may be eligible for designated processing lines that move faster or may be able to take advantage of equivalent security programs offered by other countries. While the name “Global Entry” implies you can go anywhere you like security-free, this isn’t exactly true—but it is nice to know that your Global Entry membership can save you time and stress in other countries, too.
  • Reduced wait times – The main benefit of applying for Global Entry is saving time during the complicated and often exhausting customs process. When you arrive in the United States, it can take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or more to move through the processing line, depending on how many planes are landing at a specific time. But with Global Entry, no processing lines means you can land and clear customs without waiting. If you do a lot of international traveling, that time spent in customs can add up.

All benefits considered, Global Entry is an enticing package. Not only can you save time on arrivals from international flights into the United States, but you can save time on most departing flights with TSA PreCheck. If you fly a lot and think it might be worth applying for Global Entry, here’s what to expect from the process.

Global Entry: The Application Process

The Global Entry application takes time to process, but it’s relatively straightforward. Here are the steps to completing the procedure.

  1. Log on to the Department of Homeland Security website and create an account with Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP). If you aren’t sure whether you should apply for Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, or another TTP, you can take a quiz on the Homeland Security site that will match you with the best program for your travel needs.
  2. Complete the online portion of the Global Entry application through the TTP portal. You’ll answer questions to establish your citizenship and identity, as well as your work history and most recent addresses. Then, you’ll pay the $100 application fee. Keep in mind that this is a non-refundable fee, even if your application is not accepted. 
  1. Attend an in-person interview at your nearest Global Entry Enrollment Center. Once your application is conditionally approved, you must meet with CBP for the final step. Bring your forms of identification, such as a passport, permanent resident card, or ID card. CPB’s website has a handy search page for finding your nearest Enrollment Center.
  1. Renew your membership every five years. By completing the same online application, you may start your renewal application process as early as one year before it expires. Within the application, you’ll list any address changes or recent international travel and pay the processing fee. When renewing your Global Entry membership, there’s a chance CBP will automatically accept you without needing an additional in-person interview, but this isn’t guaranteed.
  1. Wait for your decision from CBP. You may receive communications through your TTP portal if additional steps or information are needed, so check your email regularly. Once you’re accepted, you’ll receive your Global Entry card within 2-4 weeks of your approval.

As far as application processes go, Global Entry is a reasonably easy one. Most of the process happens remotely through the online portal, so getting started and checking in on your status is convenient.

Global Entry Frequently Asked Questions

Still, have more questions about Global Entry? We’ve got answers below to some of the most frequently asked topics relating to the program.

  • What is EoA? – Enrollment on Arrival (EoA) allows an applicant to complete the last step of their Global Entry process—the in-person interview—upon entering the United States from an international trip. This service is helpful if there aren’t any Enrollment Centers near you, and it sometimes saves you an additional trip to the airport. However, EoA is only available at certain participating airports and only available once your Global Entry application is conditionally approved.
  • Are remote enrollment interviews possible? – CBP is running a remote interview pilot using Zoom to perform enrollment interviews remotely. Right now, this offering is only available to those renewing their Global Entry membership, so first-time applicants will likely have to go to one of the Enrollment Center locations for an in-person interview. The remote interviews are typically 15 minutes long and require you to show the same documents you would bring to the in-person enrollment interview.

Level Up Your Travel Experience with Maya Mobile

Successfully enrolling in Global Entry will take some time and a few steps to complete, but once you get set up, traveling internationally becomes much easier and much more rewarding. Similarly, once you’ve figured out how to redefine your phone’s boundaries, you can travel limitlessly without worrying about heavy roaming bills.

If you’re new to international travel and want to ensure your smartphone cooperates while, you need to download travel apps and an eSIM from Maya Mobile. With plans purposefully selected for over 194 locations, Maya Mobile’s eSIMs ensure you can keep your current phone and plan while staying securely connected wherever your trips take you. 

And unlike Global Entry, you don’t have to wait 4 to 6 months. Maya Mobile’s eSIMs are delivered virtually and instantly and only take minutes to set up. So check out Maya Mobile’s coverage map and prepare for your exciting international adventures today.


  1. U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Global Entry.
  2. U.S. Customs and Border Protection. About CBP.
  3. Homeland Security. Trusted Traveler Programs.