After returning from a long international flight, I just want to grab my bags and make my final drive home. But waiting my turn at passport control can easily take another 20 minutes, an hour or even longer between the flight and getting to the baggage area. There is a better solution.

Global Entry was developed with the international traveler in mind. It’s a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that gives expedited clearance to pre-approved, low risk travelers when they arrive in the U.S.

Take Advantage of Global Entry:

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So, last spring, I signed up for the Global Entry program, and it seems to be one of most useful resources for international business travelers at the airport.

If you’re approved, the Global Entry card is effective for five years. It also qualifies you to participate in TSA Precheck as part of the Global Entry program fee. That’s another great program. It allows you to access shorter screening lines at the airport for domestic flights – just show your boarding pass and government issued ID to the travel document checker.

Global Entry Benefits for International Travel

We have all experienced that point in time on incoming flights when the flight attendant passes out the U.S. Customs and Border declaration form (CBP 6059B). That’s not necessary. Instead, Global Entry members:

  • Do not complete a declaration form.
  • Enter their details at a kiosk in their own line at passport control.
  • Advance to the front of a customs line if kiosks aren’t available (notify an officer at passport control).
  • Qualify the business traveler for SENTRI and NEXUS lanes from Canada into the U.S.

TSA Precheck Benefits for Domestic Travel

Membership to Global Entry automatically qualifies you to participate in TSA Precheck, a program that allows travelers access to faster screening lines through domestic lines at the airport (usually only available to selected business traveler based on level of rewards membership with respect to the airline). However, any airline passenger who has obtained Global Entry is automatically eligible for the TSA Precheck line. With TSA Precheck you can:

  • Access shorter lines through security at participating airports.
  • Avoid the need to remove the normal items from their bags such as laptops, liquids and electronics.
  • Have children under 12 accompany you even if they do not participate in the program.

Please note that TSA Precheck does not apply for international business travelers going through security.

How to apply

To qualify for Global Entry you must pass a criminal history and meet resident status requirements before applying. You also need a current driver’s license (or state I.D.) and passport – your Global Entry card will be linked to it. So, make sure these documents are up to date. Once you’re ready, follow these steps:

  • Complete an application at ($100 fee).
  • Wait for the application to be processed.
  • Schedule an interview when notified with a Customs officer at an approved location.
  • For the NEXUS and SENTRI features from Canada into the U.S., register your vehicle(s) at a designated border entry checkpoint.

I’ve used Global Entry and TSA Precheck for both business and personal travel.

The Global Entry program has saved me countless hours of aggravation in passport control lines when returning home after international flights, and it has also saved me from spending time in the regular security line for domestic flights. However, it’s important to also flag that you are still subject to potential random checks and screenings, depending on security concerns at the airort.

Nevertheless, I certainly recommend the program to anyone who is traveling for business travel or pleasure.