What is Global Entry?

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What is Global Entry?
By Guy Lelouch
Published on Jun 07, 2022
Edited by Daniel Zeevi

Picture this: you’re about to fly home from your vacation abroad. After waking up early, going through security at the airport, and sitting through a long flight home, you finally arrive at the airport exhausted… only to have to wait in an endless customs line.

There’s nothing more frustrating than a long customs line at the end of an already long day of travel. This is why the U.S. Customs and Border Protection has developed the Global Entry program, designed to help speed up the customs process when traveling internationally.

So, what is Global Entry? In this guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know about the Global Entry program and walk you through how to sign up.

What is a Global Entry card?

Global Entry is a government program that allows travelers who’ve been pre-screened to skip the customs line in the U.S. when coming back from an international destination.

Global Entry applicants are required to go through an extensive background check, after which they are issued a Global Entry card. A Global Entry member can present this card when crossing the border by land to avoid the customs line or use their passport at a designated Global Entry kiosk at the participating airport.

Who is eligible for Global Entry?

U.S. citizens over eighteen or minors with parent’s permission can apply for the Global Entry program as long as they are considered low-risk travelers.

In order to be considered a low-risk, trusted traveler, you must not have done any of the following:

  • Incompletely or incorrectly filled out your application
  • Been convicted of or under investigation for criminal charges
  • Broken customs, immigration, or agriculture rules in any country
  • Been denied entry into the U.S. under immigration regulation

Applicants to whom the above standards apply may not be approved to receive a Global Entry pass.

Although the Global Entry program is primarily designed for U.S. citizens, the CBP has partnered with a number of pre-approved countries to make the program available to their citizens. These countries include:

  • Argentina
  • Canada
  • Colombia
  • India
  • Germany
  • Mexico
  • Panama
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • United Kingdom

If you’re applying as a citizen of another country, you should look into your country’s specific requirements as you may have to take some additional steps before you can apply for your Global Entry card.

How do I apply for Global Entry?

After you find out if you’re eligible for a Global Entry pass, you can apply to become a Global Entry member using the following steps:

  • Gather the documents you’ll need to prove your identity. Depending on your citizenship status and country of origin this could include:
  1. Proof of citizenship
  2. Passport
  3. Proof of lawful entry into the U.S.
  4. Lawful Permanent Resident Card
  5. Driver’s License
  6. Proof of address
  7. Credit Card or Cash (for application fee)
  • Double-check that you have all the information you need for the Global Entry application readily available, such as:
  1. An email and a phone number
  2. Address history for the last five years
  3. Employment history for the last five years
  4. International travel history for the last five years
  5. Court documents for any non-traffic-related convictions
  6. Vehicle information for border crossings
  • Once you have all your documents and information, you can apply for the Global Entry traveler program, using GOV+’s convenient, cloud-based platform.
  • Pay the $100 fee required for every Global Entry pass application.
  • Once your program application has been processed, you’ll be invited to interview at a Trusted Travel Program office or enrollment center. Be sure to bring your identifying documents to the Global Entry enrollment center with you so they can verify the information from your application.

After you complete these steps for Global Entry enrollment, you’ll find out if you’ve been approved for the Global Entry program and will receive your Global Entry card in the mail.

What is Global Entry Program Protocol When Crossing the Border?

Once you’ve been approved and officially become a Global Entry participant, here are the steps you can expect at airport security when coming back from international travel to receive your Global Entry benefits:

  • When crossing into the U.S. by land or by sea, you’ll present your Global Entry card at a SENTRI or NEXUS travel lane.
  • When returning to the U.S. by plane, you’ll take the following steps:
  1. Locate a Global Entry kiosk near customs
  2. Present your passport to the machine
  3. Place your fingerprint on the scanner for verification
  4. Complete a customs declaration
  5. Take your receipt and continue on to baggage claim or your next flight

Using your Global Entry pass at border crossings can help save you time and get you back where you want to be that much faster.

Helping You Get Your Governments IDs Faster

If you’re interested in signing up for the Global Entry program, we can help make the application process as quick and easy as possible. Using our smart, patented technology, we’ve compiled all the application forms you need in one place. Simply fill out this form online, and we’ll do the rest for you!

We also have a dedicated customer service team that’s available to answer any questions you might have about the Global Entry interview process, like what to bring to a Global Entry interview, or how long Global Entry lasts.


Guy Lelouch
About the author
Guy Lelouch, founder and CEO of GovPlus, drives government digital transformation with his expertise in technology and public policy by creating efficient, transparent, and user-friendly services.

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