Instant satisfaction – that’s what most people are looking for these days. Filling out legal documents and waiting in line for a brief, unenthused interview with a government customs official – not the ideal ending to a wonderful international trip.
So skip it.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection is piloting the Global Entry Card program for entrants into the United States. It allows pre-approved, low risk travelers expedited clearance upon arrival into the country.
How does it work?
With a Global Entry Card, the traveler can go directly to a kiosk, scan their finger prints, answer the “blue custom card” questions and bypass the traditional custom’s line. Keep in mind, it’s not as simple as applying for a passport.
The Global Entry Card network has over 1.8 million members from across the globe. United States citizens are not the only travelers eligible for the card. Low risk travelers who complete the application process from the Netherlands, South Korea, Germany, Peru and Mexico. Canadians who participate in NEXUS can use the benefits of the Global Entry Card, although they are not eligible for the actual program
Is it worth it?
Yes – for frequent international travelers. The kiosks are located in 42 different international airports around the country, making it common place at popular international hubs. (You can see the whole list at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website.) Good to note: If you use this card for both business and personal, everyone in your party must have a card to by-pass traditional customs (including kiddos!).
How do you apply?
Not only do you have to fill out an application for the program, you will have an in-person interview at a preclearance location and be subject to a background check. This, plus a $100 non-refundable application fee, and you are a few weeks away from speedy entry into the United States. Once you have been approved for the card, you will hold this card for 5 years.
Interested? Compare the Global Entry Card to traditional passports. If you still like what you see – apply!