The Global Entry program has its benefits and they are many.
The Global Entry program is one of the Big 3 Trusted Traveler programs (Global Entry, SENTRI and NEXUS) managed by the CBP (U.S. Customs and Border Protection)
Below, well review Global Entry benefits and what membership with the use of a SENTRI pass and NEXUS card.
Global Entry Benefits
The quick list:
Global Entry program members can use Global Entry Customs Kiosks at more than 58 airports when returning to the U.S. from travel abroad.
This lets you avoid long customs and immigration lines and skip the completion of customs declaration forms.
In fact, members of the Global Entry program tend to receive TSA PreCheck more often than stand alone PreCheck members.
Membership is only $15 more over 5 years than becoming a member of TSA PreCheck on its own.
Almost 2 million travelers have already joined and more airport terminals, and cities are being added every month.
Customs and Immigration
By using the kiosk you do not have to fill out the Customs Declaration card upon landing back into the US and can skip the immigration line.
Using a kiosk is a easy. Just make sure you push in your passport all the way into the the scanner.
The process involves scanning your passport, fingertips and answering a few customs questions, similar to what is on the declaration form.
Smile for the camera and you’ll get a “personal receipt” that you present to the immigration officer.
You are done and back on home soil without having to wait in line.
There are virtually no lines to access a kiosk and you can be through in moments.
Customs = Your Bags | Immigration = You
Though, folks have mentioned that everyone usually ends up waiting for their luggage anyway after passing immigration.
True, in some cases. However, you’ll still need to lug your luggage through Customs.
This line is usually very long complete with people and all their gear.
Global Entry program members have their own line (as the one on the right with NO ONE IN IT) for you to to clear customs and finally make it back to the US.
Take your “personal receipt” to the Customs officer in line and you’ll be waved on through. No questions asked.
You’re through in no time. No need to even show your Global Entry card either.
You will make your flight connections because of this.
The Global Entry program: Mexico and Canada
SENTRI and NEXUS lanes
This can save you hours.
At the busiest port of entry in the United States and the World (San Diego’s San Ysidro crossing) standard wait times are on average 2-3+ hours.
Friends of EasySentri have had to wait 7 hours while crossing on foot.
By having access to SENTRI lanes when returning from Mexico, Global Entry members wait less than 30 minuets when crossing back to the U.S.
SENTRI lanes only present in Mexico leading back in the US. There are none going into Mexico.
If you want to utilize a SENTRI lane you will have to register your car’s details (year, make, model etc.) at the end of your online application and have it inspected by a CBP officer at one of 10 SENTRI enrollment centers.
There is NO FEE associated with registering your vehicle if you are applying for Global Entry, but you must bring your vehicle to a SENTRI enrollment center to do so.
It would be best to make your Global Entry interview at a enrollment center so are able to complete both at once. This usually consists of opening up the hood and general inspections of the interior, trunk, truck bed and window tint.
It may sound like a lot, but the interview and vehicle inspection is easy and straightforward.
Skipping this step of registering your car, truck or motorcycle and attempting to access these lanes will surly get you sent to secondary screening and your Global Entry privileges could be revoked!
If you are crossing in the San Diego area, the San Ysidro border crossing is likely to be long for your passengers that do not have their Global Entry card or SENTRI card. Best to drive 20minuets to the Otay Mesa border crossing for their shorter lines. SENTRI lanes, along with pedestrian SENTRI lanes, are available at the Otay Mesa crossing.
There are no additional requirements for a Global Entry member to use the NEXUS lanes coming INTO the U.S.
However, Global Entry cards are not valid for entry into Canada via the NEXUS lanes and kiosks. Travelers must apply separately for NEXUS for that privilege.
Global Entry Program Requirements
Global Entry membership is available for:
- U.S. citizens
- Lawful permanent residents
- Dutch citizens
- South Korean citizens
- German citizens
- Panamanian citizens
- Mexican citizens
- Peruvian citizens
- Brazilian citizens (eligible for Global Entry and expected to join the program on first half of 2016)
- Canadian citizens (residents may enjoy Global Entry benefits through membership in the NEXUS program)
- Taiwan Citizens.
After your Global Entry application is conditionally approved by the CBP, an in person interview with a Customs and Border Protection officer will be required.
There are 86 locations in the U.S. and abroad for your Global Entry Interview.
For frequent travelers the Global Entry program, with all its benefits, is a useful tool for making airline and border travel less stressful and time consuming.