When I received my new passport it included brochures about several programs and one of them was the Global Entry Program. I read the brochure and then checked out the website. Until I learned about the program, I always wondered how people were able to use the “special” kiosks at US Customs and Immigration. I was jealous of their ability to avoid the long lines and zoom right through. I assumed they must be dignitaries of some sort to get that kind of privilege. Turns out they just happened to know about this program.
While learning about the program, I also found out that New Zealand honors the Global Entry Program and has a special line at Customs and Immigration. Since I’ll be entering the United States twice during my trip that starts in November and will also be traveling to New Zealand, I was sold.
After learning about the program and determining it would be an advantage, the process was really simple (and I mean S.I.M.P.L.E).
- Go to https://goes-app.cbp.dhs.gov/main/goes and register. Applications for other entry programs (like Nexus for Canada) are done through this page as well.
- After registering, there are several programs that can be signed up for.
- Walk through the questions to apply for the Global Entry Program.
- After filling out the application online, pay the $100 fee.
A few weeks later, I received a Conditional Approval Notification. Basically the letter invited me to an interview. To schedule the interview, I logged back into the site above and simply chose a location, date and time.
The letter also indicated the documentation to bring. I brought my Conditional Approval Notification, Passport, and house payment statement. The interview went like this:
- My appointment was at 12:30pm, but I arrived about 15 minutes early.
- As I was signing in, one of the Customs and Border Protection Agents was standing there and he immediately brought me back to his desk.
- He asked for my passport and pulled up my online application.
- He walked me through verification of my name and address.
- He took my photo.
- He took my fingerprints electronically…first the right four fingers, then the left four fingers, and then finally both thumb prints.
- He explained the program to me and let me ask questions.
I wasn’t sure before going how having a Global Entry Card might help with the TSA PreCheck program. Turns out, once you have your Global Entry Card you are automatically eligible for TSA PreCheck. I’ll save detailing that program for another post.
Receiving My Card
The Customs and Border Protection agent said it would take 5-7 days to receive the card in the mail. I received it in four days.
Activating My Card
After receiving my card it took about two minutes to activate it:
- Go to https://goes-app.cbp.dhs.gov/main/goes.
- Click the Activate Card button.
- Enter the two numbers requested off the card.
- Click Next.
That’s it. Now I can’t wait to skip the Customs and Immigration lines. Do you have a Global Entry Card? Have you used it? Was it worth it to you?