Over the past year I had been considering the benefits of Global Entry. I don’t travel overseas that often, but with at least 2 trips planned in the next 5 years the $100 fee seems reasonable. Or at least when I think of the horror that could be going through customs, it seemed like a good investment.
I had heard it could be a long wait to get approved and get an appointment so I made sure to apply a few months in advance of my next. The initial application took a solid half hour or so to fill out, but I was very attentive to make sure I had everything correct. After I finished I got an email confirming my application and a receipt for my fee. The email told me to check back in a few days, but I found it took closer to two weeks to get my approval.
As promised, I did get an email regarding the change in my status. Once I logged into my account I was instructed to make an appointment within the next 30 days, I made mine at JFK airport. I found appointments were easy to make, I could have had one that week with a lot of different appointment times available.
I arrived at JFK airport early, parked at terminal 4 (Delta) and walked over. The only thing I would have changed about my experience is that I would have parked in the open lot parking instead of the parking garage since the parking garage was on the opposite side of the terminal from the Global Entry office.
When I walked in the office I said that I was there for an appointment (I was 20 minutes early) and was immediately taken to a desk. I was asked a few questions confirming the information on my application, gave my fingerprints and was done with the application process. After that my Customs agent explained how the program worked:
Go to the global entry lines at customs and border patrol when entering the country by air and swipe my passport.
When entering by land from Canada and Mexico everyone in the car must have global entry.
I was also eligible for TSA Pre-Check, YEA!
The agent showed me how to use the machines and then I was on my way. It was much easier than I expected. A week or two later my Global Entry card came in the mail and I was plotting a quick and easy trip out of the country just to try it out. Then I remember I was already taking 3 weeks off of work for Australia and I shouldn’t be so greedy.