Trusted Traveler Programs
The links above will direct you to the main pages for their program. We wanted to discuss the benefits, the things not so beneficial (if we can think of anything), and the process we went through to get our Global Entry.
Initial point. It’s wonderful. Who doesn’t like to cut lines? Who doesn’t like to keep their shoes and clothes on in the airport? and Who doesn’t like avoiding unpacking and packing everything on a conveyor belt in a rushed 3 seconds? We would think everyone.
Backing up. For those of you who don’t know, here is a brief description of what those programs are: TSA Pre-Check gets you access for a quicker and less hassle security experience in the USA. See our first point for the benefits. Global Entry takes TSA Pre-Check one step further. You get everything that comes with TSA Pre-Check, in addition to using kiosks for Customs upon re-entry into the USA (in lieu of waiting in line to talk to Custom agents). We are not as clear on what… Clear is, but we know it’s similar to TSA Pre-Check, as you skip the lines and have the hassle free security. It appears to be a biometric screening and we believe they are available at select venues (including but not limited to certain airports: https://www.clearme.com/where-we-are).
A second point to consider is the programs are not free and you do have to apply and be approved. It involves back ground checks and interviews. You have to prove to the agencies that you are in fact, a traveler to be trusted. It is a process and it does take time. Also you’re only clear for a few years before you have to do it all over again.
Another point we are going to make is you should read this article from The Points Guy about Global Entry. This article explains the process to apply, what credit cards include it as a benefit, and multiple other tips.
Our personal story
Kara was so excited about signing up for this program that she booked the appointment during work (it was work related as she was in the travel industry at the time) and she initially didn’t consider that it would be a good idea to make sure her husband also has Global Entry, so that they can skip the lines together. I mean, what good does it do to skip the line when you just have to wait for someone on the other side? So the very next day she signed Tim up for an appointment. Less than 24 hours passed and the next available appointment wasn’t until a month and a half after Kara’s appointment (and unserendipitously a week after they returned from a trip to Canada).
They call me Poor Timing Tim. As mentioned above, I had my Global Entry interview a week after getting back from Vancouver, Canada. Appointment was made in May 2017 and interview conducted January 2018. I drove to Denver International Airport (DIA) after work on a Monday for my interview with a CBP officer. I parked in the short term parking (like a normal person, where as Kara parked with the shuttle buses like 2 miles away), and made my way to the office for the interview. I was buzzed in, fingerprinted, had my photo taken, blood drawn, retinal scanned, and finally interviewed. JK, no blood or eye scans. I aced it the interview, and became a trusted traveler.