With all the problems that have been reported lately in the TSA delays at airports and having encountered so many long immigration lines arriving back in the USA, we decided to take the plunge and enter into the Global Entry program with Customs and Immigration. At times we have been able to enjoy the TSA Pre-Check program with several airlines but that is arbitrary and several times one of us has been pre-checked and the other has had to go through the security line.
What does it mean to be pre-checked? Well, it certainly saves time. You do not have to get out your computer or your 3-1-1 bag. You can keep a light jacket or sweater on as well as your bet. And the biggie, you don't have to take your shoes off! That makes it nice especially if you wear shoes that tie. They send you through a metal detector rather than the millimeter wave unit.
The TSA Pre-check costs around $85 but for a little more ($100) you can get Global Entry which not only includes the pre-check advantage but also is supposed to get you through immigration and customs sooner. Many airports that have heavier international traffic have kiosks set up where you can slide your passport through a reader and place your fingers on a print reader and get through immigration much sooner.
If you travel a lot and especially out of the country, the cost of the five year GOES program could save you money in time saved as well as the anxiety over missed flights that could have a domino effect on your other reservations.
To qualify you must go to the Customs and Immigration website and set up an account and then fill out an application along with payment. There will be a background check done on you and then you will meet with an interviewer who will confirm your residency and have your fingerprints printed. We are between the online approval and meeting for our interview. The online part took about two weeks but finding an appointment time in our area put us into August.
So, will this be a good easy way to avoid the lines? I sure hope so. Otherwise I'm gonna have to bring a folding chair for those long waits.