Global Entry is More Than Worth the Cost

We modestly assert that this post is based on our own research and experiences, and is typically more applicable to United States residents. Also keep in mind that this post is based on the current rules and regulations at the time of this post.


If you travel at least once a year (even domestically), you will not regret paying for Global Entry.

What is Global Entry?

Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States.

This program will cost you $100 (non-refundable application fee), and will last 5 years if approved. Some credit card companies will reimburse you for this fee, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card, which will reimburse you the $100 once every 4 years, automatically.

Why is Global Entry worth it?

One of the biggest benefits of getting Global Entry is that it comes with TSA PreCheck (which alone costs $85). So even if you only fly domestic, you can enjoy shorter lines and speeding through security without taking off your shoes, or taking out your laptop and liquids.

For international travelers, Global Entry saves you significant time getting through customs when arriving back into the U.S.. Since having Global Entry, we haven’t spent more than 3 minutes getting through customs, while going through the standard lines would’ve taken a minimum of 30-45 minutes.

If you have Global Entry, you can also go through the Nexus or Sentri lanes when crossing the Mexican or Canadian border.

If you break it down, Global Entry costs just $1.66 per month! Would you pay just $1.66 per month to save all of that time and headache?

How do you get Global Entry?

  1. Create a Global Online Enrollment System (GOES) account.
  2. Login to your new GOES account, complete the 20 minute application, and pay for the $100 application fee.
  3. After submitting your application and fee, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol will review your application.
  4. If you are conditionally approved, you will be asked to schedule an interview at one of the enrollment centers. (I hear they are getting better, but I had to wait 5 months before the next opening, so you’ll want to schedule this asap.)
  5. Bring your passport and driver’s license to the interview. They will ask you a few questions (e.g. have you committed a crime, what countries have you visited or are planning to visit). For me, the interview took just 4 minutes. The agent then gave me a temporary card and my Known Traveler Number until my official card came in the mail 7 days later.

How do you use the Global Entry card once approved?

  • On return to the U.S. (you do not need your card handy): When getting to customs, you will see signage for Global Entry. Once you get to a Global Entry machine, you scan your passport, you scan your fingerprints, and then answer a few yes or no questions on the screen. You will receive a receipt, which you then hand to the security officer as you exit customs.
    • In the future, Global Entry plans on using facial recognition technology, with the ultimate goal of you being able to walk straight through customs without stopping.
  • On using TSA PreCheck (you do not need your card handy): To use TSA PreCheck, you need to enter your “Known Traveler Number” (which will be on your Global Entry card) into your frequent flier programs online. e.g. If you book a flight with Delta, you can go to Delta.com, look up your trip, and add your Known Traveler Number into the applicable field. Once you do this, you will notice “TSA PreCheck” on your ticket at the airport.
  • Nexus & Sentri (you will need your card): You will need your Global Entry card when traveling through the Nexus or Sentri points at the Canadian and Mexican borders.

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