Do you travel a lot? Want to get through Customs faster on your way back into the country, and maybe through Security on your way out? Well then, you may be interested in signing up for Global Entry.
Global Entry provides an alternative Passport Control process for pre-approved, pre-screened eligible travelers and allows members to enter the United States more quickly by using automated kiosks located in arrival areas of certain airports (20 now, with many more coming on board soon). The program was developed to implement a single integrated passenger processing system that will expedite the movement of frequent international fliers.
The way I understand it, when registered members re-enter the U.S., they go to a kiosk in the passport control area, place their fingers on a pad, look up at a camera, type in the answers to a few questions about whether they have anything to declare, and off they go. No more standing in that long line.
Since I travel internationally at least 5-6 times each year, it sounded good to me, so I recently signed up for the program. I first went to their website and registered (fee $100 for 5 years), then I was asked to make an appointment with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Their office is in Terminal 2 at McCarran Airport. At the appointment they asked me a few questions, took my fingerprints and my photo, told me I was approved, and off I went. About a week later I received a photo ID card.
The sign-up process was pretty simple. I have yet to use the actual procedure, but will be doing so soon and will report back to you on how it went.
I understand that if I show this card when going through security, I might be directed to a separate line with less stringent requirements (no shoe removal, no liquids in plastic baggie, no removing the laptop). If this is true, the $100 fee will be worth every penny!
To learn more about Global Entry, and to register, log on at: www.globalentry.gov.
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