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Is Global Entry The Program For You?

Updated: May 10, 2023


Do you get anxious about boarding your flight on time? Rightfully so, because long airport lines are returning to the airport, the lines are worse at major airports at peak times. Many travelers are returning to the airport after being pinned down since 2020 due to the pandemic. Then compound that with airline staff shortages and flight cancellations. According to an article written by UpgradedPoints which studied U.S.’s 25 busiest airports and produced a report in September 2022. These four (4) airports have the worse wait times:


New Jersey, Newark Liberty International (EWR) airport ranked the highest security wait times, averaging 23.1 minutes.

  1. George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston (IAH), Texas, has the second longest average security wait time, at 19.8 minutes.

  2. Miami International Airport (MIA) has the third longest average wait time, at around 19.6 minutes.

  3. Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI), one of the three international airports in the Washington Metropolitan area, has a wait time of around 18.2 minutes.

  4. Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI), one of the three international airports in the Washington Metropolitan area, has a wait time of around 18.2 minutes.

The Customs Border Protection agency closely monitors flight processing times and waiting times for arriving flights at the busiest international airports. So use this source Airport Wait Times when you’re planning your next trip to help you with getting you through the airports faster. Meanwhile, the following is an option to expedite your mission of boarding on time:

Global Entry

Global Entry is the only option for expedited Entry into the United States for international travel for U.S. citizens flying back to the U.S. The CBP Global Entry program originated as Immigration and Naturalization Service Passenger Accelerated Service System (INSPASS) in the 1990s. After the CBP merged with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), it created the current program, Global Entry, a Trusted Traveler Program.

Initially, the program was only offered at John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) but has since been expanded. Global Entry Customs Kiosks you can skip that extremely long custom line when returning to the U.S. from an international trip.


As of the day I’m writing this blog, CBP has had a severe delay in processing requests. So plan accordingly if this is something you’re interested in doing. The enrollment fee is $100, and Global Entry is good for five (5) years. You must apply online at Customs Border Protection (CBP) here.

Benefits

  • Access to expedited entry benefits in other countries

  • Available at major U.S. airports

  • Reduced wait times

  • TSA Pre✓® Eligibility to include not removing clothing and personal items

There’s no program that is comparable to quickly entering the U.S. after international travel other than Global Entry; however, you do have options for domestic travel:


TSA PreCheck

For the low cost of $85, you’ll get five years to enjoy the benefits of TSA PreCheck. Apply online at Transportation Security Administration (TSA) here. On average, you will clear the security line at airports within five (5) because there is no need to remove the following:

  • Shoes

  • Laptops

  • Quart-sized clear plastic bag

  • Belts, or

  • Jackets

Clear

Clear cuts down your wait time by automating the identity verification process by scanning your fingerprints or eyes. This option allows you to skip the TSA ID check and go directly to security.

You’ll still go through the physical screening line, including metal detectors and bag scanning at select domestic airports.

Membership starts at $189 for a standard annual membership, and enrollment is online or in-person at any Clear airport location. However, having Clear does not automatically give you TSA PreCheck status, but Global Entry does. Clear is available at fewer airports than TSA PreCheck too.

Ultimately, all these programs are designed to save you time at the airport. Global Entry is the forerunner; there is an eligibility requirement. For instance, if you provide false or incomplete information, have been convicted of any criminal offense, or have pending criminal charges or outstanding warrants, you could be ineligible. Also, Global Entry is a viable option only if you travel multiple times per year internationally; otherwise, TSA PreCheck is the better program for you.


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