Pre-pandemic (and other things), I was a jet setter. Whether it was visiting family overseas or getting a quick island bath in, I was always hopping a plane out of and back into JFK. If you've ever transited through JFK on an international flight leg, or any major airport in the U.S. for that matter, you know that security and customs can ruin anything from your mood to your plans. Insert the Trusted Traveler Program.
What is a Trusted Traveler Program?
A Trusted Traveler Program, or TTP, is one of the five different programs run by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that facilitate the entry of pre-approved travelers into the U.S. This means that after a pre-screening process, entering the U.S. will come with less hassle, less paperwork, and less waiting after that flight. The five programs are: TSA Pre-Check, Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, and FAST
Each of these programs is open to U.S. citizens and permanent residents, and some are open to certain nationals from other places (like Canada and Mexico, for example).
What is Global Entry?
Global Entry is one of these five trusted traveler programs. Basically, Global Entry allows you to bypass the customs line upon entering the U.S. at 75 airports across the country, self-check in via a kiosk, print a slip, and take it to an immigration agent on your way to baggage claim. That minimum 40 minute customs and immigration line wait has now been transformed to 5 or less (depending how many Global Entry passengers there are). Global Entry costs $100 and is valid for five (5) years, and it includes TSA Pre-Check, which means expedited security on your stateside flights too!
How do I apply?
To apply for Global Entry, fill out the online application at ttp.dhs.gov. Then, you will either be approved for an interview, or prompted for more information. Currently, Global Entry interviews are on hold due to pandemic restrictions until at least September 8, 2020. HOWEVER, if you happen to be flying into or out of an airport with a TTP enrollment center (i.e. where they conduct Global Entry interviews), you might still be able to complete your interview process through Enrollment on Arrival! Check to see if an airport you're transiting through is participating.
Once your application and interview are approved (minus any complications or additional paperwork requests), you will receive a card with your Known Traveler Number (KTN). Save this number in your phone, or somewhere handy, and store your card safely at home. You will not be asked to present it. To take advantage of your benefits, simply enter your KTN when its requested while booking flights with an airline, and upon arrival to a participating U.S. airport, follow the signs for Global Entry through the customs and immigration area.
Renewing Global Entry
If you already have Global Entry and are seeking to renew it, you can begin your online renewal process up to one year before your membership expires. As long as you submit a renewal application before your membership expires, you will still be able to use your Global Entry benefits for six months after your membership expiration date. Log in to ttp.dhs.gov, select Manage Membership, and then select Renew Application to get started.
Have questions? Don't hesitate to drop us a line by email, social media, or on the site!
Stay safe, Starz!