I Got My Global Entry Card!

Peggy Farren 2017-06-29
If you are a fan of The Understand Photography Show, you know we talk about travel, nature and fine art photography. On one of our earliest shows, I interviewed travel agent Cindy Baldwin. She talked about Global Entry as an important component to making air travel easier. If you enjoy travel and missed that show, go watch it now! http://www.understandphotography.com/episode-6-show-notes-travel-and-photography-apps-ft-cindy-baldwin/ My son, Chris Farren, is a touring singer/songwriter (www.hotguywithglasses.com). He travels internationally often and also talked about how nice it is to breeze through the short lines of the global entry world.

Well, I am traveling to Italy and Ireland this year so I finally got around to considering Global Entry.

Global Entry is a program for international travelers where prescreened passengers can skip the lines at Customs and Border Patrol. There are kiosks to scan your passport with usually no line at all. Let’s face it, waiting in lines really stinks, especially after a long flight!

Fill out the forms on this website: https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry, pay the $100 with your credit card and schedule your appointment. You’ll be asked which countries you’ve visited in the past five years, for your passport number, address, etc. After the form is filled in, you’ll receive a conditional approval letter.

If you have a criminal record, you may still qualify. It depends on what your crime was. My son was arrested for trespassing when he was 19 and qualified, although the Customs officer asked a lot of questions about the arrest. If you’d like the story, here is a song my son put out about it: "> . He and his buddies climbed on top of the roof of a store while they were waiting to perform at a show and got arrested. Neither his mother nor the Customs officer thought that was a big deal.

After I filled in all the forms online, I tried to schedule an appointment at the nearest airport, which is Fort Lauderdale. The first available appointment was in three months! So I checked Miami and was able to get in the very next day.
The appointment was a breeze! My appointment was at 4 pm and they ran about 15-20 minutes late. I was fingerprinted, photographed and asked a lot of the same questions I had answered on the form. Be sure to remember your passport, driver’s license and the letter you received via email from Customs. I was finished by 4:30 pm.

What’s the difference between Global Entry and TSA precheck? Well, I’m glad you asked because TSA precheck is included with Global Entry! So if you think you may travel internationally, spend the $15 extra dollars for Global Entry. Both are good for five years.

With TSA precheck, you go through a shorter security line where you won’t have to take off your shoes or take your laptop out.

Not all airlines or airports participate in these programs so check before you go.

Keep following the blog as I’ll be writing about my month long trip to Italy in August!

~Peggy Farren is the founder of Understand Photography, host of the Understand Photography Show, photography educator and influencer.
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