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Breeze Through Airport Immigration with Global Entry

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After a long international flight, the last thing most people want to do is be herded like cattle into the immigration line and wait for an unpleasant agent to brand their passport. I say “most people” instead of “anyone” because I’m sure there are people out there who love collecting passport stamps enough to bear the queue, but let’s face it, the dated imprints are never as cool as you expect them to be and are hardly a consolation after shuffling under harsh fluorescent lights for what feels like hours. But I digress.

If you’re willing to spend some time now to save time later while traveling internationally, sign up to be part of the Global Entry program arranged by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Here’s how it works:

First, head over to the Global Online Enrollment System (GOES) on the Department of Homeland Security website, where you can fill out the Global Entry application and submit it electronically. It’s long and annoying like any other bureaucratic document, and it’s not even the worst part — the mandatory, non-refundable $100 application fee takes that title — but just think about all the line skipping you’ll be doing in the future and get over it. Once you send the application, a CBP officer will review it and if you’re given the stamp of non-terrorist-threat approval, they’ll contact you to arrange an interview (you can check the list of interview sites before filling out the application to make sure there’s one nearby).

At the interview you’ll be asked the questions to be expected when applying for a fast pass into the United States, and you’ll have your fingerprints scanned and your passport adorned with a special sticker. Then voila! You are now what they call a Trusted Traveler, and when you fly into participating airports in the U.S. you can just scan your finger and passport at a Global Entry kiosk then leave the airport and those sad, disTrusted Travelers in your wake.

For some extra info on Global Entry and GOES, read this first-hand account of the application and approval process. Fun fact: it’s written by an actress on Law and Order: SVU.



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