Congrats to Ty, a commenter below, for being selected as the winner. He tells me he has successfully applied with my $100. I will be giving away at least one more of these prizes in the future. Keep checking MileValue.

Global Entry is amazing. If you apply and are accepted into the program, you can cut the immigration and customs lines every time you enter the United States for five years. Plus when I add the “Known Traveler ID” that Global Entry members get onto my reservations, I invariably get TSA Precheck, which allows me to save time in the security lines at American airports on domestic and international flights.

Maybe you haven’t gotten Global Entry because of the $100 fee. Well, leave a comment on this post or retweet this tweet to enter the drawing for me to pay your $100 application fee. You can enter both ways to double your chances; I’ll pick a winner Monday morning.)

Even if you don’t win the drawing, you can use your Citi Prestige® Card to pay your application fee and get a $100 statement credit to offset your Global Entry Application fee. (If you already have Global Entry and a Citi Prestige, you can use the credit to pay someone else’s Global Entry fee.)

Process to Get Global Entry

Having Global Entry allows you to skip the immigrations and customs queues when arriving in the US. Instead of spending time in line and talking to an agent, you tap a few buttons at a kiosk and get to the curb in a few minutes. Global Entry membership is valid for 5 years, and having Global Entry also lets you skip immigration queues in Australia and New Zealand.

There are two steps involved in obtaining Global entry: an application and an interview.

Application

First, you need to fill out the online application.  To do this as efficiently as possible, make sure you have on hand:

  • proof of Citizenship documents (I just used my passport)
  • your driver’s license, if you have one
  • your addresses for the last five years
  • your work history for the last five years

The online application process took me about 30 minutes to complete.

If you have never registered with GOES (the Global Online Entry System), you will be prompted to register when you click the online application link above.

Once you are registered with GOES, log in to the system. You will see that you are not a member of any programs. Click “Enroll in a New Program” to begin your Global Entry application.

Select the link that allows you to start the application for the trusted traveler program.

From here, you will have to fill out a variety of personal information. There are 16 categories of information.

Fill out all the sections and submit your application. You will be prompted to pay the $100 application fee–I’ll pay it for you if you win this drawing–otherwise pay with your Citi Prestige® Card to be rebated the $100.

Unfortunately, the GOES system doesn’t email you when your application is approved or denied. I set a reminder on my calendar to check on the status of my application in a week. Once your application is approved, you can use the GOES system to schedule your in-person interview, which will take place at any airport that participates in the Global Entry program.

Interview

The interviews start and end right on time, so they can be scheduled for a time when you know you’ll have to go to an international airport. For instance if you know you have a 2:30 PM flight out of LAX, you can schedule your interview for 12:40 PM and kill two birds with one stone.

In the interview, it seems like they are trying to assess the risk that you are a terrorist or smuggler. They asked me questions about my job, how often I travel, and where my upcoming trips were headed. I just answered honestly and concisely, and we spent most of the 20 minutes talking about poker.

At the end of the interview, they show you how to use a Global Entry kiosk. They also input your fingerprints and scan your passport. They don’t officially accept you into the program during the interview; they tell you you will receive an email saying to sign back into the computer system where the process began to see your changed status.

My email came within a week, and I was enrolled in Global Entry. Now I can skip the line and head straight to the kiosk. I don’t even have to fill out the customs form flight attendants distribute to everybody.

After you land, the kiosk takes about 30 seconds. You scan your passport, hold your fingertips on the machine, and select “No” to all the customs questions, and a receipt is printed out. You flash the receipt to an agent in the passport area and give it to the an agent in the customs area, and you are on the curb.

My record, after I landed at LAX from London, was 7 minutes 21 seconds from airplane door to curb. It would have been faster, but I beat the customs agent to his station I was so fast.

Bottom Line

Comment on this post or retweet the tweet embedded in this post to enter for me to pay your $100 application fee for Global Entry.

This is money well spent for the average traveler, but you shouldn’t have to spend it. Even if you don’t win the drawing, you can use your Citi Prestige® Card to pay the $100 fee and have it credited back to you automatically.

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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