Global Entry – Application Process + Interview + What To Expect

If you travel often, especially internationally, you should consider applying for the Global Entry Trusted Traveler Program (TTP). Jared and I just recently got accepted and it is LIFE CHANGING. I immediately knew I had to write a blog post about this because if you don’t already know what it is, it will save you so much time and stress. We have gotten stuck in way too many situations, especially during the pandemic, trying to get back into the US through customs. I’m talking four hour long lines with nothing to do except wait and watch your connecting flight time pass by. We’ve missed so many flights because of this, and I was ready to be done with that. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, the TTP makes flying such a breeze and way less stressful.

What Is It?

“Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Members enter the United States through automatic kiosks at select airports.”

Global Entry makes checking in and getting through customs pretty much as easy as possible and puts a lot less stress on worrying if you may or may not miss your flight. TSA Pre Check is also included with Global Entry meaning, even at regular airport security you can go through the ‘fast pass’ line to get through security as quickly as possible. With this, Global Entry/TSA Pre Check members also receive expedited screening benefits which include leaving on your shoes and belts, not having to take out your laptop, and also leaving your 3-1-1 liquids in your luggage while going through security.

How To Apply

First, you’ll want to start off by going to the official Trusted Traveler Program government website HERE. You’ll then be prompted to choose which program you would like to apply for. Depending on where you’re located, what your job is, or how often you travel, there are a few different options you can choose from that are also offered through the program. These include:

  • Global Entry – Entry into the U.S. from International Destinations
  • Regular TSA Pre Check – Departures from U.S. Airports
  • Nexus – Entry into the U.S. from Canada
  • Sentri – Entry into the U.S. from Canada and Mexico
  • FAST – For truck drivers entering and exiting the U.S. from Canada and Mexico

Global Entry is the main program that allows you to enter into the US from any international destination. Each membership is good for five years and after that, you will have to get it renewed.

Once you sign in and create an account online, you will see the section that says “Applications in Progress” and that’s where you will begin your application. While there are other websites out there that also offer “doing all the hard work” by sending in your global entry application and screening for you, I don’t personally recommend it. Basically they are just going to charge you extra to do the same process you’re going to be doing anyway. They like to throw in some extra perks but I don’t really think it makes a difference. Plus, it’s much easier to navigate and see your application status when you go directly to the TTP website. These sites can be more convenient if you’re trying to coordinate a ton of people getting Global Entry Applications for example, a business, but otherwise I would stick to the official website.

The Application Process

The cost to apply for Global Entry is $100. You’ll need your ID and Passport when filling out the application. During the application process, they will ask for:

  • Your Personal Info
  • Documents – passport info and citizenship
  • Driver’s License
  • Vehicle Information
  • Address Information – where you live and have lived in the past
  • Employment Information – all employment history for the past few years
  • Travel History – where you’ve visited and why
  • Additional Information – arrests and criminal records

MY BIGGEST PIECE OF ADVICE: fill out the application AS HONEST as possible. Yes, it will ask for your criminal arrest history and if you’ve ever got stopped by a customs officer before. Think reallllllll hard while answering this question because let me tell you, they have records of it ALL. Even if you think an arrest is “cleared” or “no longer in the system”. Think again. Records like that never actually go away and all they are truly looking for is honesty. I mean, is it called the TRUSTED Travelers Program.


We met an older couple around the age of 60 who had told us about how they applied for the TTP. One, of the couple, had written, and said, that they had never been arrested before. When being questioned, they were asked if they were SURE about this. Person confirmed and had not a clue as to why they were being questioned so hard, their record was clean! Said person later told us they had received a DUI at a very young age but hardly remembered it, and also was told back in the day that said situation had been removed from their record. After being told about what was being shown on their record, said person immediately knew exactly what they were talking about and couldn’t believe they had forgotten about it or even that that was showing up in the system. Said person hadn’t had any other arrest or incidents except that one situation OVER 30 YEARS AGO and I believe said person still was accepted.

So, just a little story to put into perspective – the records are there!]

I’ve read so many things online saying if you’ve been arrested for anything that there is no way you will be accepted but I personally think it’s situational and worth a shot. Obviously if you’ve gone to prison there’s probably a much lesser chance of that happening, but if you’ve only done something minor and kept a good record for a long while you should be just fine, of course, depending on the situation! As long as you’re honest, and haven’t done anything extreme, you should be in the clear to get approved for the TTP.

Once the application form is complete, you’ll have to wait for an email telling you that your application status has been changed. It can take up to a few weeks or longer, depending on your application. Once you get an email you’ll have to log in and see what it says. If everything looks good on their end, you will see on your dashboard that you have been deemed as “conditionally approved”. The good news is, once you get conditionally approved, the hard part is over and you’re pretty much in the clear, as they’ve already looked into you at this point.

The Interview

You will then be instructed to take the next step, which is to book your interview. Get ready though, this is kind of the most dreadful part, as you’ll be booking that interview MONTHS in advance. They were already backed up pre-COVID, but because of the pandemic, appointment slots have fallen even further behind than before. We waited about 6 months for our interviews, but hopefully it’s gotten better since then!

Once you are able to book your interview, you will be prompted to select your nearest International Airport location to meet with a customs officer. There also is a second option they offer which is to go for your interview on your way back from your next international flight, if any. We wanted ours before our next trip and the dates just so happened to work out. So, you can also do that, but just be aware and plan ahead if you want to get your Global Entry membership before your next international trip.

[We went to Bradley (BDL) International Airport. AND IF YOU ARE LOCAL AND READING THIS – I must point out that the International Airport is SEPARATE from the main airport at BDL. It’s a little bit further down at Terminal B and there is free parking right in front of the building past the two lots. You do not have to pay to park. It took us a bit to find so you definitely want to make sure you show up early enough to have time to circle the airport a few times, especially if you’ve never been to your location before. Ha!]

I know some people tend to get nervous like it’s some sort of scary interrogation (me) but I can truthfully say, with my experience at least, it’s not like that at all. The customs officer we had was super nice. They pretty much want to know what you are all about, the purpose of your travels, and if you are going to be honest with them or not. They’re looking to see if what you say matches what you filled out on the application and matches what they see in their system (hence the story above). So once again, just BE HONEST, because they WILL KNOW. And if you truly mess something up or miss something while filling out the application, just tell them right up front.

What To Expect

The interview usually takes up to about 15 minutes. Be sure to come prepared and show up with all the documents you need. You will definitely need your passport and your ID. If you’ve recently moved between the time of filling out the application and interview, bring mail to prove your current state of address. They’ll ask you questions based on what you filled out on the application, confirm your address and birthday, and then the basics of why you want to join. Questions include:

  • “Why do you want to join Global Entry?”
  • “What do you do for a living?”
  • “What is your purpose of travel?”
  • “Where have you traveled in the past five years?”
  • “Have you ever been arrested, or had an issue at U.S. Customs and Border Protection?” 

If everything checks out, they’ll then take your picture, update your passport, and take your fingerprints. After, you’ll be handed a pamphlet that explains how to use your Global Entry card and you are almost good to go!

You’ll have to wait for the card to come in the mail which takes 8-10 days but your status will change instantly on your online application and you will then see your member ID number. This is considered your “known traveler number” and what you will use to enter on your flight information which allows you to get through security in the fast lane.

Global Entry Card

Once you get your card in the mail, CONGRATULATIONS, traveling is officially a breeze! Be sure to activate your card within 30 days on the site and you are ready for your next International trip! You will have to be sure to always add your traveler number to your itinerary when booking a flight, or most big airlines allow you to add it to their site.

When traveling, you will be asked to present your passport at the Global Entry Kiosk, take your picture, and scan your fingers. Global Entry program members can use Global Entry Customs Kiosks at more than 75 airports when returning to the U.S. from travel abroad. Your Global Entry Card is good for 5 years and you’ll receive a letter in the mail 6 months in advance to renew it. I believe all you have to do is pay another $100 and apply for an updated card. All travelers are always subject to full random screenings and any United States customs officer can revoke your Global Entry privileges at any time. GOOD LUCK FRIENDS AND HAPPY TRAVELS!

If you have any other questions, feel free to send me a DM! Be sure to follow me on Instagram for new blog post alerts, daily updates, outfits, travel + food spots, and MORE!



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