Are you a frequent international traveler? Investing in the Global Entry program will save you time on your next trip.
What is Global Entry? It is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection program which allows expedited clearance for pre-approved travelers. You must be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident to apply. The application process involves filling out the application form online, submitting a $100 nonrefundable application fee, undergoing a criminal background check, and scheduling a personal interview where your fingerprints will be taken. Once approved, you can skip the long lines on your next trip through U.S. Immigration and go directly to the Global Entry kiosks.
Once you have Global Entry, and are a Trusted Traveler, you may also be eligible for the TSA Pre-check lanes at major airports. The Pre-check lane is like gold to the business traveler. You no longer have to remove your shoes or jacket, your laptop can stay in its case and your small liquids can remain in your carry-on.
The TSA is starting a new program later this year which offers travelers without passports to receive expedited screening at U.S. airport security check lanes. This new Pre-check program will still require an online application and a personal interview and the fee is $85 for a five-year membership.For more information on these programs, access:
www.globalentry.gov and www.tsa.gov/tsa-precheck
Not all airports have designated Pre-check lanes. You can still save time by remembering to follow these tips:
1. Keep your wardrobe simple when flying. The less layers, scarves and accessories you wear, the fewer you have to take off in order to pass through the screeners
2. If you wear a lot of metal jewelry, don't put it on when leaving home for the airport. Keep it in a small pouch in your purse or carryon until you pass through security. This way, you won't spend time taking off every ring, bracelet and belt (and possibly forgetting something on the conveyer)
3. If you carry a pocket knife on your key-ring, remember to leave it at home or put it in your checked luggage before attempting to pass through security
4. Do not take any liquids in a container larger than 3 ounces. It doesn't matter that your 5 oz. tube of toothpaste is completely flat and has only one squeeze left in it. Or that your bottle of water is unopened and still sealed. Forget it. Once these forbidden items are found in your suitcase, the TSA ladies and gents, will remove them and then force you to wait while your bags are sent through the X-ray one more time.
5. Shoes that are easily taken off and on are a plus
6. Keep your laptop readily accessible for easy removal from your luggage
Hopefully these tips will make your next trip through airport security a smooth and hassle-free one.