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Last time I explained the benefits of the Global Entry Programme for UK citizens who want to skip the long queues when entering the USA. Now it’s time to tell you exactly how to apply for Global Entry as a UK citizen.
The first thing to do is register to apply on the Gov UK website (https://www.gov.uk/global-entry-usa) and pay £42 for a background check. You fill in your personal details and upload your passport details. Then you have to wait up to 10 days to find out if you have been approved. In practice, this normally takes 1 – 2 days. Once approved, you get given a code which can enter on the Global Entry Website, or as they catchily call it, the Global Online Enrollment System.
With your UK Gov code in hand (or more likely in your email account), the next thing to do is to create a Trusted Traveller Program account (Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) ) for every person, whatever their age, that you’re applying for. With that done, you can then (from the same website) fill in your Global Entry Application.
Filling in the Global Entry Application is a case of doing as you’re told. You will be asked for all your personal and passport information, a list of countries you have visited and the like. After you’ve done this, you will have to pay $100 before your application can be submitted. You can easily do this online via any credit card, but remember it will take it in USD, so be sure to use something like a Curve card which won’t sting you with foreign transaction fees.
Once you’ve paid your fee and applied, it’s all about waiting. Rumour has is that the applications are run through a computer programme first – if you are lucky, yours might go through that and you could get an answer in a few weeks. However, for those applying from the UK, most of our applications have to be manually checked, which is taking anything between 6 and 12 months at present.
Eventually you’ll get your answer, and assuming it’s a yes, then you’re nearly done. When you have a conditional yes, you then have to attend an in-person interview. You used to have 365 days from the date of conditional approval to have you interview before your account was deleted and you had to go through this all again. However due to COVID-19 the CBP are now giving you 485 days to complete the enrollment process.
You have two options when it comes to interviews. If you are in the US already, you can use the website to try and apply for an interview at a local Global Entry Enrollment Centre. For a short time you could also do this at the US Embassy in the UK, but sadly that’s no longer an option (although if you happen to be in Qatar anytime soon there is a centre there you can use).
The best option for most UK Citizens is to do your interview on arrival in the US. There is no need to book this. Once you land in the US, explain to someone on duty that you wish to do your Global Entry Enrollment Interview.
What to expect in your Global Entry Interview?
Well that’s a good question. I’m still waiting for the travel ban to be lifted to get back to the US and complete my interview. But here is what I’ve been told:
You’ll need to take your passport, obviously, a copy of the letter of conditional approval.
You will be asked a few questions during what is normally a 10 minute process, then you’ll have to confirm some of the countries you’ve visited in the past and explain why you want to join the Global Entry program.
Finally, you’ll be photographed and get your fingerprints recorded and that’s it. All being good, you’ll be enrolled and will get sent an official Global Entry Card in the mail. You’ll also be able to enter your Known Traveller Number (KTN) into any future flight bookings so you can get TSA Pre-Check. This number will actually be given to you in your conditional approval letter, but won’t be active until you’ve completed the interview.
Next time you fly into the US, just look for the Global Entry kiosk at passport control, answer some questions and be on your way to collect your bags. You don’t need the card for the kiosks, just your face!
What is your experience of Global Entry?