In today’s fast-paced world, international travel has become increasingly common for families. Whether it’s for vacation or visiting relatives abroad, the process of going through airport security and immigration can be daunting, especially with kids in tow. This is where Global Entry for families comes into play. But is Global Entry worth it for your kids? In this article, we will delve into the world of Global Entry and explore whether it’s a valuable investment for your family’s travels.
What is Global Entry?
Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program designed to expedite the entry of pre-approved, low-risk travelers into the United States. It allows eligible travelers to bypass the regular immigration lines and use automated kiosks at select airports when returning to the U.S. This significantly reduces wait times and enhances the overall travel experience.
How Does Global Entry Work?
Global Entry members are pre-screened, which means they undergo a thorough background check and in-person interview. Once approved, travelers receive a Trusted Traveler Number (TTN), which they can use when booking flights. Upon arrival in the U.S., they can proceed to the Global Entry kiosks, scan their passports and fingerprints, and answer a few customs-related questions. If everything checks out, they can skip the long immigration lines and head straight to baggage claim.
Benefits of Global Entry for Adults
For adults, Global Entry offers several advantages, including time savings, convenience, and access to TSA PreCheck benefits. TSA PreCheck allows travelers to go through expedited security screening, which means they don’t have to remove shoes, laptops, liquids, or belts, making the airport experience smoother and faster.
Is Global Entry Available for Kids?
Yes, Global Entry is available for children under the age of 18. However, parents or legal guardians must apply on behalf of their children. It’s important to note that each child must have their own separate Global Entry membership.
How to Apply for Global Entry for Kids
Applying for Global Entry for kids involves a similar process as applying for adults. Parents or guardians can complete the online application through the Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) website. The application requires biographical information and a $50 non-refundable fee per child.
Cost of Global Entry for Children
The cost of Global Entry for children is $50 per child, which is the same as for adults. While the application fee is non-refundable, it covers the child’s membership for five years, making it a reasonable investment for frequent travelers.
Age Restrictions and Eligibility
Children of all ages are eligible for Global Entry. There is no minimum age requirement to apply, making it suitable for infants and toddlers as well. However, keep in mind that all applicants, regardless of age, must complete an in-person interview.
Global Entry vs. TSA PreCheck for Kids
Global Entry for kids includes TSA PreCheck benefits, just like it does for adults. This means that children with Global Entry can enjoy expedited security screening, making the airport experience more convenient for the whole family.
The Application Process
The application process for Global Entry involves the following steps:
Online Application: Parents or guardians must complete the online application for their child on the TTP website.
Pay the Fee: A non-refundable fee of $50 is required for each child’s application.
Conditional Approval: After reviewing the application, CBP will issue a conditional approval.
Schedule an Interview: Parents or guardians will need to schedule an in-person interview for their child at a Global Entry Enrollment Center.
Interview and Fingerprinting: During the interview, the child’s fingerprints will be taken, and a CBP officer will ask a few questions.
Final Approval: Once the interview is successful, the child will receive final approval and a Global Entry card.
Global Entry Interview for Kids
The interview for kids is generally straightforward and child-friendly. CBP officers are trained to make the process as comfortable as possible for young applicants. Parents or guardians are encouraged to accompany their children during the interview.
How Long Does It Take to Get Approved?
The approval process for Global Entry for kids typically takes a few weeks, but processing times may vary. It’s advisable to apply well in advance of your planned travel dates to ensure that the child’s membership is active when you need it.
Traveling with Global Entry-Certified Kids
Once your child is a Global Entry member, traveling becomes more efficient and less stressful. You can enjoy shorter immigration and security lines, making family trips a breeze. Just remember to bring your child’s Global Entry card and a copy of their conditional approval letter when traveling.
Is Global Entry Worth the Investment?
Now, the crucial question arises: Is Global Entry for kids worth the investment? The answer largely depends on your family’s travel habits. If you frequently travel internationally, especially to destinations with long immigration lines, Global Entry can save you valuable time and make the journey more enjoyable for everyone. Additionally, the inclusion of TSA PreCheck benefits further enhances the value proposition.
However, if your family rarely travels or only takes domestic flights, the investment may not be as justified. Consider your travel patterns and needs before making a decision.
In conclusion, Global Entry for families, including children, can be a valuable investment if your family frequently travels internationally. It streamlines the immigration process, reduces wait times, and provides access to TSA PreCheck benefits, making the overall travel