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How to Get Global Entry for Your Kids (or Yourself)

How to Get Global Entry for Your Kids (or Yourself)

Some of my most frequently asked questions are about Global Entry, the trusted traveler program that grants you both TSA PreCheck and expedited reentry into the United States from abroad. My husband and I have had it for over five years (we recently renewed it) and we got it for my daughter as well.

What is Global Entry?

Global Entry is a program from the Customs and Border Protection that grants you expedited reentry into the United States at most major airports and from Canada and Mexico by land. In addition to expedited reentry, Global Entry also comes with TSA PreCheck (an $85 benefit!).

Normally when you arrive back into the United States from a foreign country, you’re asked to fill out a customs form describing the places you’ve been and the goods you’ve purchased, etc. When you have Global Entry, you do not need to fill out this form: Instead, you head straight to a Global Entry kiosk, insert your passport, scan your fingerprints, and follow the onscreen instructions.

U.S. citizens and certain permanent residents are eligible to apply. (See the CPB website for more details on requirements.) Children under 18 must have their parent or legal guardian consent to enrollment.

Do Kids Also Need Global Entry If Their Parents Already Have It?

Yes. Every person wanting to use the Global Entry kiosks upon reentry into the United States must have their own separate Global Entry membership, regardless of age.

There’s no minimum age requirement for Global Entry, but children under 18 must have a parent or legal guardian’s consent to participate in the program.

How Much Does Global Entry Cost?

Global Entry charges a $100 non-refundable application fee, but once you are accepted into the program the membership is good for 5 years (so it’s effectively $20/year, an amazing deal).

How to Get Global Entry for Your Kids (or Yourself)

Every person applying must create a Global Online Enrollment System / account, pay a $100 non-refundable application fee, and schedule an interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center. If you’re applying for your child under the age of 18, you must accompany them to the interview.

(1) Get a Passport

You’ll need the passport information to apply. Once your baby is issued a social security card you can get a passport, too.

(2) Create a Trusted Traveler Programs Account

A separate account is needed for each person applying, regardless of age. Click on “Get Started” under the Global Entry program description.

image courtesy of CBP - Department of Homeland Security - Trusted Traveler Programs

image courtesy of CBP - Department of Homeland Security - Trusted Traveler Programs

(3) Log into the Trusted Traveler Programs Account and Apply for Global Entry

Once you’ve created your account, you log in to your account at

(4) Schedule & Attend an Interview

Shortly after completing the application online and paying the $100 fee, you will be notified if you are conditionally approved. Once you receive this approval, you’re cleared to schedule an interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center. A parent or guardian must accompany the child to the interview, and each person applying must schedule a separate interview slot.

Bring your child’s passport and whatever else is listed on the email from CPB. If your application is approved, the CPB officer will take fingerprints and do the final paperwork. (Very small children might have the fingerprint requirement waived).

(5) Get Your Card & Notify Airlines of Your Trusted Traveler Number

Once you get your Global Entry membership card in the mail, activate it online by following the instructions in the letter that comes with the card.

Take note of your trusted traveler number, as you will need to add this number to your traveler profile for every airline that you fly. This step is crucial. If you do not inform the airlines that you have a trusted traveler number, your name will not get matched up in the system and you will probably not get “TSA PreCheck” printed on your boarding pass.

After activation, put the card in a safe place. You won’t need it to travel internationally unless you are using it as a form of identification to re-enter the U.S. through Canada or Mexico through a SENTRI or NEXUS travel lane.

Note: As of this writing, Global Entry trusted traveler cards are listed as acceptable identification for purposes of the REAL ID Act (read more here about getting a “gold star” Hawaii drivers license) for domestic travel. However, TSA also does not require children under 18 to provide identification when traveling domestically, and you’ll need to bring your child’s passport when traveling internationally.

Easy peasy, right? Let me know if you have questions.

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