Global Entry, as most of you know, is an expedited immigration service offered by the Department of Homeland Security to frequent travelers. It lets you avoid the long lines upon arrival by confirming some details at an automated kiosk before proceeding to customs. It also is one way to get yourself included in TSA PreCheck if your airline hasn’t already volunteered to enroll you.
The last I heard United was supposed to roll its Global Entry fee waiver benefit for Premier Platinum and Premier 1K members in June. I don’t remember getting any emails from United or even seeing a blog post on the topic since Darren mentioned in May how to get the fee reimbursed if you were unwilling to wait.
June came and went, along with most of July, but that wait is now over. Flipping through FlyerTalk I noticed that United has initiated its new waiver program as of July 27 (I only just found this out), issuing a code that will cover the $100 application fee for Global Entry. If you visit this United site, you’ll be asked to log in before being presented with this page:
Now that you can avoid paying the fee in the first place instead of waiting for reimbursement, it’s about time I sign up. I actually don’t travel internationally that often, maybe two or three times a year, and I haven’t yet faced significant issues with immigration. Lucky me I guess. But I certainly don’t want to hold people up when I come back from the international portion of the Star MegaDO in November, and I do have an international arrival in September with a tight connection.
The only real concern I have is the availability of appointments for my interview, which is typically held and your local airport. However, @bmvaughn told me earlier this year that apparently interviews are also available at Boeing Field just south of Seattle. TSA needs to screen people there, too, but the lower profile makes for shorter waiting lists and a more convenient drive over.
If you don’t have this elite benefit, it might be worth signing up and paying the $100 yourself, which is what Megan will have to do. Global Entry is good for five years, so that works out to only $20 a year for getting through lines faster and on your way to the club, your connection, or just getting home on time.