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Great News for Families: Free Global Entry for Kids!


Calling all adventurous families! There's exciting news for frequent flyers with little ones. As of October 1st, 2024, enrolling your children under 18 in Global Entry becomes significantly more affordable - it's completely free! That's right, say goodbye to the application fee for minors when a parent or legal guardian is already a member or applying for Global Entry themselves.


What is Global Entry and Why is it Great for Families?


Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that expedites the arrival process for pre-approved, low-risk travelers. This translates to shorter lines and a smoother customs experience, especially upon returning to the United States from international trips.


Here's how it benefits families:


  • Faster Airport Navigation: No more waiting in long customs lines! With Global Entry, kids can breeze through the dedicated kiosks alongside their parents, saving precious vacation time.

  • Stress-Free Arrivals: The streamlined process eliminates the need to fill out lengthy paper forms upon arrival.

  • Added Convenience: Global Entry also includes TSA PreCheck, which means quicker security checks at domestic airports. No more scrambling to remove shoes and electronics!


How to Take Advantage of the New Policy


If you're a frequent traveler with kids under 18, here's what you need to do:


  • Apply for Global Entry Yourself (if not already a member): The application process involves submitting an online form, paying a non-refundable application fee (which is currently $100 but will increase to $120 in October), scheduling an in-person interview, and undergoing a background check.

  • Add Your Children to Your Application (After October 1st): Once the new policy kicks in, you can include your children on your existing application or submit a new one concurrently for free. They will still need to complete an interview, but there won't be a separate application fee.


Important Note: While the application fee is waived for children under 18, remember that all Global Entry members, including children, must undergo a background check and interview. Be sure to factor in travel time and potential wait times when scheduling the interview for your entire family.


Credit Card Options for Adults (Optional)


Even though the application fee is waived for children, the fee might still apply to you as an adult. If you're looking to offset the cost for yourself, consider credit cards that offer a statement credit to cover Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fees:


  • Cards with an annual fee: The Platinum Card® from American Express, Chase Sapphire Reserve®, Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card.

  • Cards with no annual fee (first year): United℠ Explorer Card


Global Entry Beyond the US


While Global Entry is primarily a U.S. Customs and Border Protection program, some international airports offer a similar experience for pre-approved Global Entry members.


Here are some destinations where you can leverage your Global Entry on arrival:


  • Canada: Major Canadian airports like Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal have designated Global Entry kiosks for arriving travelers.

  • Aruba, Bermuda, and Bahamas: Enjoy expedited customs clearance upon arrival in these popular island destinations.

  • Ireland: Pre-clear US customs through a dedicated Global Entry Lane in Dublin and Shannon

  • Abu Dhabi (UAE): Travelers can utilize Global Entry kiosks at Abu Dhabi International Airport.


Renewing Your Global Entry Membership


Global Entry memberships are valid for five years. Here's what you need to know about renewing your membership:


  • Renew one year before expiration: You can begin the renewal process one year before your membership expires to ensure continuous program benefits.

  • Online application and renewal fee: The renewal process is done online, and there's a renewal fee associated with it.

  • Potential for virtual interview: In some cases, based on your risk assessment, you may be eligible for a virtual interview instead of an in-person one during the renewal process. This is a new option that can save you time and travel hassles.


Start Planning Your Next Adventure!


With this new policy and potential for a virtual interview renewal process, there's no better time to get your family enrolled in Global Entry. Make those international trips smoother and less stressful for everyone. Happy travels!

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