My wife’s experience with Global Entry application

Posted by: Jason

I applied for Global Entry back in May 2011 and have enjoyed the benefits of quick processing coming back from international destinations. My wife recently applied for Global Entry and the following is her experience.

Originally I was not going to apply for Global Entry due to the $100 fee and I only travel international once maybe twice a year. Additionally some of my travel is my three children and I, and they don’t have too many stamps in their passports yet. However, the last time I travelled with my husband he got the precheck clearance and was able to breeze thru security while I was waiting in line and taking my shoes off and getting pat downs. I decided it was time to apply and enroll in the program.

I did the online application and paid the nonrefundable $100 fee. I received notice after just a few days that my initial application was conditionally approved and I could schedule an interview with a customs office that had an enrollment center. When the program first started there were only a few main airports that had interview enrollment offices, but now there are quite a few including my nearby International Airport, Salt Lake City.

I went online and there were plenty of openings available albeit it is summer and the appointments were all in the daytime. I picked a day and time when my kids didn’t have any conflicting activities. I figured I would get a neighbor teen to babysit.

Well, I could not find a babysitter, so I called the Customs office and asked if I could bring children that were not enrolling. The employee said, “No problem,” I again said I want to clarify, “Can I bring children under 18 to the interview who are not applying/interviewing,” and she said, “Sure.”

Interview day I load up the kids in the SUV and trek over, park in short term parking as advised, and find my way easily and quickly to the office. I walk into the office with my three cuties trailing behind me with coloring book, crayons, Kindle, and iPod. The employee takes a look at me and said, “Who exactly is applying?” I said, “I am.” And she just kind of looked down her nose and turns to another guy and says, “Can you take them back?” So they lead me around the corner thru their office and out another door to the baggage claim and passport control area which was empty. They point at some chairs and tell me to sit down and wait. There were a few others. Meanwhile several more people arrived.

I thought for sure I would be next since I was 30 minutes early for my 12:40 appointment. But they decided to first take some random guy and a woman who came a day early. I found that slightly annoying. So I sat there with my kids and at 12:35 they invited me to come back. Again with my trail of kids, I sat them down with their coloring and various electronics and told them library voices and stay in their seats, etc. He asked me, “Why did you bring so many kids?” I was thinking um because I gave birth to them. But decided on a more cordial answer, “I was unable to find childcare and was told it would not be a problem.”

The agent asked me a few questions, took my photo with no warning while I was just sitting there, and then he asked me specific questions about my travel to Thailand, Jamaica, and Malaysia. He then informed me I have an agriculture violation on my record. I do not recall this incident at all, I asked where it was and he said it doesn’t say. I thought that was strange to have a violation and no location. I was a bit concerned this could be a deal breaker for the approval. Then he asked me odd questions about my job-like completely irrelevant questions, even my kids later said, “Why did he ask you…?” He asked what my interest in The global Entry Program was. He took my fingerprints and said, check your online account in 24 hours. Your card should arrive in two weeks if you are approved, but they are way behind so it will probably be more like two months.

Then he walked me out and my son started asking all these questions about the terminal and international baggage claim and the guy seemed super irritated. We walked out. It’s been 26 hours and I just logged in to the GOES web site and it says…APPROVED.

  • Nathan said,

    If you apply for the Nexus program, it is only 50$ and free for kids. When approved you are also approved for global entry. Only problem is you also have to do an interview in Canada.

  • John said,

    Thanks for that YAWN riveting story where nothing really bad happened and in the end you had no real problems and were successful in your quest. That was a seat-of-the-pants thrillride.

  • Heather said,

    John – why do you feel it is necessary to post comments like that? I often wonder why people feel that they need to post negative comments. If you didn’t like it, move along.

  • Patrick W said,

    I have to agree with John; what’s the point of blogging when you don’t really have anything to say?

  • jason said,

    The point of the post was to give her experience applying for Global Entry and to encourage others to do the same for others interested. It’s a quick easy straightforward process that I wish lots of people would take advantage of. Thanks for reading

  • USAJerry said,

    And the arrogance of John and Patrick W is the very reason why people are afraid to contribute to forum discussions on certain frequent flyer boards.

    I want to thank Jason for posting the experience as I think the more tidbits about the process that are posted, the more that people can anticipate from the agents that are conducting the interview.

    I am also a Global Entry member so I had enountered the lack of warm and fuzzies when I went for my interview in February of 2012. I think the blog puts a little bit of perspective of what to prepare for when one has to attend an interview with their children.

  • Kathleen said,

    If you pay $175 and add all of your kids as Amex users, they will pay for each of their three applications as well!

  • PSL said,

    Those of us who are considering applying for Global Entry appreciate reading about the experience. Those who are not interested should ignore the post rather than make a snarky comment.

  • hiSathish said,

    Congratulations on your Global Entry Approval.

    Thank you
    Sathish

  • Tony Santo said,

    I have trouble finding any reason for posting this so-called “experience.” Had it occurred to your wife that bringing all her “cuties” with her to an official interview for a US gov’t program might prove a distraction and a hassle for the agents trying to do their job. Also, how do YOU define “relevance” exactly. Being that these agents do this day-in and day-out, maybe their line of questioning is completely relevant, especially when someone is being interviewed for a trusted traveler program who is already a past violator. I’m with John and Patrick W–YAAAAAWWWWWNNN!

  • Angela said,

    I am going to the SLC airport today for my interview. This was helpful to me to know what to expect, paint somewhat of a picture of the atmosphere there. I am also bringing my 10 year old but he is going to interview as well for GE. Thanks for posting.

  • Jason said,

    @Angela – would love to hear your experience.

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