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.