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How to get Global Entry for Free – Credit Cards Can Help

Last updated: January 12,2023
Originally Published: April 11,2020
by Jameson Lamie

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Use credit cards to get Global Entry and TSA Pre Check for Free and speed up Airport Security.

Essentially, any travel credit card that has an annual fee of over $95 a year will give you a $100 credit that can be used to get Global Entry or TSA PreCheck for free.

This $100 dollar credit is not every year, but rather every 4 years.

Why every 4 years?

That’s how long a Global entry or TSA pre-check subscription lasts

Distinctions between the two services.

Global Entry

  • Includes TSA pre-check, which will save you a ton of time if you’re an international traveler. If you’re on a long international flight, like an 18-hour flight from Asia, you can skip the exhausting customs line.

TSA Pre Check 

  • Expedites airport security allowing you to go through shorter lines. You don’t have to take your shoes off and can keep your laptop in your bag.
  • Saves time in airport lines. Valuable for business travelers and people who are constantly on the road.

As mentioned above, there’s 0 reasons to sign up for TSA Pre Check instead of Global Entry because Global Entry INCLUDES TSA Pre Check.

Make sure you are not waiting in unnecessary international lines by getting Global Entry
Make sure you are not waiting in unnecessary international lines by getting Global Entry

How It Works.

Once you have Global Entry, you can walk up to the Global Entry kiosk, scan your passport and completely skip the customs line at international terminals. The machine issues you a slip, you go through the Global Entry lanes, show the slip to the Border Patrol Agents and off you go.

Typically, standard customs lines take about 1 – 1.5 hours. With Global Entry, you can skip this whole headache. That’s the beauty of premium credit cards because you don’t only get VIP access to airport lounges but you also get priority check-in.

The application process is quite simple. It only takes about 10 minutes.

  • Go on the Global Entry website and apply. (Make sure you use your credit card to pay for the fee so you can be reimbursed).
  • You will enter some personal information about past addresses you’ve lived at and basic background information.
  • You’ll schedule an interview at the airport with a Border Agent where they will review your Passport and your application. They may ask a few questions about the background information that you submitted.
  • They may ask you specific questions about any travel to high-risk areas such as Turkey, the Middle East, China, or Russia. This isn’t an interrogation or anything scary, just basic information.

Answer the few questions the agents ask you (probably just out of boredom!) and 2-3 days later you will receive your new Global Entry card in the mail!

The difficult part.

Given the high influx of people who are trying to get approved for Global Entry, a lot of people tell us they are having trouble finding an available spot for the Global Entry interview. A very busy airport like JFK in New York will create some difficulty in getting an interview slot with wait times being up to 2-3 months.

The solution: Schedule the interview at any other airport. You might have to drive a little longer or schedule an interview at an airport you are flying through. Typically, smaller airports will allow you to schedule a Global Entry interview within a week.

Remember, your credit cards will reimburse your Global Entry fee
Remember, your credit cards will reimburse your Global Entry fee

Have fun with Global Entry. It will save you A LOT of time and fatigue when traveling internationally. Remember, don’t forget to use your credit card to pay the fee as your credit card company will reimburse you.

Advertiser Disclosure

  • Earn 75,000 Bonus miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 2X miles on everyday spend.
  • Earn 10X miles on hotels and car rentals, and 5x on flights booked on Capital One Travel
  • Receive 10,000 bonus miles every account opening anniversary.
  • Get a $300 credit to use on Capital One Travel each year.
  • Unlimited Access to Capital One Lounges and Priority Pass lounges internationally.
  • $395 annual fee.
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