Global Entry Just Made Getting Through Customs Even Faster—Here’s How

The free app, which is now available for Apple and Android phones, means you won’t need to stop at a Customs and Border Protection kiosk.

global entry kiosk

Depending on what airport you fly into, you might not have to use the kiosks for Global Entry—you could use a phone app instead.

Courtesy of James Tourtellotte/CBP

The Global Entry program, created to facilitate the entry of low-risk travelers into the United States, is known for reducing wait times at airports and expediting the customs and immigration process, allowing users to breeze through security checkpoints in mere minutes. And it’s about to get even faster.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently announced a new app that will allow Global Entry members to complete their arrival paperwork on their phones instead of waiting to use a portal.

“The new Global Entry mobile application leverages the latest technologies, in order to enhance security while further improving the travel experience for CBP’s trusted travelers,” said CBP’s senior official performing the duties of the Commissioner Troy A. Miller in a statement.

Upon landing, users take a selfie with the app, which, according to CBP, will be “compared to a photo gallery to verify their identity through facial biometrics.” The photo will be submitted to CBP, and the traveler will receive a digital receipt on the app, with which they can go directly to the CBP officers to finish the arrival process.

For now, the Global Entry app is only available for use by travelers arriving at seven airports:

  • Seattle–Tacoma International Airport
  • Los Angeles International Airport
  • Miami International Airport
  • Orlando International Airport
  • Washington Dulles International Airport
  • Pittsburgh International Airport
  • Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport

In a statement, CBP said it would consider adding more airports to the app in the future; currently, more than 50 U.S. airports have Global Entry, plus more than a dozen international airports, including Abu Dhabi International Airport, Dublin Airport, and Toronto Pearson International Airport.

The app is free and is now available for download from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. However, you need to be registered with the Global Entry program to use the app.

Those who aren’t yet enrolled but would like to need to create a Trusted Travel Programs (TTP) account, fill out the online application, and pay a $100 fee for enrollment (covered as a free perk by some travel credit cards, including the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the American Express Platinum card). After submission, a CBP officer will review the application. If you’re conditionally approved, you’ll be asked to schedule an in-person interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center, where you’ll be asked to confirm details of your application and have your photo and fingerprints taken. Currently, processing times are listed as four to six months, and interview slots are hard to come by. Still, you might be able to get an appointment faster with programs like Enrollment on Arrival or by signing up for Appointment Scanner, which helps travelers find last-minute appointments.

Bailey Berg is a freelance travel writer and editor, who covers breaking news, trends, tips, transportation, sustainability, the outdoors, and more. She was formerly the associate travel news editor at Afar. Her work can also be found in the New York Times, the Washington Post, National Geographic, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, the Points Guy, Atlas Obscura, Vice, Thrillist, Men’s Journal, Architectural Digest, Forbes, Lonely Planet, and beyond.
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